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Accident insurance claims aren't as easily approved as most people think. From point of contact to getting your car back on the road, here are five common mistakes you shouldn't make throughout the claiming process.

Category: Car Ownership Advice

Getting into a car accident is an unfortunate part and parcel of being on the road. Like it or not, it can happen to anyone, on a daily basis. And it's not always a simple case of proving your innocence and successfully getting your car repaired without forking out a cent.

As such, it's important to know what to do and more importantly what not to do in the event of one, so that lesser problems will arise throughout the insurance claiming process. In order not to become a victim of the system, here are five mistakes to avoid when the need arises for you to make an accident insurance claim.

1. Moving the vehicles involved before documenting the scene

Moving your car before the accident is documented gives insurance companies a chance to dispute your claim

Unless your car needs to be moved to the road shoulder for safety reasons, take all necessary photos (accident area, traffic conditions, angle of impact, license plates, visible damages and drivers' particulars) before moving your car.

You wouldn't want to risk giving the insurance companies involved a chance to dispute your claim and having to pay for all damages, would you?

2. Determining fault

Equipping your car with an in-car camera is a good way of capturing your innocence

It's normal for the parties involved in an accident to try pushing the blame to one other. And don't be surprised that even after accepting fault at the scene, the other party may change his or her story after speaking to his or her auto insurance agent.

This is why it's important to properly document the accident scene, in almost every possible way. Apart from photos, witness statements can be crucial. If you or your passenger can take down eye-witness accounts, that helps.

Turn on the video or voice recorder on your phone and record what happened, get names and phone numbers, and so on. If not, get a written and signed admission.
3. Failing to act fast

The longer it takes for you to alert your insurance company to get the ball rolling, the harder it is for you. Don't spend days texting the other party before deciding to make an insurance claim.

The accident should be reported to your insurance company within 24 hours, or by the next working day. Should you fail to do so, you will not be covered, and your insurer will have the right to reject your claim. You will also lose your NCD when renewing your policy.

You should also make a police report when the accident involves a Government vehicle, damage to Government property, a foreign vehicle, a pedestrian or cyclist, a hit-and-run case, or an injury requiring hospitalisation or medical leave.

4. Unauthorised tow trucks and workshops

Be sure to check your insurance policy as not all workshops are approved by your insurer

Unless you've paid a higher insurance premium to get your car repaired at a workshop of your choice, avoid the offers of unauthorised tow truck operators and workshops. Accepting their help may complicate your claim against the other party.

It's crucial to seek the advice of your insurer at their hotline before discussing with the tow truck operator present at the scene and sending your car to a repair workshop. If you smell something fishy or if you don't understand something, talk to your insurer again.

5. Delayed settlements

Don't be afraid to sit down with your insurer to fully understand the claiming process and timeline

Don't assume everything is running smoothly once the claim goes through. You are entitled to know what's going on and check the status of your case, maybe not 14 times a day, but you get the idea.

A delay may simply be that the car insurance company is waiting to receive a missing document from you or to hear from you. It doesn't hurt to ask if there is anything you can do to speed up the process.

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