Car insurance: How do I claim on my car insurance?

Car crash

You need to inform your car insurer about any road accidents you have

Being involved in a car accident or having your car stolen can be stressful enough without the hassle of making an insurance claim. 

However, there are ways of making the process much less daunting. Our step-by-step guide explains how to make a stress free claim on your car insurance.

Find out more: Car insurance claims satisfaction - which companies are best at handling claims

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, contact the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) at www.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 FOS' decision 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 

More on this...

Which? Limited (registered in England and Wales number 00677665) is an Introducer Appointed Representative of Which? Financial Services Limited (registered in England and Wales number 07239342). Which? Financial Services Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FRN 527029). Which? Mortgage Advisers and Which? Money Compare are trading names of Which? Financial Services Limited. Registered office: 2 Marylebone Road, London NW1 4DF.