A Comprehensive Guide to Car Insurance Claims in the UK (Part 1)

Being involved in a road traffic accident can be a traumatic experience and in the immediate aftermath of a high impact incident, vehicle owners can often feel too confused or disorientated to take the importance of their subsequent car insurance claim into account. This detailed guide to following the claims process in the United Kingdom serves as an excellent reference should the worst actually occur.

Post-Impact Checklist

Knowing what to do in the immediate aftermath of an accident can have a vital impact on the way your car insurance will eventually be handled. It is recommended that this checklist is kept in your vehicle at all times. Failure to compile sufficient information after an accident can lead to expensive car insurance quotes in the future.

  • Take details relating to all other motorists involved in the accident. You will need to take their names, addresses, telephone numbers, the type of car being driven, vehicle registration numbers and car insurance details. Always make sure that other drivers involved in the accident have a record of your own details as well.
  • Take details from any witnesses who saw the accident happen. Eyewitness accounts can be an integral part of a problem-free car insurance claim. Don’t worry too much about their account of what happened for now. Names, addresses and telephone numbers are more important at this stage
  • If the police are called to the scene of the accident, be sure to record details about them as well. The name of the officer and their rank and badge number will help with any references you have to make to them in the future. Don’t expect the police to commit to anything in the immediate aftermath of an accident. There are procedures that the police are expected to follow before a report can be compiled. Once the police have made their report, your car insurance company will usually request a copy themselves
  • Make a note of weather conditions. Fog, heavy rain, snow and sleet could all be cited as influencing factors behind an accident when you make a car insurance claim. You will also need to note what visibility was like for driving. Was vision impaired by weather or lighting conditions in any way? Remember that bright sunlight can be equally as dangerous as adverse weather, particularly when the sun is lower in the sky during winter
  • Take a careful look at road conditions and make a note of this as well. If the roads are wet, icy or simply in a poor state of repair, your car insurance company may still find the information helpful. Even if the road surface was dry, it is still important that your car insurance company knows about it
  • What sort of area did the accident occur in? Your car insurance company will need to know whether you were driving in a built-up area with high levels of traffic or whether you were on smaller roads with other potential hazards
  • Be conscientious of traffic signals and signage close to where the accident took place. Your car insurance company will need to know the legal implications for the particular stretch of road where the incident occurred
  • Make a diagram and include road markings, streets, traffic islands, cambers and other influencing factors. If you have a tape measure in the car, record road widths as well and pass these on to your car insurance company. Remember to draw in skid marks if there are any
  • Make a note of the condition of other vehicles involved in the accident. This can stop other motorists from exaggerating damage at a later stage and making fraudulent car insurance claims. Also, take notes regarding their tax disc and overall vehicle condition of the vehicle. Is all paperwork up to date and is the car roadworthy?
  • Photographic evidence can be the key to an effective car insurance claim. If you are carrying a mobile phone or digital camera, take as many pictures as you can. If these aren’t available, return to the scene of the accident as quickly as possible with a camera to get the necessary photographs. Take as many pictures from as many different angles as possible to build a clear picture of the geography surrounding the accident
  • If you have incurred any bodily injuries, try to take photographs of these as well. Always try to take colour photographs and record evidence of all bruising, cuts and other lacerations. Car insurance claims can run more smoothly if you provide as many details about personal injury as possible