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The Best Way To Deal With a Third Party Car Insurance Claim (Part 1)

Sean O'Meara 19/02/2013 09:05:02

The Best Way To Deal With a Third Party Car Insurance Claim (Part 1)

Your car has been hit by another motorist. Fortunately nobody was injured and your car doesn't appear to be too damaged.

You've done all the right things so far - taken photos of the scene, got witness details and the policy number of the other person involved. You've notified the police using a non-emergency telephone number and have advised your insurer of the incident.

The next day brings comforting news. The other driver has admitted fault and his insurance company is happy to handle the claim. You advise your insurer and they confirm that your no claims bonus and excess are both safe. All you need to do now is sit back, wait for the courtesy car and let the third party's insurance company take care of things, right?

Wrong.

In many cases, it may seem that the third party insurer are bending over backwards to accommodate you. They will often begin by making offers of compensation. Try your best to ignore all compensation offers until you know exactly what is happening with your car. Otherwise, you may end with a cheque for whiplash, but no means of transportation.

The period of time immediately after a collision can be overwhelming and confusing. Often, you're inundated with phone calls and letters from a variety of people. The sheer drain on your time can be exhausting, even in cases where you weren't at fault.

Here's a quick list of the people likely to interrupting your day in the aftermath of an accident.

  • Assessors representing the third party insurer.
  • Legal team representing the third party insurer.
  • Hire car company.
  • Repair garage.
  • The third party themselves.

Responding to Offers of Compensation

Even if you weren't injured, you may be entitled to compensation for lost of earnings and other recoverable losses. For example, if you have to take the morning off to receive the hire car, you are entitled to claim this back.

In the week or so following an accident, the third party insurance company are highly likely to make you a broad compensation offer, which includes all recoverable losses and injury. It's not unusual at all for an insurer to try to persuade you that you have a minor injury. If you do have a minor injury, such as a sore back, you will receive a "pre-medical settlement offer."

The amount can vary from anything between £200 and £2,000. But don't be blinded by what may seem like an unexpected windfall. The point of an overly generous pre-med offer is to limit the potential exposure the company faces. They'd rather pay out for whiplash now than face a claim for chronic back pain in a year's time. It's always best to wait until the claim is totally resolved before settling on anything.

If you have suffered injury, visit your GP in the first instance and tell them you were in a collision. Not until your car is back on the road should you accept any offer. It's smart to advise the insurance company of your intention to only discuss compensation once the car is returned, as this may hasten the repair process.

Keep a note of all expenses incurred while your car is off the road. Including:

  • Public transport receipts
  • Time off work related to the accident
  • Increased fuel costs if the courtesy car is less economical than yours
  • Holiday or leisure cancellations due to injury or not having a car
  • Child care expenses related to not having a car

If Your Car is Repaired

You should ask for a copy of the engineer's report and for copies of receipts for all new parts. When you come to sell your car, a savvy buyer will spot a new bumper or wing. The third party insurer is obliged to replace any parts with brand new parts sourced from the manufacturer. The only way you can prove that your new wing isn't a salvaged or generic part is to get that receipt.

Inspect the car yourself before signing for it. If you spot any chips or scratches on the paint that weren't there pre-accident, refuse to accept the car. Repair garages are busy places, so an inadvertent ding to your car my go unnoticed by the staff.

If your car is repaired, returned and you're happy with it, you should now respond to any compensation claims.

Check out the  second instalment of this guide to find out how to deal with write offs.

Used Car Finance

Sean O'Meara is editor of Watchmywallet.co.uk

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