When to make a claim on your car insurance

Wood forest scenery with a car on a road

Car insurance is one of those things where all drivers have it, hoping that they will never actually need to use it. In the event of an accident though it’s important that you know exactly what to do and when you should make a claim.

If the damage after an accident is minor you may find that it is not worth claiming on your insurance, as after you have paid the voluntary and compulsory excess it may be a better financial decision to pay for the repairs yourself. You must still inform your insurer to ensure that your insurance is kept valid and up to date. 

Third party insurance will only pay out for the damages to the other parties involved in the accident. Any damage to your own car or injuries to yourself will not be covered with your policy. It is important that you still inform your insurance company, although all repairs to your vehicle will have to be paid for by yourself.

Types of claims

If you have comprehensive insurance then damage to both your own vehicle and other drivers vehicles are both covered as are injuries to all parties involved. There are two types of claims – 

  • Non fault claims – If the accident was not your fault your insurance company can claim back all costs from the other party. 
  • At fault claims – If the accident was your fault then it will be classed as an “at fault claim.” It is important to note that if the other driver is at fault but they cannot be found the claim will still be classed as an “at fault claim.” 

I have comprehensive insurance. What can I claim for? 

  • Personal injuryWhen you or someone else is injured during the accident where medical treatment is required this is covered by your insurance. 
  • Damage to vehicles – Damage to both your own vehicle and the vehicles of other parties involved is covered. 
  • Total loss – If your car is too damaged to repair, or your insurers deem that it is too uneconomical to repair they will class it as a “write off.” 
  • Theft – If your car is stolen you will need to report this to the police and your insurance company for them both to investigate. 

What are the steps to making an insurance claim?

The general rule of thumb is that after an accident you should report this to your insurance company within 24 hours. You will need to provide them with the following – 

  • Your policy number.
  • Your registration number and the registration number of any other parties involved. 
  • Details of the other parties including their name, address, telephone number and their insurance details. 

When you make contact with your insurance company they will ask you if you wish to make a claim. If you inform them that you do they will then – 

  • Send you a claim form which you must complete and send back with any supporting evidence such as photographs. 
  • A claims assessor will then come and review the damage to your vehicle and estimate how much they believe the repairs will cost. They will also give you a list of approved garages where you can have the repairs carried out. It is important that you do not have the repairs carried out before the assessor has been. If you do then there is a chance that they will refuse to pay for the repairs. 
  • If your vehicle is written off your insurer will pay out a sum of money equal to the value of the car before the accident and the damage. 

Will claiming against my insurance increase my premiums?

With both at fault and non fault claims your premiums are likely to increase.

Once you have made a claim you are then classed as a higher risk. It is likely that your premiums will not increase as much with a non fault claim. 

I only have third party insurance. Can I still make a claim?

Third party insurance will only pay out for the damages to the other parties involved in the accident. Any damage to your own car or injuries to yourself will not be covered with your policy. It is important that you still inform your insurance company, although all repairs to your vehicle will have to be paid for by yourself.

If you have third party fire and theft and your car is stolen or is the subject to damage from either accidental fire or arson then this is covered. You will need to inform the police who will give you a crime reference number which you will then need to pass to your insurers. 

If you are in doubt about whether you are entitled to claim on your insurance then contact your insurance company in a timely manner after the incident. They will be able to advise you on the next steps and get you back on the road as soon as possible. 

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