Needing to make an insurance claim is always stressful, and even though it may seem clear cut, deciding who is at fault isn’t as straightforward as it may seem, – at least from the perspective of the insurers. Deciding who is at fault, isn’t solely about deciding who is to blame – the ongoing financial consequences can last a long time.
The communications between both parties’ insurers to determine liability starts in the immediate aftermath of an incident. It is not unusual for the matter to be unresolved several months later, even if you have fully comprehensive insurance. Why does this matter? The truth is with increased premiums and the loss of your no claims bonus, liability can have a financial effect on you and your insurer, so it’s worthwhile understanding the factors involved in determining liability.
How do car insurance claims work?
Both claims handlers will gather evidence to create an accurate picture of the incident to back up the version of events supplied by their policyholder. If there is a clear dispute, evidence can be used to determine liability and resolve differences.
Make your case as strong as possible
The quality of the evidence is vital as it will help your claims handler build a case on your behalf:
Have a dashcam;
Use a smartphone to take pictures of the accident’s immediate aftermath – the impact on each vehicle, witnesses, skid mark on the road etc. Voice recordings at the scene can also help to provide valuable evidence.
What is the next step if no one is prepared to accept liability?
Insurance providers usually attempt to negotiate a settlement between themselves, even in disputed cases.
Occasionally, specialist claims investigators are appointed to perform more detailed follow-up investigations to determine liability. Going to court is rare because of the costs involved and the uncertainty of the outcome.
Could my claim be settled on a 50/50 basis?
If there is no evidence and neither party wants to go to court, a 50/50 basis is a good compromise. However, this will lead to an at-fault claim on your insurance record with the associated increase in premiums.
Can your insurer decide the outcome of a claim?
Yes, even if you strongly feel that you weren’t responsible for an accident, most policies enable a claims handler to settle a claim despite your opinion.
What can I do if I disagree with my insurer’s decision?
You should contact your Insurer and ask them to explain to you the rational of their decision. If you still think that your insurer’s decision is unfair, you can submit a complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service. It isn’t their role to re-investigate the accident, but they will look carefully at the insurer’s decision and check that it was reasonable.
What happens if the other driver wasn’t insured?
If you claim against an uninsured driver, the cost of the claim comes from the MIB (Motor Insurance Bureau). Members of the MIB pay a fee, since the 1988 Road Traffic Act all insurers who underwrite motor insurance must be members, the cost of this fee is translated into your premiums.
However, if you have a Got2Inure policy your no claims discount will not be affected if you are able to identify the uninsured driver by providing the following:
- You are able to provide the make, model and registration number of the other car involved;
- Provide the name and address of the offending driver;
- We can establish that you were not at fault in any way.
It is important to divulge your claims history to your insurance company. Including any open claims you may have. Misrepresentation of your claim history can lead to the insurance company invalidating your policy and subsequently not covering your claim.
The importance of having realistic expectations
Unless you have concrete evidence for a clear-cut accident, it’s always wise to take a pragmatic approach of the insurance claims process. Even though it is in your insurance company’s interest to achieve a no-fault settlement, this is not always possible.
Founded by senior Motor Insurance Executives, Got2Insure believe in making your car insurance simple and straightforward. Our comprehensive policy is 5* Defaqto rated. Contact us to make a claim or for a quote to see how much you could save.