“Dealing with your car insurance company after an accident can be a challenge, even for the most calm of individual,” says Jeff Osborne, Automotive Head for Gumtree SA. But, “it is important to be methodical and meticulously record everything that happens”.
Osborne notes five simple steps to help you deal with an accident if it occurs.
1. Call the police so that they can come to the scene and take down an accident report or straight after the accident occurs, go to the nearest police station to report it. You will need the accident report number when logging your insurance claim.
2. Take down as much detail as possible, and if you can, take as many pictures as possible – both vehicles, the other driver’s license card and disc, and even their registration number. “This will increase your chances of a successful claim and may even get your excess back”, comments Osborne.
3. Be sure to contact your insurer timeously as failing do so may result in your insurance company rejecting your claim. “During this time, avoid making contact with the other driver – your insurer will manage that”, warns Osborne.
4. Once you have logged your claim, your insurer will issue you with an excess payment amount. This is payable to the panel beater or repair shop you’ve chosen. Osborne notes, “When it comes to repairs, never go ahead with them on your own; the insurance company will ask you to submit three quotes, which they then advise on, or will refer you to one of their approved panel beaters”.
5. Once a panel beater is chosen, make sure that your insurer is aware of when your car is taken in and when you’re meant to fetch it. This will help with reporting unsatisfactory work.
It’s best though to be prepared before an accident occurs. “Ensure that your vehicle is registered and licensed, you have your driver’s license on you at all times, you have your insurance information on hand, you have an emergency kit in your car, and most importantly that know the insurance claiming process”, concludes Osborne.