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Car insurance traps to avoid


You might know everything there is to know about your car but are you au fait with the finer details of your insurance policy?

There are some traps you’d only really know if you had been in those situations before. You might also spot them if you read the T&Cs thoroughly, which, let’s be honest is not anyone’s favourite bedtime reading.

Hindsight is a beautiful thing but we can help you clue up before it comes to it!

Let’s clear a few things up…

Non-fault accidents – how do they affect your premium?

Some insurers’ data shows that drivers who were in an accident that wasn’t their fault are more likely to be in an accident again that is their fault in the next few years.

That’s why if you’re in a non-fault accident, your car insurance premium might rise at renewal.

What if you claim from the other person’s insurance though?

You're still likely to see a rise when renewal comes up. "But that's unfair!" we hear you cry.
That's how it works - it's all based on years' worth of statistics, and the figures don't lie.

What if you just don’t report it?

You have to report any accident to your insurer - it’s all in the small print. If you don’t and your insurer finds out, they might cancel your policy or refuse to pay if you make a claim.

That’s why it’s best to look for a cheaper deal when your renewal comes up, as prices are more likely to be higher this time round.

So what do you do if you want to claim on another driver’s insurance?

In some cases, making a claim on the other driver's insurance, which is known as a third-party claim, will be straightforward. For example, if another driver has hit you from the rear, it’s generally considered to be non-contestable.

But if you think it’s not your fault but it’s not immediately obvious, there’re a few things you can do to help back-up your claim.

  • Swap details with the other driver.
  • Take pictures of the damage to both cars and the surroundings. Do this before the cars are moved.
  • Take down names, addresses and phone numbers of any witnesses. The insurance company might need to contact them if there’re any questions over who’s liable for the accident.

Read how to make a car insurance claim.

What about a courtesy car?

Courtesy cars are generally included with comprehensive insurance policies. If you’re in an accident but your car is repairable, you might get a courtesy car to tide you over until your car’s fixed.

Courtesy car entitlement is often down to you taking your car to a garage that’s been approved by your insurer. If you take your car elsewhere for repairs you may not get a courtesy car at all.

This will be covered in the T&Cs of your car insurance policy so do read it, especially the small print -  but maybe not at bed time.

But, wait!

If the insurer thinks your car’s a write-off, you might not get a courtesy car. In fact, you’ll be without a car altogether unless your policy has hire car cover. This isn’t normally included with comprehensive policies. It’s usually an add-on.

How quickly will you get the payout?

It can take a few weeks from your car being written off to getting the payout from the insurance company.  If you absolutely cannot live without a car in the meantime, you might want to consider adding on hire car cover to your insurance policy.

image source: Kenny Louie

Originally published in June 2012

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Lia Schopmeyer

Lia Schopmeyer, Digital marketing executive at

Lia Schopmeyer is a digital marketing executive at and a sci-fi aficionado. If she’s not busy defending the many plot holes in Lost, she’s probably re-watching Fringe.

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