Seven car insurance claims myths busted

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Knowing how to make a claim is like knowing how to change a tyre – you know it can be done but aren’t quite sure how until you’re forced to deal with it.

The claims process can be confusing; full of different facts, figures and stories. So here at Admiral, we like to make sure our customers have all the knowledge they need around making a claim to help make life a little easier..

Every incident is different, but there are loads of myths around the claims procedure we would like to debunk. Here are seven of the most common myths set straight.

“It wasn't my fault so I won't have to pay my excess, but if it is my fault, I do.”

Your excess is something you never really think about until the day comes and you need to pay it. An excess is the amount you pay (or we hold back) in the event of any claim, regardless of who's to blame for the incident.

If you don’t make a claim but a third party does, and we pay out, you don’t have to pay your excess.

If you claim for damage to your vehicle the excess is always payable. The only way your excess can be waived is if the third party insurer admits liability (this is specific to Admiral and may be different with other insurers).

If it's proven the accident was the other person's fault and we recover the full cost from their insurer, the excess is refunded, so you don't lose out. If a claim settles 50/50, the third party insurers will repay 50% of your excess.

If you have an incident involving an uninsured driver, we may not be able to recover your excess for you. But don't worry, give us a call on 0333 220 2033 and we can advise you.

“I can claim for all the items that were in my car when it was stolen.”

If your car gets stolen and your laptop, pram, designer purse and latest smart phone are inside, you can only claim for part of the value of the goods.

Contents cover for cars is very different to home contents cover and varies between insurers so make sure you carefully read your policy documents. We always recommend that you don’t leave any valuables in your car.

“The accident wasn't my fault so my insurance premium won't be affected.”

This is a very common statement we hear in the Admiral Claims team, but insurance is based on risk and statistics, so every incident you have is rated upon at renewal, regardless of fault.

These rating factors constantly change so we can’t tell you if a certain element will affect your premium. This is why we ask ‘have you had any claims or incidents, regardless of fault, within the last three years?’ Even if you haven’t made a claim, it’s still classed as an incident.

If you’re not at fault for an incident and we recover all the money back from the third party insurers, your No Claims Bonus is not affected. However, you still need to declare this to any future insurers.

“Liability takes no more than 90 days to settle.”

All claims are different and finding out who’s to blame for an incident is not always straightforward. While we want to get liability and the claim settled as soon as possible, it’s not always possible to do this in 90 days.

The 90-day timescale comes from ‘old school’ injury claims and is no longer applicable. When it comes to claims, it’s impossible to pinpoint a deadline - we could be waiting for more evidence to come in or for various other companies to contact us.

So while the timescale is a grey area, rest assured we will endeavour to make the claims process as quick and smooth as possible.

“I want to claim from the other party's insurance so won’t have to tell my insurer.”

You’re involved in an incident that wasn’t your fault, the third party admits this and their insurer is offering to deal with your damage and any other losses you may incur. The reason insurers do this is to keep costs down, which makes good sense and makes it easier for everyone involved.

While you are able to take advantage of this offer, you must tell your insurance company of any incident involving your car, even if you don’t make a claim.

It may seem a bit pernickety, but we need to know everything that goes on with your car so we have all the information to hand should a third party wish to make a claim against you.

“My No Claims Bonus will only be affected if an incident was my fault.”

The No Claims Bonus (NCB) has the potential to make your premium cheaper and it’s something a lot of people hold dear. When involved in an incident, there are many reasons why your NCB could be affected:

  • Liability is still ongoing
  • We haven’t made a full recovery from the third party’s insurer
  • We hold some fault for the incident
  • We cannot recover our losses from any other party

If your circumstances change after renewal and your NCB has been allowed, call customer services on 0333 220 2000 and one of our agents will be more than happy to recalculate your premium and see if a refund is applicable.

It’s a good idea to protect your NCB – you need to build up four years’ worth to do so.

“I'm not at fault and the third party says they’re not at fault either, so it's 50/50.”

You may have heard of ‘knock for knock’ due to the number of claims that settle 50/50. But while an insurer will know you’re not at fault, there may not be any proof so it becomes one word against the other.

There are some circumstances where a 50/50 settle is not always appropriate. Each case can be argued based on precedence set by similar claims that went to court. It’s not uncommon to settle a claim 70/30 or 90/10; it just depends on what happened and the available evidence.

So there we have it! A lot of hearsay regarding claims has hopefully been quashed. As always, if you have any questions whatsoever, please do not hesitate to contact our claims department on 0333 220 2033 - our claims experts will be happy to answer your questions.
 

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