Car Insurance Claims: When To Report An Accident

A condition of all insurance policies is for the policyholder to report a claim, or incident that is likely to lead to a claim, to the insurer as soon as possible. After all, your insurer needs to know if they are likely to be making any payments under the terms of the policy.

However, for your fleet/motor insurer, the reporting of an incident as soon as possible becomes all the more important for a few reasons, but none more so than it could lead to savings on your premium.

All too often, Fleet Managers can unknowingly have accident reporting procedures in place, which while forming part of a streamlined reporting procedure and a structured reporting line, can, in the long run, lead to insurers paying out more than they have to to a third party in an accident which is your driver’s fault.

Waiting for forms to be completed and returned by drivers can take up valuable time.  Making your insurer or broker aware of an accident as soon as possible can allow them to capture the third party claim in an at-fault accident.

Common car insurance claim frustrations

How many times have you thought, when being given a claims history from your current broker, that payments made to a third party can appear to be extortionate and totally unreasonable.

Most of the costs of these claims will be made up of credit hire and personal injury with little in comparison going toward the cost of repairs to a third party vehicle repair. 

There is legislation in force, and further changes in the law due to come in to effect this year, to keep injury claims reasonable. The early intervention of your broker, or insurer to keep a lid on the credit hire costs and repair costs and by stepping in at the earliest opportunity your insurer will be in control of the third party claim and of the costs involved. 

If you are at fault, they can put the third party in a hire car, at rates controlled by your insurer, and also offer the third party use of their approved repairer scheme, which controls the downtime and repair costs of the third party.

Not only will the third party be happy that everything is being taken care of but it could also mean that the third party may think twice before considering presenting a minor injury claim.

How soon do I need to make a claim?

So, what do we mean by ‘as soon as possible’?

To be frank, we are talking day one reporting. Insurers and brokers have shown that by becoming involved in the capture of a third party claim on day one and allowing them to offer their services to a third party in which their policyholder is responsible, savings can be made on each claim.

The longer the delay the more chance there is of the third party being contacted by a credit hire company to provide them with alternative transport and to arrange repairs to their vehicles, possibly at much higher rates than your own insurance can provide.

Where possible, allow your drivers to report an accident direct and if it is safe to do so then report the incident at the roadside.

Here at Walmsleys, all our policyholders are supplied with a small key tag which provides our 24/7 helpline number to allow your drivers to report the incident straight away to our claims team who are there to provide support to your drivers.

These days, report forms are not always required by an insurer but by reporting the claim immediately everything is fresh in the driver’s mind. If your internal reporting structure internally requires a report form to be completed then let this be done when the driver gets back to base.

Important tips for making a car insurance claim

Be aware of the information the helpline will require. Obviously details of the policyholder, vehicle and personal details of your driver (which your driver can provide) will be required but make sure your driver obtains the name of the third party, their registration number and a contact number for them.

If possible take photographs of the accident locus, keep dashcam footage or see if there are any CCTV cameras around that may have captured the incident. Are there any witnesses? If so, try to obtain their details. 

When contacting the helpline, be sure to discuss everything in full with the handler and while not admitting liability to a third party, be candid in these discussions with the handler to ascertain liability.

For potential future personal injury claims, check if the third party has any passengers in their vehicle. Make a note of how many and note their position in the third party vehicle. If safe to do so, then take pictures. All of this can assist your insurer. 

We are all aware of being involved in an accident can be stressful and are emotive times with those involved all too often not wanting to believe they are at fault.

However, accidents will always happen and, if you are to blame, then instant reporting can cushion the blow a little. The earlier we become involved, the more chance we have to have control of the claim.

By allowing your claims handler to take control of both yours and the third party claim, there is potential to make savings on future premiums. 

If you would like more information regarding car insurance claims, contact us today and receive guidance from one of our trusted advisors.

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