Accident not my fault

Accident car cuts up motorcycle images

One of the most regular questions from members is this:

I have fully comprehensive insurance. I was involved in an accident which was the fault of another driver. My own insurance company paid for my repairs. When my policy was up for renewal my premium was increased.

That is exactly the result we would expect, and we will explain.Accident car and motorcycle

By law you must have third party insurance on a vehicle. Third party cover is for the damage you do through your own fault. You might then add to the cover by including fire and theft, and beyond that fully comprehensive insurance.

Fully comprehensive is not really fully comprehensive. All you are doing is insuring your vehicle and specified possessions in case they are damaged, regardless of fault. If you damage your own vehicle the insurer will pay to repair it, and if written off you will be paid the market value of the vehicle at that time. That is the market value at the time of the accident, and not the amount you insured it for.

Now when the damage to your vehicle is the fault of someone else our advice is to use YourKey and go direct to that person’s insurance company. Claiming on your own policy is possible, but your own insurer has no incentive to chase the insurance company of the person at fault. Some do, and some don’t. If your own insurance company has paid out money, and got nothing back, your insurance will increase in price next year, and your claims record will be spoiled. You made a claim, and fault is not taken into account.

Our advice, where another driver caused the accident, is to recover direct from the person to blame, and their insurer. The benefit is that you leave your own insurance record intact. We will inform your own insurer, and certainly you must include details of the accident when you renew your insurance, but if they have not paid a claim your premium should not go up at renewal.

How to recover your losses.

If you need repairs or a replacement vehicle YourKey will handle that for you. If someone else is to blame we will recover the cost of these services direct from that person’s insurance company.

If you were injured in the accident the YourKey scheme will arrange a solicitor for you to act under your legal expenses insurance policy we gave you. That means you do not have to worry about legal fees, and you will receive 100% of your compensation. If your vehicle is damaged or you need a hire replacement, let us arrange that for you. We will arrange credit hire or credit repair which is available if it can be shown someone else is to blame. The cost will be recovered direct from that person’s insurance company, and you will not be out of pocket, with your insurance claims record intact.

The difficulty is when you have no injury, and your losses are small. The YourKey policy is for personal injuries caused by accidents. Without injury, and where we do not arrange repair and a replacement vehicle, the position can be difficult. This is because with losses below £5,000, legal costs cannot be recovered. You would not use a solicitor in such a case, as the costs would wipe out the value of the case.

The answer, and one which has worked for other members, is this:

1.       Make sure you have details of the person who is at fault, their insurance company and policy number.

2.       Write to that person, and send a copy to their insurance company.

3.       If you do not have insurance details remind the other person they must supply their own name and address, and details of their insurance cover.

4.       Your letter sets out what happened, why you hold the other person to blame, and the losses you have incurred. Always write, the alternative being the frustration of the call centre. You will be bounced from one person to the next. There is no advantage to them in dealing with your claim quickly, as they have many other cases on the go, and you have to make yours a priority. There are exceptions, but the feedback from our members is frustration.

For more help on bringing what is called a small claim please click here.