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Motor Insurance Claims.

Updated on December 19, 2010

You've had an accident but do you need to report the incident?

You’ve had an accident but do you need to report the incident?

Yes you do because it will be part of the terms and conditions of your policy that you inform your motor insurance company of any incidents involving your car. So, you will be expected to contact them to let them know about what happened. But…

There was no damage to either vehicle involved.

You may honestly think that. You were reversing out of a parking bay when you make contact with another vehicle which was also reversing out of its parking bay. You and the other driver (3rd party) stepped out of your respective vehicles to check for damage. You both agreed neither car was damaged and so the matter was concluded with an amicable handshake and you both went your respective ways. However, It is not unknown for an insurance company to receive allegations weeks or event months after the event from the 3rd party’s representative (insurance company, accident management company or solicitor) that there was damage done to the 3rd party vehicle and even that their client suffered injury.

So it is important you report the incident to your insurer anyway and just ask them to mark your file as “information only”. (You may wonder how the 3rd party’s representative got hold of your details. Well, if the 3rd party took a note of your registration number your: name, address and the name of your own insurance company can be traced).

At this point your own insurance company will (or should) contact the 3rd party’s insurance company and ask them to confirm that an incident did occur and that your version of events are correct. If they do both insurance companies will mark their files as “closed”. But If the 3rd party insurer however, has a different version of events it will make it easier for your insurer to challenge them and defend your interests.

If you haven’t reported the incident to your insurance company they will contact you to get your version of events. Ignoring them wont make the matter go away. If they cannot reach you by phone and you don’t respond to their letters they will give it a couple of weeks and then accept liability on your behalf.

 

You accepted the accident was your fault and you agreed to pay for the repairs to the other car yourself.

There is nothing to prevent you from doing this, but still let your own insurer know. They will contact the 3rd party’s insurance company for confirmation that the 3rd party has no intention of making a claim against you for the damage you caused to his car. Both insurers will close their files with neither policyholders insurance being affected in anyway. And if by any chance a claim is made against you later by the 3rd party your insurer will be in a position to reject these allegations.

The other driver accepted that they were at fault and offer to pay for the repairs to your car.

On the other hand if your car is hit and the 3rd party offers a sum in settlement or even suggests that you take your car to a garage that they recommend or that you collect a fistful of estimates from various garages so that he can pick one he wants you to use feel free to reject this. If you are clearly not at fault there is no reason why you should spend a lot of time and energy in complying with the 3rd party’s demands. Instead report the claim to your insurer and leave it to them to arrange the repairs to your car. They will contact the 3rd party insurance company for confirmation that liability will not be an issue.

And if the 3rd party is serious about their offer they can either:

1) pay the garage direct for the cost of repairing your car.

2) reimburse your insurance company for these costs of the repair.

3) reimburse their own insurer for these costs.

Be warned though. Some people will offer to pay for the damage they caused to your car not realising just how expensive it can be. They may also not realise that the ‘cost’ may include hire charges. And sometimes a 3rd party might decide that they are not at fault afterall once they realise you intend to go through your insurance company for the repairs (saying, ‘well if you are claiming then I’m going to claim against you too!’).

If you have any doubts you don’t need to proceed with the repair to your car until it has been clearly established that the 3rd party insurance company has accepted full liability.

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