Personal injury cover Personal injury claims and pitfalls

Personal injury claims depend on age restrictions and policy exclusions

If you decide to take out a standalone policy, make sure you read the terms and conditions and familiarise yourself with the policy's list of exemptions to make sure it's suitable before you buy. 

The potential pitfalls of personal injury cover

Some providers only cover you until you turn 65. Others will continue to insure you but reduce your cover levels after a certain age.

Most policies only cover you for accidents, not for illness or disease. If you want cover for illness, it's worth considering income protection or critical illness cover instead.

Check what activities policies cover you for, as several providers exclude many sports and activities. 

With some insurers, you could also miss out on a payment if your death or injury is a result of a motorcycle accident, either as a driver or passenger.

You should also check whether a provider includes dental cover in their policies. Some insurers won't cover you if your injury was caused while eating and drinking. And if the damage was a result of playing sport or an activity deemed to have a higher risk of dental injury, you’ll have to demonstrate you were wearing appropriate protection at the time.

Other points to be mindful of when looking at policies is that being intoxicated can see you breach terms and conditions while those serving in the Armed Forces are often excluded from benefits. If you're unemployed and claiming jobseekers' allowance, you might not be covered either.

How to make a personal injury claim

If you need to make a claim, in the first instance you should write to or telephone the provider's claims unit or named solicitors as soon as possible. You should be able to find contact details on the provider's website, in the policy documents and in the terms and conditions. 

Some providers have time limits on claims so be sure to file a claim and fill out any forms as soon as you can.

You might be asked to provide documents at your own expense and attend medical examinations to confirm the severity of your injury and receive a payout. If you are unhappy with the provider's final decision in your case you can ask the Financial Ombudsman Service to review it.

What to do if you suffer an injury

Whatever you decide to do about your personal injury, it's important to inform the police if, for example, the injury resulted from a road accident. 

You should also see your doctor, even if the injury seems minor, because if you subsequently go to court they will be asked to provide a medical report. 

You can also gather evidence about the accident and injuries, such as taking photographs of the scene of an accident and of what caused the injury. 

It might also help to write an account of the incident while details are still fresh in your mind. If there are witnesses, you should make a note of their names and addresses.

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