If you are fortunate, you will never have an accident as a driver. Sadly, the statistics suggest that you are more than likely not only to have one but to have multiple in your driving career. It is never ideal but knowing what to do can save you a lot of hassle in the long run.
It is a complicated process and may cause you to ask yourself “Should I notify my insurance company of an accident?”. The answer is yes and it requires you to know what is going on. Having a lawyer to help you will be really useful, but this article will help you know the procedures and what to expect from a motor insurance claim.
Taking the blame
In the heat of the moment, it is easy to assume that you were to blame for the accident. Or even to start apologizing even though you know it is not your fault. However, it is not your job to establish blame right there and then. Rather than accepting the blame or trying to push it on to someone else, you should focus on just establishing the facts. Mistakenly accepting that you were at fault can cause problems and complications down the line.
First and foremost, everyone’s safety is an absolute priority. You should double-check on everyone who has been involved. That includes the other drivers, any passengers, and any witnesses. Assuming that everyone is okay, you are legally obliged to give your name and address to the other vehicle’s owner. You should take this time to get the other vehicle’s details including the driver, passengers, and witnesses.
As well as these details, it is useful to have the passengers’ names along with the contact details of any witnesses. You may wish to take photos of the accident and anything that contributed to it. This might include obstructions, lighting, and weather. Double-check the road for any faults in it that may have jarred either driver.
Meanwhile, you should also make a note of other worthwhile information like details of injuries of anyone involved, a list of the damage that has been done to cars, and any other property. The make, model, and color of the cars are good things as well so both cars can be easily identified. Also having the exact location of the accident along with the date and time when the incident took place.
Talking to the insurance company
These are not the first people that you need to contact but they should be high up your list. Many insurers advise that you should contact within 24 hours of the accident. Most are open all throughout the day and the night so you can phone sooner rather than later.
To prepare for the call, you should have all of the information to hand so that you can give a detailed description of the event that took place. It is sometimes to have it written down so that you can be clear and concise on the phone. You must stick to the facts when you report the accident. If you are not accurate or purposefully mislead the insurer, then you may be charged with committing fraud.
If you have courtesy car cover as part of your insurance, your advisor will often explain how to go about getting it at this stage so that you are not stuck without a car. This will make your life that little bit easier.
When you have given a detailed account of what has happened and answered your insurer’s questions, they will likely send you a claims form. You need to complete this and return it to your coverage provider. They will ask you to supply all of the supporting evidence which is why it is easier to gather all of the information when it first happened.
A handy tip is to take a copy of your form before you send it. Make sure you have duplicates of any supporting evidence you have sent. It is unlikely to go missing but it is always worth having a copy just in case.
When will you hear back?
You should not expect to hear back from your insurance company too quickly. Even the clearest cut and straightforward cases can become complicated behind the scenes. It is very common to wait weeks if not a couple of months.
Even if it is tempting to try and get the process moving and book your car in for repair, you should avoid doing this. It is important to let your insurer follow their procedures and organize everything for you. Otherwise, you may end up having to pay for your repair yourself.
If your car has been damaged in the accident and you have fully comprehensive cover, an assessor from your insurer will work out what the damage has been and what the estimate is for the repair. At this stage, you will be given a list of garages and repairments that can take your car and repair it for you. Insurers often have deals with certain garages.
Total loss car insurance
It is only useful to book your car in for repair if it is economically viable to do so. Sometimes the damage to your car is so great that repairing it will cost more than your car is actually worth. If they decide that your car is a total loss and needs to be written off, then they will not give you money to repair it.
However, do not be alarmed, if your car is a total loss, the process up the claim’s assessor visiting and inspecting your car will be the same. Afterward, they will give you the money for what your car is worth. They will judge this by the market value.
There is never a good time to be involved in one and it is never easy. However, knowing what the processes are and how the situation is going to unfold can make things a little easier. You just need to stay calm and follow the advice of your insurer. They will keep you right and make sure that you are looked after.