Car Accident Insurance Claim
Except in cases where a vehicle is used for business purposes, making a car accident claim is fairly simple, though never entirely pleasant. All motorists must have at least third-party cover according to the Road Traffic Act of 1988. The minimal coverage protects others from property damage or bodily injury when you cause an accident. If you do have to file a car accident insurance claim, at least you have the consolation that after your excess, if any, the insurance company will pay the remaining repair or replacement costs, and it’s not entirely your sole expenditure responsibility. Driving without that cover, though, would mean all those damages are your responsibility in addition to the fines levied for breaking the law.
The properly insured motorist should as quickly as possible write down all details pertaining to the accident, then transfer all applicable information onto a car accident insurance claim form provided by the insurer. If additional space is needed, attach the extra paper to the form, and keep a copy of both for your files. Send the original claim form and attached documents to the insurance company so they can make their determination on the accident.
Once the insurance companies – both yours and the other person’s – have all required information, your claim might take several days to fully process, but if all details are accurate and verified, your carrier shouldn’t need long to process and finalise it. If your carrier determines you were not at fault, you may not have to pay any excess. Depending on your coverage, you might have to repair your own vehicle, but only if you are at fault might you pay a collision excess, according to most plans.
If you have third-party cover and are not at fault, the other person is responsible for repair or replacement costs. If you were at fault, the repair expenses for your car are your responsibility, for only comprehensive policies pay to repair your own vehicle from damage caused by an auto accident. You might have hired car cover in that comprehensive auto insurance package, so you might not be without transportation whilst your vehicle is being repaired.
Making a Claim Properly
Accuracy is paramount when filing a car accident insurance claim. Providing as many details as possible is quite helpful, but people’s memories can fade or unintentionally fill in details that you don’t clearly remember. The more accurate detail you provide, the easier it is for your carrier to make a determination. Don’t rely on your memory. Record the scene with video if you can. Most mobile phones have that capability. If video isn’t possible, take lots of photographs. However, before that happens, there are things you should do first.
Do not leave the scene. Pull over as quickly and as safely as you can, turning on your emergency lights. If you can get photos of the cars or other items in situ – in place – before you move your car, then do so quickly but thoroughly. Take pictures of the street in either direction. Note parked cars or vegetation along the road. If there was an animal involved and you can get pictures of it, do so.
Do not apologise or otherwise admit regret or guilt. Simply exchange insurance information with the other person and driving licence and plate information. Take the very first opportunity to transcribe the accident details whilst they are fresh in your mind. Many people use a voice recording if no paper is at hand.
Include names and contact information as well as a brief statement from eye witnesses, even if detrimental to your cause. Your honesty will be appreciated, and if something happens again later, you have established a level of trust with your carrier who might be more sympathetic. Note the road and weather conditions, location of the accident, time of day and details of what happened. Note the condition of your vehicle and any other one involved even passively, such as a parked car. Mention any skid marks left, which should be included in your collection of photos. If possible, take one photo of a skid mark with a known-size or length in a reference object, such as a pound note or a shoe along side the mark. This will help extrapolate the length of the skid mark to determine how fast the skidding car was travelling when the tires locked from braking.
Send It Off
Once you have all the details, photos or recordings all noted accurately, complete your car accident insurance claim form and attach all supplementary documents and photos. Keep copies of all for your records, but send the completed accident claim packet as quickly as possible. Your insurance carrier cannot authorise any repairs until the claim is reviewed and the responsible party identified. Many carriers have online submission forms that you can download, complete on your computer and send with attachments over the Internet. If you opt for that quick and efficient method, be sure to enter your own email address in the cc: line, sending yourself exactly what you sent the carrier. Don’t rely on a Sent Message file: Those are often edited by your email provider. Send that self-copy to a special email folder for later reference if needed. Printing out a hard copy of everything for inclusion in a file is a good idea. Eventually, you might need it.
Whatever you do if you must complete a car accident insurance claim, don’t bend the truth or recreate a favourable scenario. Your coverage might be denied for filing a false claim. It’s far better to pay an excess and adopt safer driving habits than have no coverage at all.