Let me start from the beginning. On 2nd May another car hit the side of our car. Just Graham and the Little Man were in the car at the time. Then we sent our car off thinking it was our insurance company when it actually wasn’t.
Graham came home and was a little shaken but they were only hurt a little, mostly whiplash. Graham got out the paperwork for the car and called the insurance company to report the accident.
Two Days later our car was picked up and we were given a courtesy car to use while it was being fixed. It all seemed very normal just like when we had our last accident a few years ago.
Then we had a letter from our car insurance asking us to ring us because we had not reported having had an accident.
My first impression was that I was stunned. If we had not contacted our insurance company then who had our car and who was paying for our courtesy car? I called straight away and it took nearly 30 mins on hold to get through.
A Big Mistake
First let me give you a little advice. When you are making a claim on your car insurance and reporting an accident then use the telephone number on your documents. Do not do what Graham did and Google the insurers then call the first number that comes up. Graham did not contact our car insurers but a private claim company. They took our details and got to work immediately. They should have told Graham that they were not our actual insurance company during that first phone call, and I’ve requested a recording of it to make sure. But Graham was quite shook up so he may have missed that part. According to our actual insurance companies they said it pretty quick along a lot of other stuff and people do not realise what they are agreeing too. Sneaky!
I was so worried that we would be in trouble because we have a Motability Car and it doesn’t actually belong to us, it’s kind of like a 3 year hire where I give up my mobility benefit to pay for it. Then after 3 years we have to give it back. (And if we qualify we can get a new car.) The Insurance is provided with the car and we do not have to pay the premiums. But we do sign an agreement to report to our insurers in the event of an accident or damage to the car.
The Motability insurers were really kind and told me I was not in any kind of trouble. The other person had admitted responsibility for the accident and his insurance company were paying for our car to be fixed. This means we do not have to pay anything and the car will be fixed.
The problem is, this company that we have contracted to carry out our claim will try to get as much money as possible out of the other parties insurance company and then take a big chunk for themselves (25%) This could drag the case out for much longer than if we had gone with our usual insurance company.
When we had a nasty crash in our old car it took over three months to fix and we had a courtesy car for all of that time. There is a fixed amount of time you can have a courtesy car before they start charging you and we went over this time, but because we have a Motability car they picked up this bill for us. They won’t do this for us if it happens again.
It just all feels a bit scary that our car is not in the hands of our insurers and that we handed it over without being totally aware it was. We do have digital documents which outline everything and reading through them is pretty scary, the fees are humongous. Hopefully, we should not have to pay them as they will get them from the other parties insurance, but if anything goes wrong then we are in big trouble.
Tips So You Don’t make the Same Mistake
Things are okay at the moment but I’ll keep you updated, please keep your fingers crossed that this goes well. It’s such a huge worry hanging over us. So, here are a few tips to help you not make the same mistake as us.
- After an accident make sure you feel calm before making your call to your insurance company. It’s a stressful time but you need to have your wits about you
- DO NOT Google your insurance companies claim number. Use the number on your documents, or at the very least visit your insurance companies actual website and find the number there. Googling brings up advertiser’s numbers and that’s obviously what Graham called.
- When speaking on the phone listen carefully to what you are being told. This is why you need to have your wits about you. They will talk quickly through the terms and conditions, but if they are not your insurance company they are required by law to make this clear.
- Read your paperwork carefully before signing it. When we’ve made claims in the past it’s all gone really smoothly, but we hadn’t realised we were not dealing with our insurance company so all those scary conditions could cause us real problems if we hit an issue with the other driver or his insurance company.
- You have 7 days to change your mind, but like I said, these companies work quickly and our car was taken within 2 days. We would then be liable for paying for the car being towed away, the garage storage fees and the cost of the courtesy car had we cancelled after 2 days! We didn’t even find out we were not using our insurance company until 17 days later.
- May I just re-iterate the most important point…make sure you are calling your actual insurance company!
I had absolutely no idea you could claim for a car accident without having car insurance with the company. I know that you are required by law to have car insurance but it does seem strange that you don’t actually need to use it. I guess if I was paying the premiums I’d be even more stressed out because car insurance is not cheap and we’d have paid that money for nothing.
I’m not concerned about the amount of compensation that Graham and The Little Man receive for this accident, but we do know that whatever they are awarded they will have to pay some of it to the alternative insurance company whereas our own company would not charge us at all.
I am still worried that we are going to end up having to pay along the line for this silly mistake. That’s why I’m sharing my story.