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Car insurance claims. Car accident insurance claims.

Car insurance claims

You may need to file a claim under your auto insurance policy to get your vehicle repaired if you are involved in an accident.

This guide to car insurance claims will examine non-fault claims and what to consider before your vehicle is repaired.

  • What is a non-fault claim?
  • Car insurance claims not my fault
  • Paying excess not my fault
  • How long do car insurance claims take
  • How to prevent delays when you file a claim
  • Car accident insurance claims
  • Car insurance claims FAQs

To learn more about the types of claims in insurance, see our guide, Claims In Insurance.

What is a non-fault claim?

A non-fault car insurance claim is one you should file when you are not to blame for the accident. In this case, your insurer can recover the total cost of the claim from the person at-fault (or the liable party).

A non-fault claim is essentially the opposite of an at-fault claim, where the person to blame is liable for any damage. However, there are cases that a claim could be classified as an at-fault claim even if it wasn’t your fault.

For example, if someone hits your car and flees the scene or an animal runs into the road. When there is no third party to claim against, you become liable.

Car insurance claims not my fault

If the car accident wasn’t your fault, you could use a credit hire company instead of filing a claim with your insurance company.

The credit hire company will pay for the cost of a hire vehicle while yours is being repaired, and they can pay for the repairs.

The credit hire company then claims these expenses from the at-fault driver’s insurance company.

Paying excess not my fault

If you pay the excess for a car accident that isn’t your fault, you can claim the costs back from the at-fault driver’s insurance company once the claim is settled. You can also take them to court if you have trouble getting your money back.

If your insurance company deals with the claim, they should claim the excess back for you.

How long do car insurance claims take

It takes a team to handle the process of car insurance claims. Claims are not dependent on a single party.

While there is no one-size-fits-all answer to how long a car insurance claim takes to settle, a standard process is involved.

The claim process involves answering questions, gathering evidence, a claims adjuster reviewing the claim, working with the auto repair shop, the insurance company, and more.

Generally, how long an insurance claim process takes depends on the details of the claim.

On average, an insurance company pays for a claim in approximately 30 days. However, that timeframe can vary depending on several factors.

It can take a few days or weeks to several months to settle an insurance claim for a car accident. Claims that involve complex damages and injuries can take months to settle or even years.

The timing of the claim settlement involves the following determining factors.

  • Local laws
  • The insurance company
  • How quickly you filed the claim
  • Whether lawyers are involved
  • The severity of the damage and injuries

Generally, personal injury claims take longer to resolve than property damage claims.

The payment process also takes an unspecified amount of time. You may receive separate payments for each type of coverage that applies to your claim.

For instance, you may receive a payout from your rental or hire car reimbursement coverage before you receive the settlement from an injury liability claim.

Bottom line

As many people are involved in settling a car insurance claim, it can be a long process.

Claims can be settled quickly if the damages are straightforward, easy to value, involve only property (vehicle damage), and the person at fault is clear.

A claims process can be disrupted for various reasons. Use the following tips to prevent delays when filing car accident insurance claims.

How to prevent delays when you file a claim

It can be stressful to deal with a delayed claim. Here are several ways to prevent delays.

  • Gather as much evidence and information as possible. Have all of your information ready so the insurance company has everything prepared to process your claim.
  • Know how long claims usually take where you live. Know the local laws to know if you need to ask for legal help if your insurer isn’t processing your claim.
  • Settling claims can take time, but if your insurer isn’t forthcoming, you can ask them for an update by contacting them first.

You can do a few things to speed up the claims process if it’s taking months.

  • Digitize copies of reports and evidence you receive for potential use.
  • Keep a detailed log of every interaction with the insurer and the next steps you will take.
  • Respond to requests and complete the necessary paperwork as soon as you receive it.
  • Be honest with your insurance company; they can find out if you lie, which will slow down the process.

Working with a reliable insurance company will avoid claim delays.

Car accident insurance claims

There are reasons you might want to avoid filing an insurance claim.

You should file a claim if there’s any doubt about who was responsible for the accident and if your insurance policy states that you must notify them no matter the circumstances.

However, you might not need to file a claim if the accident only involves your vehicle and there’s no damage to anyone else’s property or person.

Instead, you can get a repair estimate if the damage is minor. You might be able to afford to pay for the repairs and not take a hit on your insurance rates.

Key takeaways

Auto insurance claims typically take about 30 days to resolve.

Injury claims usually take longer to settle than property damage claims.

The duration to resolve a claim depends on numerous factors, including the type of claim.

Resolving complex damage and injury claims can sometimes take several months or more.

Claims can be settled quickly if the details of the case and damages are straightforward.

Car insurance claims FAQs

Here are some more frequently asked questions about auto insurance claims.

Do I need to file a non-fault claim?

You must declare any accident you’re involved in, regardless of who was at fault.

Most insurers have policy clauses requiring you to inform them about any vehicle accidents you’ve been involved in, typically those in the past five years.

Failure to report something could invalidate your policy. If your insurer finds out, they will classify this as non-disclosure.

How does a non-fault claim affect your premium?

Your insurance premiums might rise after declaring a non-fault claim. Your provider might determine that the likelihood of another claim is higher, even though this claim wasn’t your fault.

For instance, your insurer might determine that your parking space is risky if your car was parked when it got struck by another vehicle.

How do you know who is at fault?

Insurance providers must determine who is responsible for the relevant costs during the claims process. They need to determine if the accident is a non-fault or an at-fault claim.

The insurance company will use the following as evidence to determine who was at fault.

  • Speed camera, CCTV, and dashcam footage.
  • Eye-witness statements, police, and medical reports.
  • Photographic evidence (take photos as evidence as soon as you can).

You should think twice about apologizing if you’re involved in an accident, as that could be seen as an admission of guilt and used against you.

Once they have the necessary documents, the insurance providers will decide who was at fault. You can contest the decision by writing to them if you disagree.

You can file a complaint to the ​Financial Ombudsman if you don’t get the desired results.

Why do some insurers take so long to pay out?

Insurance companies take a long time to pay out for several reasons. In summary:

  • The insurer has to determine who was a fault.
  • The severity of the damages and injuries can cause delays.
  • Negotiations between who was affected, lawyers, and the car insurance companies can take time.

In addition, small insurance companies might take longer to process a claim with only one adjuster. Larger insurance companies have bigger teams to settle claims.

What happens if someone claims against my car insurance?

Making a car insurance claim will likely increase your premium, no matter who was at fault.

A claim that isn’t your fault won’t affect your premium as much as an at-fault claim.

What is the time limit for insurance claim settlements?

Insurance companies usually have approximately one month to investigate your claim. According to law, claims must be processed without unnecessary delays.

Do I pay an excess if I hit another car?

You only pay a car insurance excess when you file a claim under your own policy.

You don’t pay an excess if you file a claim on someone else’s policy or if someone else (a third party) files a claim on your insurance.

Do I lose my no-claims bonus if I make a claim?

If you file a claim on your own car insurance, you will likely lose your no-claims bonus even if you are not found at fault for the accident.

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