Anyone involved in a collision will probably tell you that the situation goes in a blur: one minute you are driving along as normal and the next, you are exchanging insurance information. It is important that you do what you are legally and morally required to do in the moments immediately after an accident, as well as in the days and weeks following.
Contacting your insurer
Regardless of whether or not you plan on making a claim, you should get in touch with your insurance company and tell them about the collision. If you don’t let them know and someone makes a claim, your cover may not be valid, leaving you personally liable for any damage. As highlighted in our initial blog on this topic, at the scene you should have made a list of all of the details including time, location, people involved in the incident. Make sure you give your insurers as much information as possible, and pass on details for any witnesses involved, too.
How to make your claim
The process of making your claim, and who you make it from, will depend on the situation and on the type of insurance that you have. If you have fully comprehensive insurance, you can claim for the incident on your own insurance. However, this might impact your no claims bonus if you have one. If you were the person at fault or if the other driver was uninsured, the costs for your repairs will be covered by your insurance anyway, so before you claim make sure that you consider the costs and your excess as well as its impact on your premiums. If the repair costs are low, you may be better off covering them yourself.
Different insurers have their own processes for making a claim, but it is always the insurers that determine who was at fault for a collision and they will deal with communications with any other relevant insurers.
What happens to your vehicle after a crash depends on the extent of the damage caused. If the insurer decides that the cost of repairs is more than the value of the car, you will be offered the market value of the car, less your excess. Once this has been done, your car will be taken away. In some cases, you may be given the opportunity to buy your car back as a write-off.
Although it can be frustrating waiting for decisions to be made, you must not make any repairs to the vehicle yourself as this could make the insurance invalid. If you are concerned or unsure about quoted costs, go to your local garage or bodyworks specialist and get a repair quote from them.