There’s never a good time to be involved in a car accident. They can really catch you by surprise and can happen when you are least expecting them. Because of their sudden nature, car accidents can leave you feeling a little bit shaken, even if they’re only minor bumps. This can make thinking about beginning to make a car insurance claim quite difficult, especially if you are unsure of what the right procedure is.
To ensure you know exactly what you need to do, should you be unfortunate enough to be involved in a car accident, we have compiled a step-by-step guide to help you through the process of making a car insurance claim after you’ve been involved in an accident:
1. Collect information about accident
Firstly, you need to fully assess the accident and collect as much information about it as possible, including:
- The date and time of the accident
- The address of the accident
- A description of the weather conditions at the time of the accident
- A list of any damages done to any vehicles and property as a result of the accident
- A list of any injuries caused as a result of the accident
If other drivers are involved in the accident, you are also going to need to make a note of:
- The colour, make and model of the vehicle(s) involved
- The registration number of the vehicle(s) involved
- Contact details of the drivers involved (including their names, addresses and telephone numbers)
- The insurance details of the drivers involved (as well as providing them with your insurance details, as this is legally required of you in this situation).
- The names of passengers
- Contact details of any witnesses
You are going to need all of this information to make your claim, so you should ensure that it is as accurate as possible. We appreciate that this is a lot to remember, so it may be worth drafting up a small checklist and keeping it somewhere in your vehicle to help you remember the information you’ll need to collect if you are involved in an accident.
Ideally, you should also take some photos of the scene to help backup your claim.
2. Call the Police?
There are some circumstances in which you are going to need to call the police after the accident. If you suspect that the accident happened as a result of illegal activity, such as speeding or drink driving, you will need to get a crime number from the police (within 24 hours of the accident) to make up part of your claim. You will also have to do this if the other driver is uninsured.
3. Check your policy
Before making the claim, check that you will be covered for the accident in your policy. Study the terms of your policy and make sure that there is nothing obvious that will exclude you from being able to make a claim. There are sometimes terms that can confuse the process, so you should check for anything that might be a sticking point and be prepared to have an answer for it when you call your insurer.
4. Call your insurer
To make your car accident claim you should call your insurer within 24 hours of the accident. However, even if you don’t intend to make a claim, you will still need to call your insurer to let them know you were involved in an accident. Although this may lead to your car insurance premiums increasing when you renew your policy, your car insurance may be invalidated if your insurer finds out you didn’t tell them.
When you call your insurer about the accident, have all of the information you collected ready, you will need it here as your insurer will likely ask you a number of questions about the accident. You will likely be sent a form to complete after this, which you will need to fill in with all of the details of the accident and then send back to your insurer.
5. Payment and repairs
Your insurer will then check that you are entitled to claim. If they find that you weren’t to blame for the accident, you won’t have to pay any excess as your insurer will be able to recover money from the insurer of the driver who was at fault for the accident. On the other hand, if it is found that the accident was your fault, you will have to pay the excess and will likely face an increase in car insurance premiums in the future.
Once your claim is approved, you can begin looking at getting your car repaired. It is important that you wait until this point to repair your car, as your insurer may only cover you to get certain damages repaired by a specific mechanic. If you get any other mechanic to repair the damages, they may not pay out.
This should not be construed as advice and is for guidance only.