Car insurance is the second most popular insurance among UK households. Care must be taken to determine the level of coverage you need, as well find ways to reduce the cost of this inevitable expenditure.
The Road Traffic Act of 1988 mandated that motorists must be insured unless they make a £500,000 deposit with the Accountant General of the Supreme Court against their liability for injuries to others and their property. Driving without car insurance on the public highway or public place is an illegal offence which may be punishable by fines and disqualification from driving.
There are three types of car insurance policies available, each with increasing levels of coverage. Before deciding on a specific policy, you should not only take into account your past and present driving needs, but also your future requirements. The available policies are:
Third party only
This type of insurance is the minimum coverage a motorist can have. Third party car insurance, as the name suggests, only covers damage done to another person or their property in an accident. It does not cover any damage or injury to you or your car.
Third party fire and theft
This type of coverage includes third party coverage, but also covers property stolen, damaged, or destroyed by fire.
Comprehensive coverage extends third party and fire and theft insurance to damage to your own car if it is involved in an accident.
Even though two drivers may have the same type of car insurance, the coverage their policy affords them may vary considerably. When selecting a policy, you should always plan for the worst and make sure your policy has broad coverage. Without sufficient coverage, you may face liabilities that you are unable to afford. Available components include:
We all know expensive car repairs can be. If the insurer does not cover the cost, your wallet may take a beating. Fortunately, as long as you are aware of the common exclusions many car insurers providers use, you should not run into any problems during the claims process. These exclusions include:
This is just a list of common exclusions and is by no means comprehensive. You should always double-check with your policy provider, as many insurers often have their own exclusions that you may not be aware of.
Claiming on your car insurance policy is a very delicate process. If you are making a claim, you may be emotionally and physically compromised. Add to that the likelihood of having to deal with the police, and you arrive at a very stressful and volatile situation. Despite this, as long as follow a few simple strategies, the claims process should be manageable and ultimately successful.
During the accident or theft
The first step in a successful claims process begins with your actions immediately following the accident. As soon as the accident happens, regardless of the severity, you should always call the police. They will be able to corroborate any of your claims, should your claim ever be taken to court.
While you wait for the police to come, you should take down every possible detail about the accident or theft that you can think of. You might be surprised at how quickly you may forget important details that your insurer will surely ask you for.
After the accident or theft
It is imperative that you get into contact with your insurer as soon as possible to make a claim. Many providers have limits on how long they will honour a claim after the accident or theft has occurred. This will also ensure that you can convey the details to your insurer as comprehensively as possible, as they will be fresh in your mind.
At this stage, your insurer will ask you to complete a claim form, and ask you to enclose any supporting evidence you may possess. You should keep meticulous records of any forms you provide or receive, as well as any correspondence you have with your insurer. This will help you in the event of a claims dispute.
Don’t expect your insurer to process your claim overnight, these things can take time. During this waiting period, do not attempt to fix any damage to your car yourself, as this could invalidate any coverage your claim may provide.
If your claim is rejected and you believe your insurer acted unreasonably, you should send them a letter pleading your case. If they do not act on your request, you may have recourse with the Financial Ombudsmen Service, who has the legal power to force your insurer to provide you coverage.