The car insurance claim process can be both stressful and confusing, especially if there are uninsured losses which your typical policy won’t cover you for.
This is why Motor Legal Protection is so important to have, as it will help you claim these uninsured losses back. This guide will show you how to handle the car insurance claim process, as well as explain how you can claim for your other losses. And if you don’t already have Motor Legal Protection, then take a look at our page to find out more: visit Motor Legal Protection.
Don’t admit fault
Firstly, do not admit fault at the scene. This includes saying “sorry” for the accident. This may be your natural reaction – after all, none of us wish harm to the other person, even if they were the cause of the accident – but apologising is effectively an admission of fault. Liability for the accident will be determined by the insurance companies, and sometimes the police, depending on the circumstances.
Inform the police
If anyone is injured then make sure to call an ambulance, or get someone to call for you. If this is the case then you are legally obliged to provide your insurance details, name and address to someone at the scene, and you should also report the incident to the police. When the police arrive at the scene, have your driving licence and insurance certificate or cover note ready to show to them. If you don’t have these on you then you’ll have seven days to take the documents to you nearest police station.
Exchange names and details with the other driver(s) and try to get details from any independent witnesses who were at the scene. If a driver refuses to give you their details then your insurer may be able to trace them through their vehicle’s number plate, so make sure to note that down.
If it’s not a serious incident, then it’s still important to take as many pictures as possible. These should be of your vehicle, the other vehicles involved, and even the stretch of road the accident occurred on. Make sure to take extensive pictures of all angles of the vehicles, just in case the other driver tries to claim a previous scratch or bump was your fault.
Speak to your insurer…
If you’re looking to make a claim on your policy, then you should call your insurer and inform them of the accident immediately. You should share with them all the details you’ve collected, including witness statements, driver details and photos of the incident – these can usually be emailed to them.
… Even if you’re not making a claim
If you’re not making a claim through them, then it’s still extremely important to let your insurer know about the accident. Unreported accidents may mean that you’ll be refused cover in future, so send them a letter with details about the scene and the other driver(s) involved. Ensure that it’s clear your letter is for information only and you are not looking to make a claim through your policy.
This should be done within a “reasonable time” of the accident happening. What exactly that timeframe is will depend on your car insurance policy wording, but if in doubt, get it along to them within the week. It’ll also be easier for yourself to do it sooner rather than later, as details of the incident will be fresher in your mind.
Recover your uninsured losses
Your insurance company will be able to handle repairs to your car, even if this is claimed from the other driver’s insurer. However, there will be a range of other losses that you may have to deal with after an accident, and this is where a motor legal protection policy can help.
Legal expenses policies provide a limit, usually around £100,000, up to which they’ll cover your legal costs for uninsured loss recovery. These legal costs go towards employing a law firm to take your case forward and recover the uninsured losses you’ve suffered from the other party’s insurer. These losses can be anything from your policy excess to damage of your personal possessions (assuming these are not already covered by an insurance policy you have, such as home insurance).
As you’d expect, recovering your uninsured losses will only be possible if you are not to blame for the accident. To determine this, claims are judged on a “reasonable prospects of success” basis. This means that the insurer will only take forward claims which are more likely than not to succeed, based on expert legal advice. In comparison to using a “no-win, no-fee” type service, the benefit of reclaiming your losses through this route is that you’ll get 100% of your compensation.
On top of this, some policies will provide further benefits than just recovery of your uninsured losses. For example, if you don’t have a replacement vehicle included as part of your car insurance policy then your legal protection will be able to help. With Best Price FS, you’ll get a replacement vehicle for as long as it takes until yours is back on the road, or you find a new one. The replacement vehicle will be one that’s comparable to your own, so if you were driving a BMW X3 then you won’t find yourself stuck with a Daewoo Matiz…
What if it was my fault?
In the unfortunate event of an accident that was your fault, then if you’ve selected Silver Motor Legal Protection, you’ll get a replacement vehicle for 14 days. This vehicle will only be a basic category 1 vehicle, so don’t expect a straight swap for yours, but it’ll certainly be a great help in getting you where you need to be. This cover will also provide Motor Prosecution Defence, which provides legal defence if you’re being prosecuted for any one of a range of motoring offences which may see you lose your licence.
What if the driver is uninsured or untraceable?
Recovering your uninsured losses can be difficult when uninsured drivers are concerned. This is primarily because the losses you’ve suffered are usually recovered from the other driver’s insurance company. If your losses cannot be recovered from the driver themselves, then your claim will be taken through the Motor Insurance Bureau.
With funding from every motor insurance underwriter, the Motor Insurance Bureau aims to minimise the level and impact of uninsured driving in the UK. The levy they take from insurers helps to fund their activity and provides a source of compensation for drivers hit by others who don’t have insurance or who can’t be traced.
As in all other instances, if your claim has to be taken through this route then you should try and do what you can to keep these losses to a minimum, as you’ll only be able to get back what you would have reasonably suffered. Keep in mind that in instances where the driver is untraceable, you’ll only be able to claim for injury through the bureau.