5 Must-Dos When You Want to File A Motor Insurance Claim
So the dreaded day has come: you’ve gotten into a car accident and now you have repairs to make and fees to pay. Luckily, you have motor insurance - now you just need to figure out how to file a claim. Too often, people make simple mistakes in the immediate aftermath of a car accident, and end up not being able to receive their payout because of tiny errors - we don't want that to happen to you. We've gathered the 5 most important must-dos when preparing to file a motor insurance claim, one of the most common claim types we receive. Read on to find out what they are.
1. Do not touch anything!
If you've just been in a car accident, it might be tempting to immediately try to fix whatever damage has been done or to drive your car away to a quieter spot. However, just like a crime scene, leaving things exactly as they are (barring, of course, a life-threatening or dangerous situation) will retain the best and most evidence to bolster your insurance claim. You might be wondering, how will moving my car closer to the kerb, or re-adjusting my side mirrors, make my claim weaker? However, there may be circumstantial evidence that could help you in unexpected ways, for example, in confirming the angle of crash impact, or whether the driver who hit you was driving in your blind spot at the time of the crash.
2. Take photographs of everything
It's important to document everything as accurately as possible, lest it devolve into a he-said, she-said situation later on. Even things as innocuous as tyre tracks on the road or the depth of the indent made in your car may help your case in the future. Of course, do remember to take detailed photos of the actual damage to the car itself.
If you or anyone with you was injured as well, take photos of that too, as by the time the claims are processed these injuries might have faded.
For Income motor insurance policyholders, do make use of our new Accident Reporting app, which allows you to both document everything onsite and then complete and submit your accident report from the comfort of your own home. Do take note not to use the Accident Reporting app in the following scenarios
- You have already left the accident scene
- You are not the driver at the point of accident
- Someone has been hurt or injured as a result of the accident
- Accident involves a government vehicle or property, foreign vehicle, pedestrian, cyclist; is a hit-and-run; or a result of vandalism or fire
All accident reports have to be filed within 24 hours of the accident. If you are hard pressed for time, Income’s Accident Reporting app will help save the time for travelling to a reporting centre, and you can complete the reporting in the comforts of your home.
3. Obtain contact information of all involved parties
Be sure to obtain relevant and accurate contact information of the other parties, and that means the other driver and anyone with him at the time too. For extra security, take down his driver's license and his car-plate number as well. For Income policyholders, the Accident Reporting app will guide you step by step through the accident-reporting process, indicating clearly which specific photos and details are required.
4. Be as clear and factual as possible
When filling up accident forms and informing the police or any insurance agents about the accident, remember to be as accurate as possible. Include all relevant information you think may help the investigation—omitted details may end up delaying the claims process. As a general rule of thumb: describe the accident in chronological order as it happened, even if you’re unsure if some facts will be useful. And most importantly, never lie!
5. Know your policy
Insurance policies have historically been hard for the layperson to understand, but, in the event that an accident does occur, you don't want to be caught in the headlights. To make things easier, Income’s policies have been overhauled into plain English, keeping in line with our commitment to honest insurance and putting our customers first (source).
When reading through a policy, here are some important things to take note of:
- What pre-existing conditions are there that may exclude coverage?
- What are the deadlines for submitting claims?
- What are the mandatory pieces of documentation needed for a successful claim?
Don't dally when reporting your claim! A very common mistake that policyholders make is not filing as soon as possible, and that can sometimes result in a smaller payout or an invalid claim.
You should report all motor accidents by the end of the next working day to avoid any reduction in your No Claim Discount.
Most own damage motor claims can be settled within 14 working days after all required documents are received, but other claims may take slightly longer depending on whether further clarification is needed. Theft claims may take up to 3 months as claims will only be paid out after police investigations have been completed.
Don't leave anything out - even if you think it's unnecessary
The key to filing insurance claims successfully is to retain as much documentation as possible. Anything could potentially be useful, and you shouldn't take it upon yourself to exclude information just because you can't see how it would help your case. Try to organize it before submitting your claim, either chronologically or according to who you were corresponding with, so that the claims department can paint a clearer picture of what's going on.
Of course, this article is not exhaustive; for more detailed information, do check out our step-by-step guides on filing motor claims.
This article is meant purely for informational purposes and should not be relied upon as financial advice. The precise terms, conditions and exclusions of any Income products mentioned are specified in their respective policy contracts. For customised advice to suit your specific needs, consult an Income insurance advisor.