Guide To Making A Car Insurance Claim

This guide from aims to explain how to make an insurance claim in the event of vehicle being stolen or involved in an accident.

As soon as any incident occurs inform your insurance company straight away. In the event of your vehicle being stolen you should call the police first, they will give you a crime reference number that you need to make your insurance claim. Once you have that, contact your insurance company and advise them of the crime reference number.

In the event of an accident:

If you are involved in a road accident and you are not injured or shocked it is important that you get as much information as you can. The following is some basic advice on what to do at the scene:

  • Contact the police.
  • Do not admit liability or blame for the incident or offer to pay for any damage. If the other driver does, make sure you tell your insurer.
  • Always obtain the name and telephone number of the driver and make sure you take their insurance details along with the vehicle details; make, model and registration.
  • Make a note of the date, time and weather conditions and the contact details of any other people involved including drivers, passengers, pedestrians and any witnesses.
  • Take down the location details along with the speed limit that is imposed.
  • If you have a camera on a mobile phone get pictures of the vehicles involved. This could be really helpful to you if the other driver attempts to blame you.
  • When the police arrive get their identification number and names so that you can give this to your insurer.
  • Inform your insurer as soon as possible armed with as much of the information above as possible.

Contacting your insurer:

Most motor insurers will have round the clock helplines and many offer 24 hour accident recovery that provides roadside assistance and onward transportation for you. Claims are more often than not approved in minutes over the phone. If you have had an accident most insurers will arrange for the vehicle recovery and repair with one of its approved mechanics. If you have a garage that you particularly want to use, be mindful that your claim may take longer if your insurer does not agree with the estimate given. Whatever you do, do not take your car into a garage for repairs without first making sure your insurer will cover your claim!

Contact the insurer immediately after the incident by calling the claims number provided. If you are involved in an accident outside of the claims line opening hours you will often be able to make contact via an accident recovery number. It is worth making a note of both of these numbers if available, and keeping them about your person in a wallet or in your car.

Once on the phone to your insurer they will make you aware of the information they need from you to process your claim. Here are some pointers:

  • It is important that you ask the insurer exactly what evidence they will be expecting to support your claim so that you can provide them with as much as possible.
  • Make sure you keep hold of all correspondence associated to the claim.
  • Remember when it comes to claiming you may have to pay an excess. This is the contribution you agreed to pay at the start of the contract and you can find out what this is by checking your policy documentation. If the incident is a ‘non-fault’ claim you will still have to pay this to the garage and then claim it back from the negligent party.

Is it worth claiming?

Depending on the level of damage – and how much it will cost to fix it – you may decide that it simply is not worth claiming as the cost of repair maybe less or similar to your excess. It is also worth considering that making a claim can impact the price you pay for insurance in the future, as you could lose any no-claims bonus you have built up.

What if the insurance claim is rejected?

If your claim is rejected it is advisable to seek legal advice. There could be circumstances where you might have the legal right to be reimbursed for your loss even though the insurance company has refused to pay the claim.

If it is rejected, ask your insurer to explain the specific clause of the contract on which they are basing their decision. If you do not have a copy of the current policy make sure they supply one.


If you chip or crack your windscreen you should call your insurer to deal with the claim. Do not approach another supplier as you may only be covered for a certain limit rather than the total cost, or you may find that the policy excess could be higher. Always check with your insurer who their approved supplier is.

22/08/2011 13:14:49 Jo

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