Opening a car insurance claim might feel like a complex situation, especially if you’re still recovering from the trauma of an accidental collision. Hence why we collected some of the common questions car owners have about opening claims and offered easy-to-understand answers.
HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE TO OPEN A CAR INSURANCE CLAIM?
It is suggested that you inform your insurer with the details of the collision immediately and have available all the details related to the accident. Most policies also have a condition stipulating the time you are to notify your Insurer. Most are within fourteen days of the accident, so ensure you do this so that you do not prejudice your position. If you have passed on all the required documents and paid your policy excess, your insurance company will swiftly open up a claim and get in touch with the other driver’s insurance company to start off the process.
WHICH DETAILS/DOCUMENTS WOULD THE INSURANCE COMPANY NEED TO OPEN A CLAIM?
Being prepared prior to giving your insurer a call is always best to avoid having to acquire an additional document; which will definitely halt the claim opening. Your insurer would require a completed and signed claim form by the policyholder and the driver, a copy of the driver’s driving licence, the front-to-rear report duly completed and signed by both drivers (if applicable), the report number which is normally given to you by the attending warden at the time of accident or the police as well as the policy excess. Supplying your insurer with photos will also assist your case.
DO I NEED TO HAVE A REPORT BY A LOCAL WARDEN OR POLICE?
The only time that this is not required is if the accident was a ‘Front’ to ‘Rear’ and no one suffered any injuries. In such circumstances, you and the other driver need to both complete and sign the ‘Front to Rear’ form and each driver takes a copy. A warden is to be called on site for all accidents involving third parties when no one sustained any injuries; whilst if as a result of the accident anyone is injured you need to call the police on site, you are also obliged to call the police following a hit-and-run, theft, or if you have an accident with no third-parties involved. Do ensure that if you are calling a warden or the police authorities, you do not move your vehicles until they arrive and take details of the accident.
WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO MY CAR?
Upon opening a claim, your insurer will advise the way forward. If you are not at fault, your insurance company will liaise with the other driver’s insurance to cover the requirements and costs of fixing your car. If you are at fault and hold a comprehensive policy, your insurer will be able to advise whether the damages sustained can be repaired or not. Should you hold a third party only or third-party fire and theft policy, the car owner would be exclusively liable to fix the damages herself/himself.
HOW DOES THE INSURER DECIDE IF MY CAR IS REPAIRABLE?
Upon notification of a claim, depending on the cover, the insurer will appoint an independent motor surveyor who will view the vehicle at the repairer. Together, they will assess the damages and agree with the way forward. There are usually three options: repair the vehicle, declare vehicle beyond economical repair; which means that the repair costs are likely to exceed the market value of the vehicle and sometimes also declare the vehicle as a complete write-off. Once the survey is received by the insurer their claims team will contact you to agree a way forward.
WHAT HAPPENS SHOULD I HAVE A SINGLE-CAR ACCIDENT?
When you get involved in a single-car collision, even if the liability is attributed to a third-party which involved no vehicle contact, the driver should lodge a police report immediately after the accident.
WILL OPENING A CLAIM MAKE ME CONSIDERED AS HIGH RISK IN THE EYES OF MY INSURER?
Driving in itself is a dangerous exercise, and drivers must follow the road rules at all times. Being on the lookout and anticipating the actions of other drivers will also decrease your chances of getting into a collision. Having a long record of insurance claims will not only increase your liability with your insurer only but also with others.
WHAT HAPPENS IF I LEND MY CAR TO ANOTHER DRIVER AND THEY SUFFER A COLLISION?
You should always inform your insurer about additional drivers who will be making use of your car. These may be covered under your vehicle’s policy at a small extra rate but with huge peace of mind. If the other driver is not listed and covered on the vehicle’s insurance policy, the insurance cover does not come into force and the policyholder would have to pay all expenses out of one’s own pocket.
HOW WILL MY INSURER HANDLE MY CLAIM?
Remember that your insurer will do the very best for your case and offer the necessary advice for the smoothest claim process. The insurance company will appoint a surveyor to assess the damages and then they will guide you on the steps to be taken. Monitor the progress of your claim by keeping in touch with your insurer.