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Making a Car Insurance Claim: What You Should Know

By: Jack Claridge - Updated: 8 Jan 2013 | comments*Discuss
 
Insurance Claim Accident Damage Rta

Whilst you will certainly want to avoid it, there may come a time when it is necessary for you to make an insurance claim for damage caused to your vehicle or someone else's. If you have been involved in an RTA (Road Traffic Accident) you must notify your insurance company, regardless of the extent of damage and whose fault it was.

Here are some of the reasons for making an insurance claim:

  • Theft
  • Accidental Damage
  • Criminal Damage
  • Injury to Others
  • Injury to Yourself
  • Damage to Personal Belongings
  • Fire Damage
  • Medical Expenses

Contacting Your Insurance Company

If you need to make a claim the first thing you must do is contact your insurance company. It is important that you do this as soon as you possibly can or - if you have received injuries as the result of an RTA (Road Traffic Accident) - as soon as it is practical for you to do so.

Most insurance companies now have direct telephone lines where advisors will take the details of your claim over the phone and set the claims process motion. Likewise if your policy offers the facility for you - as the driver - to have use of a courtesy vehicle while your own vehicle is off the road, then the insurance company can arrange this in the early stages of the claim.

What Information Does My Insurance Company Need?

Firstly you should provide the insurance company with your policy details; name, address policy number etc - for this reason, it's handy to carry your insurance company phone number and your policy number around with you. They will ask you to confirm the nature of the claim you wish to make and also ask you for any other relevant information such as:

  • Names and addresses of others involved in the incident
  • Nature of damage to vehicle
  • Crime Number (if relevant)

When you first contact your insurance company try and remain as calm as possible throughout and answer all of their questions to the best of your abilities.

Making Your Claim

Once you have made the initial contact with your insurance company, you will receive a claims form which you are required to fill out and return to them. This document will have to include the exact nature of the claim you are making and any other documentation relevant to it. This may include:

  • Invoices or quotes for repairs
  • Police incident report/crime number
  • Any photographic evidence
  • A list of the items and/or expenses your are claiming for
  • Original receipts for any items you are claiming for (if you have them)

The documentation required depends on the nature of your claim, but if you enclose all the necessary paperwork it will help the process run more smoothly.

It is important to complete all the information required - and if there are any further details which you think are relevant to the insurance company then you should include these on separate sheets of paper.

Do not be afraid to provide as much information as you can. As long as it is relevant, you can never provide your insurance company with enough information. It will help them understand the nature of your claim and will also help you understand what the insurance company is expected to do on your behalf.

Insurance companies may ask for copies of driving licence documents in order to prove the validity of a driver's details. They may also wish to check for endorsements.

After You Have Made Your Claim

The most important thing to remember after submitting your claim, is time. Most insurance companies will be busy and not all claims will be resolved in a matter of days. The nature of the claim - and whether or not the insurance companies of other parties involved co-operate fully - will determine how quickly a claim is settled.

You should initially allow a few days for receipt of your completed claim form and documentation to be received by your insurance company. If you have heard nothing from them by mail, email or telephone within 5 working days then you should contact them to ensure that all necessary documentation has arrived.

If you are sending your documentation through the post, make copies and send the forms and documents by registered post.

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