A simples guide

When should I contact my car insurance provider?

As if having a car accident wasn’t bad enough, there’s the whole rigmarole of telling your insurance provider to look forward to as well. But before you pick up the phone at the scene of the incident and let your rage, shock and distress do the talking, stay calm. 


What shall I do if I have a car accident?

The golden rule is to never admit liability – telling everybody how sorry you are, is only going to make you look guilty (even if you weren’t). Keep cool and make sure you exchange details with the other driver or drivers involved – you’ll need car registrations, names, address and phone numbers of everyone involved (including any witnesses) and the names of their insurers.

If you can, take some photos of the accident as well as making a note of the weather conditions, or other significant environmental factors such as lighting or roadworks. This will all help verify your claim and could help jog your memory when you come to report the incident.

What about if my car is stolen or vandalised?

You’ll need to contact the police who will give you a crime reference number – you’ll need this when you contact your insurer. If your car’s been vandalised, take some photos as this will back up your claim.

stolen car

How long do I have to tell my insurance provider about an accident?

You may need to call your insurance provider at the scene of the accident if you or your car needs to be recovered. It’s worth checking today (in case you are in an accident) whether you get accident recovery as part of your policy as standard – not all insurance providers will offer this. It’s also unlikely to be included in your breakdown cover unless there is an option to add this on – so check now before the worst happens.

Your insurance provider will expect you to tell them about an accident within a ‘reasonable’ time and different providers will each have their own definition of how long is ‘reasonable’. Some will give you two days to tell them, while others will give you two weeks. It’s important to check what your policy says because if you delay it, it might invalidate your claim.

Do I always need to inform my insurance provider about an accident?

In a word – yes. You don’t have to make a claim, but you do need to tell your insurance provider about any accident you’ve been involved in. In your terms and conditions, you’ll probably find a little clause that says you do and that if you don’t, you could invalidate your policy.

Informing your insurer isn’t just about ticking a box in the T&Cs, it safeguards against your insurance provider paying out to a third party without your knowledge. Plus, some injury claims can be made years after an accident happened so it’s always best to ‘fess up and keep your insurance provider in the loop. If they know about an incident, they’re in a much better place to be able to help you.

car insurance

How do I go about telling my insurance provider?

Give them a call (some providers will have dedicated claim lines) and explain what’s happened. You’ll be asked to fill in a claim form – if you have any photos you should include them here.

Before you seek repairs for your car, make sure you’ve spoken to your insurance provider, your policy may set out that you need to use an approved garage. So if you make haste and arrange repairs yourself, you might find your provider decides they’re not obliged to pay out.

Getting insured

Car insurance is one of life’s necessities – there’s no two ways about it. So to make sure you get the best deal why not compare the market – we can help take out all the guesswork so that you can be confident about getting the deal that’s right for you.

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