Nobody plans to be involved in incidents when they’re driving, and for most people, their time on the road is safe and uneventful. However, there may be occasions when getting caught up in an incident is unavoidable, especially when someone else is responsible. In such cases, and depending on personal circumstances, you may need to make a claim.
But what should you look out for when making a car insurance claim? All too often, claims are rejected or only partially accepted by insurers due to the making of some basic errors. This blog explores some top tips to help you take the pain out of making a claim!
What to do when making a claim
The actions you take will be broadly governed by what sort of situation you are claiming for. If you’re involved in a collision on the road, you’ll need to notify both the police and your insurance company, whether you caused it or not. If the claim involves theft or damage to your vehicle by persons unknown, again you’ll need to involve the police and insurer. If the claim is for own accidental damage, like you hitting the wall surrounding your property for example, and no-one else was involved, then this can be reported just to your insurer.
I’ve been involved in a collision. What should I do?
You can report the accident to the police by calling 999 or by using the Dubai Police app (if you’re in Dubai of course!). The functionality of the app supports completing a basic accident report form and permits the upload of pictures of the scene. It’s an easy and convenient method takes just a few minutes and saves waiting for the police to attend the scene. Unfortunately, this only works in Dubai so you’ll need to call the police if in one of the other emirates.
How to make your claim
Don’t delay – make your claim on the day! Any claims process takes time so starting the process early is advised. As soon as you have an accident report, and any supporting evidence (such as photos of the scene) you can start your claim. Contact your insurance broker or insurance company direct, depending on how you took out the policy, and follow all the steps that their representative advises.
If your vehicle is damaged and in need of repair, you should be able to use the roadside assistance available under your car insurance policy to recover you from the roadside and take the vehicle to a garage, or to your home. Most insurers provide this free, 24/7 coverage with their comprehensive car insurance policies so it’s worthwhile checking yours to ensure you have this invaluable extension.
How are claims decided?
When it comes to claims, it’s all a question of liability. Put simply, who is judged to be “at fault.” Your insurer must judge who caused the incident and therefore who is responsible (known as liable) for paying the damage repair costs, and any compensation for injuries sustained. Several factors are taken into account, such as were any laws being broken at the time of the incident (speeding, contravention of traffic signal, etc), and is there any evidence to demonstrate how the incident occurred, such as CCTV or eye-witness statements. The police attending the post-accident scene will also prepare a report, the contents of which may also have some relevance depending on what they observe.
Once all the evidence available has been gathered a liability, or fault decision, will be made. If you’re able to gather evidence yourself at the scene of the accident as soon as it happens, it can really help, so any visual evidence you can collate, such as a photo or video of the accident scene, or dash cam footage if you have one fitted, can prove essential.
What is a non-fault claim?
If you’re involved in an incident but not responsible for causing it, this is known as a non-fault claim. In such cases, your insurer can attempt to recover the total cost of a claim from the person responsible (the third party). If they’re proven to be at fault, then there is no liability on you and as such the claim won’t go against you. However, there are times when you could be involved in an incident that wasn’t your fault but the claim still gets classed as if you were. An example of this is where the incident was caused by an unidentified third party, such as a driver who left the scene of the accident, or an animal was involved. With no third party to make a claim against, you become liable for the claim and it will go on your claims record.
Does the type of car insurance I have affect my claim?
If it’s decided you weren’t to blame for the incident, your claim will be met by the other driver’s policy so providing they have the minimum legal requirement of third party insurance, you’ll be fine. If, however, you were at fault, you need to have Comprehensive car insurance in order to claim for your own vehicle’s damage.
If it wasn’t my fault, do I need to claiming on my own car insurance?
If the accident was someone else’s fault, and you have their details, you should be able to claim directly from their car insurance policy, meaning you don’t need to claim on your own policy. You should notify your insurers of the incident anyway in case you need their assistance.
I’ve damaged my car, should I claim?
This is a personal choice and depends on the level of damage sustained. If it’s minor, it might be worth repairing the damage at your own cost and not making a claim, since any claim on your own insurance policy will result in a loss of any no claims discount you receive, and ultimately increase your premium at the next renewal.
Whatever you decide, you must still notify your insurance provider of the incident, whether you claim or not, as this is a policy term and condition.
Do I need to declare a non-fault claim?
Definitely. Most insurers have a clause in the policy that states you need to tell them about any incident you’ve been involved in, whether you were at fault or not. Failure to comply with this term and condition could invalidate your policy cover so it’s important to remember to report everything.
Does declaring a non-fault claim affect my insurance?
Unfortunately, all incidents reported to your insurer will be considered by them when considering the renewal of your cover. This may have an increase on your future premiums dependent on circumstances. However, the good news is that a non-fault claim shouldn’t have an effect on your no claims discount so you can continue to have this applied to your policy to offset again the premium cost.