Car Insurance Claims: Is There a Limit?
Motor vehicle accidents happen. When they occur due to another driver’s negligence, the victim who suffers injuries and damages deserves compensation. Otherwise, they risk losses in terms of repairs to the car and medical expenses. What saves drivers from such losses is car insurance.
Unfortunately, unless you are a lawyer or an insurance expert, most drivers are unaware of the legalities surrounding insurance claims and what they should expect, so we have gathered for you some useful information on insurance limits.
For starters, the UK law requires you to have third party insurance as minimum coverage.
All car insurance policies have limits determining the maximum amount of money a policy provider will pay if the policyholder has an accident. Usually, a policy has several coverages. Each of them has a set amount the insurer is likely to pay in case of an accident. For example, your car insurance policy may have third-party coverage, and you decide to add third-party fire and theft or comprehensive coverage. These coverages will all have separate limits.
The limit in your insurance policy will determine the premium you pay. The higher your limit, the higher the premium.
Car insurance time limits
After an accident, you need your vehicle fixed or replaced as soon as possible. Therefore most motorists want to know, “how long does a claim on car insurance take?”
Well, insurance policies have clauses that determine how long after an accident you can make a claim. Every driver should note these limits when applying for coverage to ensure you don’t file a late claim.
It is recommended that you notify the insurers of a claim within the time limit specified in the policy; otherwise, the claim may be denied.
Insurers also have a time limit within which to settle any valid claims. If you give them details of the accident, any losses incurred, and evidence, it will help them settle the claim quickly.
It’s essential to note that the type of claim may determine how soon the insurer settles it. For example, personal injury claims can take a long time either because people involved in the accident need time to heal or the medical assessment takes longer than expected.
In cases of a write-off, insurance providers settle claims based on the vehicle’s worth at the time of the accident. It may take at least thirty days for the claim to go through, depending on whether you accept their settlement offer.
Delay of car insurance claims
Sometimes insurance companies delay the payment of claims. Although it is unfair to the driver, there may be some valid reasons for this.
Your insurance company can take longer than required to process your claim if you do not inform them of your accident as soon as possible. For example, if you only notify the police but do not notify them right after, that could cause a delay. In some cases, insurers even invalidate such claims.
Therefore, it is recommended that you report an accident to your insurance company within 24 hours of it occurring. Some insurance companies give an allowance of up to a few weeks. It is up to you to find out what the insurer’s time limits are and adhere to them.
If, after reporting the accident, you don’t follow the instructions of the insurer, such as going for a vehicle evaluation, your claim may also be delayed. If you have a dispute with them about the coverage, that can delay the process of validating your claim further.
How to process your insurance claim quickly
Suppose you want your claim to be processed promptly. In that case, you must comply with the requirements given by the insurance company. The sooner you file a claim, the sooner you will get reimbursed. Registering your claim soon after the motor vehicle accident means the insurance company will investigate the accident and confirm details quickly.
In case of damage to your car, your insurer will recommend a garage where you can get it repaired at their cost. The faster you get it to the garage and get it fixed, the quicker your claim will be processed. However, you must keep to recommended garages and avoid making your own choice; otherwise, they will void your claim.
After the accident, you should stop, check for injuries and damages, and if anyone is hurt, call emergency services. You are also expected to get the contacts of the affected parties and details of the vehicles involved, including their insurance information. Contact information of witnesses to the accident will also help you file your claim faster.
Remember, you should not leave without getting evidence of the crash, which will help you make a claim. Details like the date and time, injuries that people in the accident suffered, pictures of the cars, and the list of damages to it will help.
Dispute of claims
Sometimes, insurers and policyholders have disputes concerning claims. If you have a dispute about a claim, you can hire a car accident lawyer and take the matter to court. You could also resolve the issue in arbitration, if there is an arbitration clause in the contract.
The courts generally require the parties in an insurance dispute to attempt mediation before taking the case to court. It is recommended that any litigation against the insurer be done within 6 years; otherwise, you cannot file the insurance dispute once the limitation period has passed.
If you file a claim and the insurer delays payment, you can take the matter to court too. According to the Enterprise Act, 2016, section 13A, an insurer is expected to settle a claim within a reasonable time.
In case an insurer breaches the terms of the policy by making late payments, an insured person should file a lawsuit against them within a year.
Filing a lawsuit
If your accident leads to a court case, you need enough time to file the suit. For example, if your accident leads to damages that exceed your personal injury insurance policy, the remaining amount has to be rewarded to you in a personal injury lawsuit.
Damages in excess of at-fault-party insurance policy limits can be accessed through a suit. If the defendant has any property, you can place a lien on, or garnish their wages. If you wait too long, you may miss the deadline set to file your lawsuit.
Insurance limits in terms of time and compensation can all be determined by understanding your policy agreement from the start. If you feel your policy agreement is hard to understand, it’s best to get advice from an experienced lawyer before you sign up and start paying premiums.
Author: Vivian Thomson