Car Insurance Claims: How to make an insurance claim if you have a car accident

Having a car accident can be scary and stressful. It’s important to be prepared in this type of situation so you know exactly how to proceed in order to get yours, and potential third-party’s vehicles repaired. This guide will walk you through the car insurance claim process, and explain the different types of insurance.


What is car insurance? 

Car insurance is a legal requirement in the UK. It’s a policy designed to cover your vehicle in the event of accidents (provoked by yourself or a third party), damage or car theft.

There are three types of insurance that you can acquire in order to comply with legislation: third party, third party fire and theft, and fully comprehensive. Each of the mentioned policies have specific coverage and are recommended in different situations.

Third Party Insurance

Silver car hitting a red Astra near a traffic light

Also known as TPO (third party only) this is the most basic package you’re allowed to have in order to legally drive in British roads. As the name suggests, third parties are covered by this policy, but any damages to your vehicle will have to be funded by yourself.

This type of insurance is used by people whose vehicle’s repair would outweigh the cost of the car or repairs. So, if you own a cheaper car, this could be a good option for you.

Even though this policy may seem tempting due to the lower cost compared to the other policies, this could result in a false economy. Incidents such as car theft or burn won’t be covered, and you’ll have to pay for the damages/replacement yourself.

What does third party insurance cover?

This insurance will cover third party damages only. This means that if you caused the accident, your vehicle and yourself won’t be covered. Any passengers riding in your car and road users will be covered by this policy.

If you’re involved in an accident that you’re not at fault for, you can claim against their insurance for the cost to repair your vehicle.

Third party, fire, and theft

Tree felt on white car

Also known as TPFT, this is a step up from the TPO and is considered the mid-range of car insurance policies. You’ll basically get the same coverage as TPO plus any damages caused by fire and car theft.

This insurance is recommended to used-car owners who can afford to cover any costs associated with repairing their own vehicle in case of an accident.

Comprehensive Insurance 

The fully comprehensive insurance (also known as fully comp) covers any damage, theft, and accidents (even the ones where you’re at fault). Your third party liabilities, such as injury and damage to property, are also covered in this policy.

How do you claim on insurance for a car accident? 

There are steps you should take in case you find yourself in an accident. You should start following the list below at the scene to make sure your insurance claim runs smoothly.

  • Don’t admit fault at the scene of the accident. This could be used against you when filing for the insurance claim and may cause some headaches.
  • Make sure everyone is okay before proceeding to exchange contact details. If there are people injured, call the police and the ambulance right away.
  • Exchange contact information with the other driver. Make sure to get their phone number, address, vehicle’s reg numbers and insurance policy number.
  • Take as many photos and videos as you possibly can. They can be used to help your claim with the insurance firm.
  • Get contact information from witnesses if available.
  • Take note of the exact location where the accident happened, the date and time.
  • If the police are involved, you’ll need a copy of their report and a crime reference number.
  • Notify your insurance straight away, even if you’re not planning on making a claim.

How to claim third party car insurance?

It’s important that you let the insurer know about the accident as soon as it happens. This will allow you to claim against the other driver’s insurance, and they’ll decide whose fault the accident was.

You can get in touch with the third party insurance provider in writing and explain the situation. Tell them exactly what you’d like to claim from them.

If the insurance company decides it was your fault, your insurance will cover the costs for the repair of the other driver, but you’ll have to cover the repairs on your vehicle yourself.

How to claim comprehensive car insurance?

If you have a comprehensive policy, you should report and make the claim from your provider, who will dispute it with the third party’s insurance provider. If they can’t recover the money from the third party issuer, it’s likely that you’ll lose any bonuses and no claims you’ve accrued so far.

You should still claim from the third party insurance for any uninsured losses (losses not covered by your own insurance).

To make a claim, you should get in touch with your insurance provider and follow their procedure. Keep any evidence of the damages and losses. The more photographs and videos of the incident you provide, the best your chance of getting the full coverage you’ll be.

Car Insurance Excess

Red car that had its rear end hit, is being towed.

When you’re involved in a car accident and need to claim on your insurance, you’ll need to pay a certain amount towards the repair of your vehicle. This amount you agree to pay is called excess.

The payment of excess was put in place to prevent insurance fraud and false claims as it’s understood that if you have to put money towards the repair of the vehicle, it’d avoid non-genuine claims.

No Claims Bonus 

A no-claims is a bonus given by most insurance companies to drivers who’ve not claimed on insurance for a set amount of time. This bonus help decrease the cost of car insurance, and it rewards motorists who are deemed to be lower risk.

How long do car insurance claims take? 

There’s no exact answer to this question. When you claim on insurance, it could take between a week and a year to get it resolved. Once the claim has been submitted, the only thing you can do is wait.

Find more tips with Evans Halshaw

In the event of a car accident, providing immediate help to those injured and keeping evidence such as photos, videos, and witnesses are key for a speedy recovery and a smooth insurance claim.

You can find more driving advice at our Evans Halshaw blog, and stay up to date with the latest tips.