Most of us know that car insurance companies are in it to make money – which means if they can avoid paying up, they will. No matter how carefully you drive, all it takes is another clumsy driver to pull out of a junction at the wrong time or misjudge a parking bay and suddenly you’re in a crash. Providing no-one is injured, your first focus should be to ensure that you don’t have to pay for the damage. Here are the steps you need to take to act fast and force those insurance companies to cough up.

Exchange driver details

Most drivers that crash into you will be compliant – they’ll apologetically exchange insurance details or at the very least leave a message in your car windscreen if they happen to bump you on the way out of a car park (this has happened to me!). Hit and run drivers are far less common, but if you do fall victim to one, try and catch a look at their number plate. If you forget to take a note of it or are too preoccupied to take a record of the registration plate, see if there are any witnesses around. As a last resort, the police may be able to find CCTV.

Notify your insurance company straight away

Even if you don’t make a claim, notify your insurance company straight away. Approach them a week later, and they could use this against you, even accusing you of trying to cover it up. Certain details may also be hazier than when the incident is fresh in your mind. Insurance companies need specifics.  

Take photographs

Take photographs of the damage straight after the incident to use as evidence. If you can take pictures of the other driver’s vehicle too and any damage, this can be beneficial. No insurance company will argue with photo evidence.

Hire legal help

There are many solicitors that specialise in car accidents (for example these car accident lawyers). In situations where a driver is denying crashing into you or an insurance company is refusing to pay up due to altercations, having legal help can help to win your case.

Don’t touch your vehicle until the insurance company have paid up

If you can avoid driving your vehicle until insurance has been sorted, do so. Do not attempt to repair the vehicle – you can get a quote, but don’t actually make repairs. An insurance company may ask for more photos, which you won’t be able to provide if the damage is fixed. Similarly, be careful of driving your car. You could make any damage worse, and then if you have to take other photos, they may think you’ve sabotaged it yourself to claim more money. Even if it doesn’t affect your claim, tampering and operating the vehicle whilst damaged may affect your insurance cost in the future. Take public transport if you can, or drive another vehicle that you are insured on, just to be safe.

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Emily Muelford

Emily is a British writer whose love of car culture is augmented by a fascination with both the European and American automotive markets. Her perspective is uniquely fish and chips.

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