MAKING MOTOR INSURANCE POLICY CLAIMS

The type of cover that private motorists take out varies between three kinds, and these dictate what the insured is entitled to through the claims process.

 

Third Party

This is the most limited form of motor insurance and covers:

  • Liability for injury to other people, including passengers.
  • Liability for damage to other people's property.
  • Liability of passengers for accidents caused by them.
  • Liability arising from the use of a caravan or trailer, while attached to a car.

Third Party Fire and Theft

This includes the cover shown above, as well as:

 

Fire or Theft

  • If your car is not normally kept in a garage at night, theft cover may be excluded or Subject to special conditions.
  • There may be an 'excess'- a part of the cost of the claim for which you are responsible- Following an incident of theft.
  • If you are selling your car make sure you receive proper payment before parting with it.
  • Your insurance policy will not cover your loss if your car is taken from you by Deception.

Comprehensive

This includes all previous cover as detailed as well as:

  • Accidental damage to your own car. There may be an 'excess' - a part of the cost of the claim for which you are responsible.
  • A personal accident benefit. Certain amounts are paid in the event of the death or specific permanent disablement of the policyholder - and sometimes his or her spouse or a family member.
  • Medical expenses necessarily incurred, up to a stated limit.
  • Loss of or damage to personal effects in the car, up to a stated limit.

Making a Claim

Immediately after the accident get as much 'on the spot' information as possible. Obtain the names and addresses of independent witnesses before they lose interest and leave the scene.

 

If you have a video or camera in the car, take pictures of the scene before vehicles or property are moved.

Making a sketch plan of the accident while the details are fresh in your mind is also a good idea.

 

With regard to the other drivers involved in the accident, note their names, addresses, car registration, make and model. Also, ask for the name of their insurers, and if possible their policy or certificate number.

 

Likewise, you are required to give your own details to anyone with reasonable grounds for requesting them.

If there have been injuries sustained during the accident, you must produce your certificate of insurance, if not immediately then within 24 hours at a police station.

 

Tell us about any statement made at the scene by any of the parties. Do not discuss whose fault the accident was - if you do, you could create problems for yourself and your insurers in the handling of the claim. You must tell us as soon as possible, even if you don't intend to make a claim. This is a condition of your policy.

 

Ask us for an accident reports form. When completing the form, include as much information as possible.

 

Getting Your Car Repaired

Contact the appropriate Helpline number, quoting your policy number.

 

If you have comprehensive cover, take your car to a competent repairer or to a recommended garage if possible. This not only often speeds up the process, but some policies will only meet the full cost if the car is taken to an approved repairer. Also, many insurers' recommended repairers will be able to provide you with a courtesy car whilst your vehicle is being repaired. (See later note on recommended repairers.)

 

Unless your insurer has special arrangements, send two (if possible) repairers' estimates to them. We can help you with this. The insurers must authorise any repairs to your vehicle.

 

When you collect your car you will often have to pay the first part of the cost if you have excess on your policy. You pay this money direct to the garage, whether or not you were to blame for the accident. Your insurers may also ask you to pay a part of the cost of the repairs if your car is put into better condition than it was in before the accident.

If you are registered for VAT, pay any VAT due to the garage and claim it back from Customs and Excise. If you are not VAT registered, your insurer will pay it.

 

The cost of repairs is your responsibility until your insurers have agreed to pay. For your peace of mind, you may want to obtain confirmation from your insurer that they accept liability and will pay the cost of the repair.

 

If you have chosen Third Party Fire and Theft cover, your policy will not cover accidental damage to your car. Therefore you have to pay the repair bill yourself, or claim from the other driver if he or she was legally liable for the damage.

 

In the event of such a claim, you must write to the other driver to inform them that you intend to claim from him/her and to state that you consider them responsible. Also, ask them to tell their insurers, as they can only act on the instructions of their own policyholder.

 

You must contact the other driver's insurance company, either personally, or on your behalf. If you have details, quote the other driver's policy number. As well as this the insurance company will also need a repairer's estimate for the damage to your car.

 

Your own insurers must also be informed that you are claiming against the third party.

 

On receipt of your letter, the third party may settle your claim themselves or may pass the matter to their insurers. If the insurers consider their policyholder entirely to blame, they will pay your claim provided they have full information. If they consider that you were entirely or partly to blame they may refuse your claim or suggest a compromise.

 

The third party may refuse to CO-operate at all in which case you should seek advice. You may, at the end of the day, have to take legal action against the other driver. With regard to this, your policy may have a legal expenses section, which will cover your costs. Contact Number for MSL Westinsure Assist: 0800 040 7475.

 

If Your Car is Stolen

Tell the police immediately, and then telephone the appropriate helpline number quoting your policy number. Follow this advice also, if property is stolen from your car.

 

Be prepared to wait a while in case your car is recovered. A great many cars taken without the owner's consent are found abandoned.

 

With regard to property stolen from your car, most comprehensive policies protect you against loss of or damage to rugs, clothing and personal belongings. Check your own policy for details as policies set individual limits on the value of such property.

 

No Claims Discount

Two steps usually reduce the discount after a claim.

 

Whenever a claim is made under a motor policy, the discount will always be affected unless your insurance company can recover its costs from another party.

 

If your insurer can make a full recovery, your no claim discount should not be affected. Similarly, if you recover all your uninsured losses (such as accidental damage excess) then your discount may not be affected.

 

Sometimes your no claim discount will be reduced at policy renewal time if a claim is expected to come in, or is still waiting to be settled. The discount may be reinstated if your insurer subsequently does not have to pay out under the policy.

 

Recommended Repairers

Many insurance companies have lists of approved repairers. You are not obliged to use a repairer recommended by your insurance company although this will speed up the handling of your claim, and may save you from having to obtain a repairer's estimate at all. Many insurers also have arrangements whereby you may be able to use a courtesy car free of charge whilst your own car is being repaired.

 

Claims Helpline Numbers

If you added the legal advice and claims handling service to your policy please contact MSL Westinsure Assist on 0800 040 7475, otherwise please contact your insurer as indicated below:

 

Ageas 0845 1223018
Allianz 0845 6000676
Aviva 0800 678999
AXA 0845 6080230
Broker Direct 0845 3371886
Covea 0844 245 0245
Equity Red Star 0844 8001937
Groupama 0870 2401895
Highway 0845 373 1241
KGM 0844 4126412
Markerstudy 0844 873 8183
NIG 0845 6071626
Royal & Sun Alliance 0800 096 4567
Sabre 0800 243071
Zenith 0870 5305030
Zurich 0800 400641

 

Windscreen Repair Company Helpline Numbers

As well as agreements with recommend repairers; many insurance companies have arrangements with specialist windscreen replacement companies:

 

Ageas 0800 174764
Autoglass 0800 363636
Equity Red Star 0844 5611934
Groupama 0800 854454
Highway 0800 6781010
National Windscreen 0800 373171
Royal Sun Alliance (glass) 0800 96 3456
Zenith 0845 600 5330
Zurich 0800 400 641

 

The Group Rating System

Insurance companies put car models into twenty groups.


This means that each model of car can be accurately banded with cars of similar characteristics.
There can be a significant spread of groups within a particular model range.

 

How the System Works:

Nearly three quarters of the money paid out in motor insurance claims is spent on repairing cars. The cost of spare parts and the time taken by repairers are therefore major factors in pricing motor insurance.

 

The factors used to calculate group ratings are:

  • Damage and Part Costs: The likely extent of damage to each car model and the cost of the parts involved in its repair. The lower these costs, the lower the group rating is likely to be.
  • Repair Times: Longer repair means higher costs and a greater likelihood of a higher group rating. Different paint finishes on modern cars are an important factor.
  • New Car Values: The prices of new cars identify the higher specification models within a model range.
  • Body Shells: The availability of the basic frame of the car is taken into account in-group ratings because they are essential for certain accidental damage repairs.
  • Performance: Acceleration and top speed are important factors. Insurance companies know very well, from their claim statistics, that high performance cars often result in more frequent insurance claims.
  • Car Security: Security features fitted as standard equipment by motor manufacturers can help to reduce insurance claims costs. Such features include high security door locks, alarm/immobilisation systems, glass etching, coded audio equipment, locking devices for alloy wheels and visible VIN numbers.

Recommended Group Ratings

The group ratings determined by the Association of British Insurers are recommendations only. Individual insurance companies, depending on their own experience, may vary from these recommendations.

 

How to Beat the Car Thief

The financial loss of a stolen car is bad enough and although insurance will compensate for this, nothing can help with the shock and inconvenience.

 

Walk around any car park. You'll see cars with windows open, ignition keys in the lock, sunroofs open, valuable property and clothing on display on the rear seat.

 

This checklist will help you increase the security of your vehicle:

  • Have all the windows etched with the registration number of your car.
  • Where to leave your car: At night, park in a well-lit place. Thieves like working in shadows. In a ticket-exit car park, take the ticket with you. Never leave it in the car.
  • Remove Car Ownership Documents: Don't leave your insurance or registration certificates in the car.
  • Hide Property: Leave property in a locked boot. In a hatchback, the rear shelf should be in position. In an estate, cover property with a blanket or sheet.
  • Remove the Ignition Key: Never leave the key in the ignition- not even just for a few seconds to go into your home, a shop or pay for petrol.
  • Close All Windows: When you leave the car, close all the windows. Don't forget the sunroof.
  • Use an Anti-Theft Device: Thieves are opportunists. They will probably move on to a car, which does not have a device, fitted.
  • Always Lock the Doors and Boot/Tailgate: Even when your car is in your drive or garage, lock it and take the keys with you.
  • Children and Animals: Never leave young children or animals alone in a parked car. With windows or a sunroof open you run the risk of theft. With windows closed there is a grave danger of suffocation.

Remember: If you are careless when leaving your car, then your claim for theft may not be paid at all. Your insurance policy requires you to take care of your property at all times.

 

Many insurers will allow a special premium discount if your car has a professionally fitted alarm or immobiliser system. The Motor Insurance Repair Research Centre checks on vehicle security devices to ensure that they comply with the criteria of the Insurance Industry Vehicle Security System.The list of those products that have passed is used by insurers as a basis for premium discounts and required security levels.

 

 

<< back to help & resources menu

OFFICE LOCATIONS:

St Austell (Head Office)

Rowett Insurance Broking Ltd

1 Southview House

Enterprise Park

Carclaze

St Austell

Cornwall

PL25 4EJ

 

Freephone: 0500 401226

Tel: 01726 871144 / 69400

Fax: 01726 66911

Plymouth Office

Rowett Insurance Broking Ltd

3 Alexandra Road

Crownhill

Plymouth

Devon

PL6 5AE

 

Tel: 01752 774686

Fax: 01752 774694

Rowett Insurance Broking Ltd

Registered Office Address: 22 East Hill, St Austell, Cornwall, PL25 4TR

Registered in England and Wales No. 4998729