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You can cancel your car insurance policy, but there could be costs involved. Here’s what you need to know
We walk you through what to do after an accident and tell you how to make a car insurance claim
By and large, there are four main types of claim you’d make after a car accident:
Insurers categorise claims in two ways: non-fault and at-fault claims. These can affect how much you pay for car insurance in the future.
It’s hard to estimate exactly how long it takes to process a car insurance claim and when you’ll get your compensation, as there are different factors involved that can affect the process. This includes the type of claim you’re making, whether you were injured and how severe the injuries are, and whether you or any other parties involved admits fault.
Your car insurance claim may take longer to be processed as a result of the following:
As a general rule of thumb you should report the accident to your insurer within 24 hours, especially if you want the claim settled as soon as possible. Most insurers have their own rules – anywhere from a day to a few weeks.
Most insurers will ask you to disclose details of any vehicle accidents – not just cars, but vans, trucks and motorcycles too – you’ve been involved in over the previous five years, even if you weren’t at fault.
If you don’t tell your insurer about any accidents you’ve had in the last five years – or during the time period they ask for – then you risk having our policy invalidated, which means you won’t be able to claim.
You should be aware that insurers usually cross-reference several different vehicle databases, so they’ll probably find out about it. This is why you must be honest when you take out an insurance policy, as there’s no point in paying your premiums if you can’t use the cover you’ve bought.
Insurers may reject your claim or invalidate your policy for a number of reasons, including:
You can contest a rejected claim by contacting your insurer’s complaints department, usually either by phone, post or email, and go through the standard procedure.
If they still won’t settle your claim you can talk to the Financial Ombudsman Service – either online or over the phone. This will have to be done within six months of reaching a claim stalemate .
Whatever decision the Financial Ombudsman Service makes is binding for your insurer – which means they’ll have to accept your claim if the ombudsman says so. However it won’t be binding for the consumer, which means if the ombudsman doesn’t support your claim you’ll be able to take your insurer to court.
You should only take these actions if you’re sure your insurer is acting unfairly – so before you do, carefully review your policy documents to ensure your claim is valid and you haven’t broken any terms they’ve set out.
To make a car insurance claim, you’ll first need to notify the police. They’ll give you a crime reference number that you’ll then need to give your insurer.
You usually have to call your insurer to make a claim, though you may also be able to claim online or by filling out a form and sending it by post.
If you’re claiming on your car insurance policy, you’ll need to have certain documents and information to hand to speed up the process, including:
If you’re involved in an accident and the other party believes it was your fault but you disagree, then your respective insurers should resolve the dispute. However you’ll need to supply evidence such as photographs or witness statements to support your claim.
If you’re involved in a car accident you don’t have to make a claim – in fact in some cases it’s better if you don’t. For example if the damage is minor and it’ll cost less to pay for repairs yourself than it would to pay the excess fee, you’ll be better off preserving your no-claims bonus and taking care of it on your own.
Even if you aren’t claiming, you will still have to inform your insurer that you were in an accident.
If you’re involved in a car accident, you should always follow these steps immediately afterwards:
Stop the car as soon as possible: No matter how minor the accident, you have to stop, turn off your engine and switch the hazard lights on – it’s against the law not to do so.
Check for injuries: Once the car is stationary check yourself and your passengers for any injuries, making a note if there are or if there aren’t – this is important in case the other party involved tries to claim for an injury later on.
Call emergency services: If anyone is injured, whether minor or major, you should call the ambulance. Additionally if the road is blocked as a result of the accident, or if an involved party leaves the scene before sharing details, or if you suspect the driver deliberately caused the crash or was under the influence, you should call the police. If it’s just a minor accident, you should call the police within 24 hours – but use the non-emergency number 101.
Exchange contact details: If you’re involved in a car accident you’re legally required to leave your contact details with anyone who was affected – even if they weren’t present at the time. For example if you hit a parked car or someone’s property, you’ll need to leave your details where the owner can find them. You should also make sure you get the contact details of anyone else involved in the accident – the key information you need is:
Gather evidence of the scene. To support your car insurance claim you should gather evidence of what happened – take photos of any damage if possible. Try and make note of the following:
If the driver who hits you is uninsured, it’s doubly important to let the police know. If you have a comprehensive insurance policy in place your insurer should be able to compensate you for damage. However you’ll still need to pay an excess fee unless you have ‘uninsured driver cover’ – this covers your excess as well as preserving your no-claims bonus.
In the case that you don’t have comprehensive cover, you might be able to get compensation back from the Motor Insurance Bureau. You can claim through their website, and they’ll investigate the issue to work out what compensation is owed and to whom.
If someone hits your parked car or property while you’re not there, your next step will depend on whether they left details. As mentioned above you’re legally required to leave a note with your contact and insurance information, but not all do – especially if they believe they can get away with it.
If they have left their details then you’d continue like it was any car accident – but if they haven’t it’s time to turn detective. You should look for possible witnesses or CCTV footage to show what happened, or to see the licence plate of the vehicle involved.
You should also take photos of the damage done to your vehicle or property – on a smartphone ideally, as these will record the date, time and location.
Afterwards you will need to contact your insurer, either to inform them of the damage or, if you want or need, to make a claim.
Finding cheaper car insurance is quick and easy when you compare policies with MoneySuperMarket. Just tell us a bit about yourself, your driving history and the car you want to insure, and we’ll put together a list of quotes tailored to meet your needs.
You’ll be able to compare policies from a range of providers by the overall cost, the level of cover you’ll get and the excess fee you’ll need to pay to make a claim. Once you’ve found the right policy, just click through to the provider to finalise your purchase.
As with all types of insurance, the cheapest available policy won’t always be the best suited to you. We recommend aiming for a balance between the coverage offered and the price you’ll pay, to ensure you don’t overpay for cover or end up underinsured.
When you’re involved in a car accident or collision, you use your car insurance policy to claim back most costs incurred as a result of the incident. This means telling your insurer exactly what happened, collecting information about the event and getting the contact and insurance details of anyone else involved.
When you report the accident, you will be asked if you wish to make a claim on your car insurance. If you say yes, your provider will send you a claim form that needs to be completed and returned along with any supporting evidence. It’s a wise idea to take a copy of the form before you send it back, in case anything gets lost along the way.
You should expect to wait a while before you hear back about your insurance claim. Even if it’s clear which driver was at fault, it’s rarely a straightforward process.
If your car was damaged, a claims assessor will review your vehicle and estimate the repair costs. You’ll be given a list of approved garages that can repair the car. Don’t repair your car before this point, or your insurer may refuse to pay out and you could lose any entitlement you may have to a courtesy car.
If your vehicle is written off, your car insurance claim will pay out a sum equal to its value before it was damaged. This amount could be less than you were expecting, particularly if it’s a new car that has depreciated dramatically. If this concerns you, you should learn more about how GAP insurance can prevent this.
If you think the valuation is unfair, you can appeal to your insurer. If you’re unhappy with the outcome of the appeal, you should take your case to the Financial Ombudsman Service.
Whether it’s recorded as at-fault or non-fault, your premiums will still almost certainly be affected if you make a claim. This is because if you’ve been involved in an accident – and even if it wasn’t your fault insurers will see you as a higher risk.
However, as you’d expect, a non-fault claim won’t raise your premiums as much as an at-fault claim.
You can cancel your car insurance policy, but there could be costs involved. Here’s what you need to know
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