In our last post, we covered what to do at the scene of an accident and how to approach the situation calmly.
In this blog we will look at the process to follow to make an insurance claim.
Being involved in an accident, or discovering that your car has been vandalised or stolen, can be a very stressful experience. It is usually a good idea to contact your insurer once you are calm enough to talk about what’s happened clearly.
You don’t have to make a claim on your insurance – in some cases the value of your no claims bonus and the insurance excess might be more than the cost of the claim. Plus, your insurance is likely to increase with an accident recorded -once you’ve been involved in one motoring incident (or have been a victim of car crime), it’s statistically more likely to happen again – and in real life, this means you’ll pay more. In which case it might be better to stump up the cash and mend the damage at a local repair shop.
Even if you choose not to claim on your insurance you must still notify your provider that you’ve been involved in an accident, or that your car has been criminally damaged. Failure to be honest with your insurer now could result in your being refused cover, or accused of insurance fraud, later down the line.
Gather your notes from the accident, plus insurance policy documentation before you pick up the phone! Choose your words carefully as they could affect your ability to make a successful insurance claim. Give your insurer the full facts – Failure to be honest about what happened could constitute insurance fraud. If your insurance policy includes provision of a courtesy car, you should find out how to get yours at this point.
If your vehicle has been badly damaged, it’s likely a claims assessor will be sent to see you as soon as possible. He or she will estimate the repair costs or decided to write off the vehicle if the repairs exceed the vehicles value.
If you decide to put in an insurance claim, your provider will send out a claim form. You’ll need to fill this in, enclosing any evidence that supports your claim – for instance, photographs taken at the scene of the accident and any other details you recorded at the scene. It can take some time for insurers to process your claim, so be patient.
If your car is written off, your insurer will pay out a sum equal to its value before it was damaged or stolen.
Be aware that this value is unlikely to reflect what you paid for your car – cars are depreciating assets and there value depends on age, mileage and overall condition. If you feel the valuation put on your car is too low it is worth appealing this with the company. If you still aren’t happy, you can take your case to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) – but these processes take time!
Once the valuation has been approved, the insurer will produce a settlement figure. Typically this will be the cars value, minus the excess fee, and any other costs incurred (ie Hire car upgrade, or storage costs). This settlement figure is most likely to arrive as a cheque in the post, allowing you to buy a replacement car. Unfortunately – this process is long and drawn out, and can create unnecessary friction for the claimant.
In the next blog we will be talking about RightIndem’s software solution and how we can streamline the insurance claim journey online.