Making a claim

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How to process your car insurance claim

Car insurance claims can sometimes be complicated and confusing, leading to frustration and uncertainty for policyholders. To help you understand the process and ensure you have the information you need to make a successful claim, we’ve put together this comprehensive guide.

How do I process a car insurance claim?

If you are faced with the unfortunate situation of having to make a car insurance claim, it is crucial to act promptly and gather all the necessary information to support your case. Here’s a detailed guide on how to increase your chances of a successful claim process:

  • Contact your Insurance Provider: As soon as possible after the incident, reach out to your insurance company. You can do this either by phone or by filling in an online claim form. Make sure to have your policy number handy and be ready to provide information about the incident.
  • Gathering Information from Other Drivers: In the event of an accident, it is important to gather information from any other drivers involved. Make sure to take note of the following details:
    • Full name
    • Address
    • Car registration number
    • Telephone number
    • Insurance information
  • Documenting the Incident: Take clear photographs of the damage to all vehicles involved, as well as the surrounding area to help illustrate the circumstances of the accident. This will assist in the claims assessment process.
  • Eyewitnesses: It can be helpful to ask any other motorists or pedestrians who witnessed the incident if they would be willing to act as independent witnesses. They can provide valuable information and support your claim.
  • Injuries and Police Involvement: If anyone is injured in the crash, it is important to call for medical attention immediately. You should also notify the police, who will be necessary to provide a crime reference number in the event of theft or damage to your parked car.

By following these steps, you’ll have a solid foundation for a successful car insurance claim. Remember, the quicker you act and the more comprehensive your documentation, the smoother the process will be.

What information do I need to make a claim?

When making a claim on your car insurance policy, it is important to have all the necessary information readily available to ensure a smooth and efficient process. Here’s a detailed list of what you’ll need to provide:

  • Your Policy Number: Your policy number is a unique identifier that is specific to your insurance policy. This will help your insurance provider quickly locate your policy and verify your coverage.
  • Your Personal Details: You’ll need to provide your full name, contact information, and any other relevant personal details that may be required to process your claim. This may include your driver’s license number, the make and model of your vehicle, and your policy start and end dates.
  • Details of Other Parties Involved: In the event of an accident, you’ll need to provide information about any other drivers, passengers, or pedestrians involved in the incident, including their full name, contact information, and insurance information. You’ll also need to provide details about their vehicles, such as the make, model, and registration number.
  • Incident Information: It is important to provide your insurance provider with the date, time, and location of the incident, as well as any other relevant details that may help in the claims assessment process. This may include a description of the weather conditions, road conditions, and the events leading up to the accident.
  • Crime Reference Number (if applicable): If your car was stolen or damaged while parked, you’ll need to provide a crime reference number from the police. This is a unique identifier assigned to each reported crime and will help your insurance provider verify that the incident was reported and recorded.

How long does a car insurance claim take?

The length of time it takes to process a car insurance claim can vary depending on several factors. Here’s a detailed list of what you need to know:

  • Disputes: If there is any disagreement regarding the cause or liability of the incident, this can significantly delay the claims process. This can be between the parties involved in the incident or with your insurance provider. A dispute can arise if there are conflicting accounts of the events leading up to the accident or if there is a question of who is at fault.
  • Evidence: The amount of evidence available and its quality can significantly impact the speed of the claims process. This may include photographic evidence, statements from witnesses, and the results of any police investigations. If there is not enough evidence to support your claim, your insurance provider may need to carry out additional investigations or assessments, which can take time.
  • The severity of the Accident: The severity of the accident will also play a role in determining the length of time it takes to process a claim. If the incident involved significant damage to your vehicle or other vehicles, or if there were injuries involved, the claims process may take longer as there will be more factors to consider.
  • Reporting Timing: The sooner you report the incident to your insurance provider, the quicker they can begin to assess the claim and take any necessary steps to resolve it. This includes arranging for any necessary repairs, processing any claims for personal injury, and investigating the incident. By reporting the incident as soon as possible, you can ensure that your insurance provider has the best chance of resolving the claim in a timely manner.
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In general, car insurance claims can take anywhere from a day to a few weeks to resolve, depending on the circumstances of the incident. By understanding the factors that can impact the length of time it takes to process a claim, you can be better prepared for what to expect during the claims process.

How long can a car insurance claim stay open?

The duration of a car insurance claim can vary greatly and typically remains open until the matter has been fully resolved and all necessary compensation has been paid out. This process can take anywhere from a few days to several weeks or even months, depending on the complexity of the case. Factors such as disputes, the amount of evidence available, the severity of the accident, and the timing of the claim report can all impact the length of time it takes to finalise a car insurance claim.

Can a closed car insurance claim be reopened?

If you believe that the outcome of your car insurance claim was unjust or incorrect, you have the option to dispute it with your insurance provider. This process involves raising your concerns or objections to the insurance company and seeking a review of the decision made on your claim.

By disputing a car insurance claim, you may be able to have the case reopened and reassessed, potentially leading to a different outcome or resolution. It’s important to follow the proper procedures for disputing a car insurance claim, which may involve gathering additional evidence or information to support your position and working closely with your insurance provider to resolve the issue.

How to dispute a car insurance claim against you

When someone makes a claim against your car insurance policy, alleging that an accident was your fault, the next steps will depend on your perspective of the situation. If you acknowledge that you were responsible for the accident, your insurance provider will handle the claim and make the necessary payments to the third-party.

However, if you disagree with the claim and wish to dispute it, you can inform your insurance company and they will assess the situation by gathering and evaluating relevant evidence. This may include:

  • Statements from both policyholders involved in the accident.

  • Statements from any witnesses who were present during the incident.

  • Relevant information from similar accidents and case law.

  • Footage captured by CCTV cameras in the area.

  • Detailed assessments and documentation of the damage to the vehicles involved in the accident.

Based on the information gathered, your insurance provider will then make a determination of fault, taking into account the circumstances and evidence presented. It’s possible that fault may be assigned to both parties, with your insurance company paying out a portion of the claim and the other party responsible for the remaining portion.

How to dispute a rejected car insurance claim

If your car insurance claim has been rejected, it can be a frustrating and confusing experience. However, you have several options to dispute the decision and seek a resolution. Here is a more detailed guide on what you can do:

  • Verify your coverage: Before taking any further steps, it’s essential to understand your insurance policy and ensure that you’re covered for what you’re claiming for. Review your policy documents and make sure that there are no exclusions that might apply to your situation.
  • Communicate with your insurer: Write to your insurance provider and explain the situation in detail. Include any relevant information and evidence to support your claim. Be sure to request a response within a specific time frame and keep a record of all communication.
  • Use the formal complaint process: If your insurer’s explanation is unsatisfactory, you can follow the provider’s formal complaint process. This information can usually be found on their website or in their policy documents. Your insurance company should have an internal complaints process in place to handle disputes.
  • Report to the Financial Ombudsman Service: If the complaint process still doesn’t resolve the issue, you can report the situation to the Financial Ombudsman Service. This is an independent organisation that will investigate your case and make a decision. The decision made by the ombudsman is final and cannot be contested by your insurance provider.

By following these steps, you can help ensure that your dispute is resolved fairly and in a timely manner.

What happens when a car insurance claim goes to court?

Car insurance claims, as well as other insurance claims, are not often resolved through legal court proceedings. However, in cases where a settlement cannot be reached on compensation or liability, taking the matter to court may be the only option.

The legal process begins when the court assigns a timeline to manage the claim, and it continues until a final verdict is reached. A legal representative will handle the proceedings and represent you in court.

Can you cancel a car insurance claim?

If you have decided to cancel a car insurance claim, it is important to reach out to your insurance provider promptly. You have the right to retract your claim at any point, but it is crucial to do so before your insurance company incurs any expenses related to the claim. Failure to do so might result in the need to request a reimbursement.

There could be various reasons for wanting to cancel a claim, such as wanting to personally pay for the repairs to maintain a good no-claims bonus or choosing to file a claim with the third-party’s insurance instead. Regardless of the reason, it is important to inform your insurance provider about your intentions to cancel the claim.

How to check my car insurance claim history

To check your car insurance claims history, you can either directly contact your insurance provider or access the Claims and Underwriting Exchange (CUE), a database maintained by the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB) that records all incidents reported to insurers, regardless of whether they result in a claim.

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To obtain information from your insurance provider, simply contact them and ask for details about your claim history. They should be able to provide you with information such as the date of the claim, the type of claim, and details about any payouts made.

If you wish to access the CUE, you can do so by visiting the Motor Insurers’ Bureau website and filling out a subject access request form. This form will enable you to request information from the CUE about any incidents reported to insurers regarding your vehicle. It’s important to note that this information can be useful when it comes to renewing your insurance policy or if you’re considering purchasing a new vehicle, as it may impact your insurance premiums.

How long does a car insurance claim stay on record?

The Claims and Underwriting Exchange (CUE) maintains a database of all incidents reported to insurance providers, including those that did not result in a claim. The information stored in the CUE database is used by insurance providers when evaluating applications for car insurance policies. The data stored in the CUE database remains there for a period of six years from the date of the incident, regardless of whether or not a claim was made. This is done to ensure that insurance providers have access to comprehensive information about an individual’s driving history and claim history, so that they can make informed decisions about insurance coverage and pricing.

How much does a car insurance claim affect your premium?

Making a claim on your car insurance policy can significantly impact the cost of your premiums, and more often than not, it leads to an increase. This is due to the notion that the more claims you make, the greater the likelihood that you will file additional claims in the future. Insurance providers use this information to calculate the risk associated with insuring you, and the cost of your policy reflects that risk profile.

However, the cost of your car insurance policy is not solely determined by the number of claims you have made. Other factors, such as your age, location, occupation, and the type of car you drive, also play a role in determining your premium costs. Insurance providers take a comprehensive approach to evaluating the risk associated with insuring you and factor in multiple elements to arrive at a premium amount that accurately reflects that risk.

Total number of claims

Average annual premiums1











Based on fully comprehensive car insurance policies with one driver holding a full UK driving licence. MoneySuperMarket data collected between January and March 2022, accurate as of May 2022.

Is it worth making a car insurance claim?

Before making a decision on whether to file a claim on your car insurance, it is important to take into consideration the following factors:

  • Excess Payment: Most insurance policies require you to pay a deductible, or excess payment when making a claim. Before filing a claim, evaluate if the amount of the excess is worth the claim. For instance, if your excess is £150 and the cost of repairs is around the same amount, it may be more economical to pay for the repairs yourself.
  • No-Claims Bonus: Building up a no-claims bonus can result in significant discounts on your insurance premiums. This bonus is accumulated when you do not make a claim for a certain period, usually a year, which indicates to the insurer that you are a low-risk policyholder.

It is important to weigh the benefits and drawbacks of filing a claim, as it can have a long-term impact on your insurance premiums and no-claims bonus. It is advisable to have a clear understanding of your insurance policy and the terms and conditions related to filing a claim before making a decision.

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