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How to claim on your car insurance

By Dean Sobers

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How to claim on your car insurance

Check what information you'll need when making a car insurance claim and what the claiming process involves with our step-by-step guide.

1. Collect all the details you need

If your claim follows a road accident make sure you collect all the details you need from the other driver. Jot down the following…

  • Name
  • Address
  • Vehicle registration
  • Telephone number
  • Insurance details

You'll also need to give your car insurance company as much information about the accident as possible. Use sketches to help explain what happened and include any pictures you took at the scene of the accident.

2. Call your insurer promptly

It’s good practice to submit a claim to your insurer as soon as possible. Make sure you have all the information you'll need to make a claim to hand before you call. Having notified the provider you'll get a claim form to complete and return. Alternatively, you may be able to submit your online.

Remember, that if you have an accident your insurer will expect to be notified as it will affect your risk as a driver. Even if you think it's not worth making a claim make sure you discuss the incident with your insurer regardless.

3. Complain if you're not satisfied

If you're unfortunate enough to have to claim on your insurance, the expectation is that your provider will handle your enquires carefully and that your claim is paid.

However, this isn’t always the case. If you feel that your claim hasn’t been handled fairly, complain to your insurer. Common issues include your claim being rejected or, if your car has been written off, the valuation you have received is less than you expected.

4.  Speak to the ombudsman

If you have exhausted the insurance company's complaints procedure (set out in your insurance policy) and your claim has not been settled, email the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) at financial-ombudsman.org.uk or call 0300 123 9123.

You usually have six months from the time you reach deadlock with the insurer in which to make a complaint. The decision of the FOS is binding on companies but not on the consumer, so you could, if you wish, refer the matter to court.

5.  Be prepared to shop around at renewal

Making a claim on your car insurance, even if you were not at fault for the damage, is likely to result in an increase in your premium.

Even if you have a protected no-claims bonus, this doesn't mean that the cost of your cover won't increase – the protection is for the discount and not the premium.

This means that you will have to be alert around renewal time. If your policy is set to auto renew, check your premium carefully. If your premium has rocketed, consider switching to a new provider or haggling with your current provider for a better deal.

Find out more: Renewing your car insurance - tips for getting the best deal. 

  • Last updated: September 2016
  • Updated by: Dean Sobers
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