How to claim car insurance after an accident

Whether or not it’s your fault, it’s important you understand how to claim insurance after an accident. There are a few common pitfalls to avoid, but as long as you know what to do you should be able to get all the insurance paperwork sorted quickly – so you can get back on the road.

Choosing a quality car insurance provider will make the process as easy as possible. Communication is key, so make sure you speak to your insurer straight away. Once you have reported the damage, your insurer will take care of the paperwork, quotes for repairs, and follow up with the other party’s insurance provider.

How to make a car insurance claim when you’re at fault

The first step after a car accident is to ensure everyone is okay and that there are no injuries. In more serious incidents, an ambulance and the police may need to be called.

When it comes to making a claim after an accident, you may receive a letter of demand from the other party’s insurer requesting that you pay for the damage caused to their vehicle and/or injuries. If you believe that you are not entirely at fault for the accident, you can contest the claim or speak directly to your insurance provider about the incident.

It’s important that you don’t admit fault at the scene of an accident, as it is up to the professionals to make that determination. They will review evidence such as:

  • Accounts from all drivers involved in the accident, as well as any eyewitnesses present
  • Photos of damage to the vehicles, physical injuries and other objects at the site (e.g. fences, signposts, property)
  • Dashcam video recordings
  • Physical proof of vehicle damage after assessment
  • Police reports, if they were called to the scene

Once the accident has been reviewed, your insurer will confirm whether you were completely at fault or only partly at fault, and decide if the claim will be accepted.

How to make a car insurance claim when it’s not your fault

If you were not at fault for the accident, it can be frustrating to have to go through the insurance claims process. After all, you weren’t the one who caused the accident, yet repairs still need to be made to your car which can be inconvenient and time consuming. Repair costs and hospital fees often need to be settled quickly, so it’s important that you report the accident to your insurance provider as soon as possible – it’s their job to follow up with other parties to make sure the claim is being addressed and to help you work through any issues.

Alternatively, if the other driver was completely at fault they may ask if you want to settle the issue privately. In this case, you can provide quotes from your preferred repair mechanic and ask them to agree to the costs. Even if you choose to handle the matter privately, you should still report the incident to your insurer, as you have a duty of disclosure in your contract.

How long does an insurance claim take to process?

That will depend on a range of factors, including the incident itself and your provider. It’s important you compare car insurance providers, read the PDS and choose the right level of cover for your needs – these are essentials before selecting a car insurance policy.

Generally, it may take between one to two weeks for your insurer to accept or deny the claim based on the information you provided and any evidence reviewed by their insurance-claim experts. Be aware that it may take longer in more complex cases.

If your car insurance policy offers it, you may be provided with a free hire car to keep you on the road while your vehicle is being repaired. Make sure you compare car insurance to find a provider that offers the features that would be beneficial for your circumstances.

Examples of the most common car insurance claims

While car accidents are the most common reason for making a claim on car insurance, they aren’t the only claims made. Depending on your type of cover, you may be able to make a claim on:

  • Single-car collisions
  • Collisions where you were at fault
  • Collisions where you were not at fault
  • Damage to your vehicle while it was parked
  • Windscreen damage (e.g. loose rocks causing cracks while driving)
  • Storm damage
  • Theft of vehicle

Not all levels of car insurance will cover the above scenarios, so you need to do your due diligence, read the PDS and speak to your chosen provider about the different reasons for possibly needing to make a claim. If you are having trouble understanding anything in your PDS, you can always call your insurer and speak to someone on the phone, who can explain it to you.

Selecting a car insurance provider

Getting into an accident – whether or not you are at fault – is never fun. However, comparing car insurance could help you select a provider who will handle your claim professionally and efficiently.

To help find a car insurance policy, Choosi is a great place to compare. Start exploring a range of car insurance policies with Choosi.