What To Do With A Car That’s Been Involved In An Accident

Posted on March 11, 2013 ยท Posted in Insurance Guides

If you’ve been involved in a car accident, there are a few steps you should carry out in order to make the process of claiming on your insurance more straightforward, and to fix your vehicle legally. It can be difficult to know what to do with your car after it has been in an accident, and what channels to go through in terms of getting it repaired. Here are our guidelines:

At the scene of the collision
Firstly, you need to detail the immediate aftermath of the motor accident. It’s a good idea to keep a “just in case” kit in your car; in this there should be a disposable camera, a copy of your insurance details, a pen, some paper, and a torch. That way, should you be involved in a collision you can take photographs of both vehicles and the road at the scene, and you can take down the other driver’s details accurately and do a quick sketch of the road, even if it is dark. This can come in handy later on. If you are concerned that the other driver has been drinking, if anyone is badly hurt, or a vehicle needs recovering, you should at this point call the police.
Contacting your insurance
Whether the cars involved in the collision were badly damaged, or if it’s merely cosmetic, it’s still important to call your insurance company. If you would rather protect your no-claims bonus then it’s still worth going through insurance in case of any liability claims later on. You can always reimburse the insurance company, which allows you to keep your no-claims bonus.

If your car is badly damaged and needs to be repaired, you will usually receive a courtesy car of a comparable style and size. Your insurance company will usually organise the repair for you. Alternatively, if they allow you to choose your own garage then make sure you pick one who is reliable and honest.

It’s down to the insurance companies of both parties to discover who was at fault with the collision. They will likely ask you to provide a sketch of what happened, and they will often want to see either photographs of your car, or visit to take a look at it themselves.

You may also want to contact a personal injury solicitor if you suffered any complications from the accident. In fact, it is important that you see a doctor after being involved in any traffic collision, as you may be unaware of underlying damage, which may require medical treatment.

If only minor repairs are needed
Your insurance company will usually pay the garage that carries out your repair, and the company who provides your courtesy car, directly – so it’s nice and simple. You’ll usually have your car back and in full working condition within a few days.

If it’s a write-off
If the cost of a repair to your vehicle is greater than the value of it, the insurance company may choose to write it off; this is also called a repairable write-off. Alternatively, it may be the case that your car is too badly damaged for a full repair to make it road worthy and safe. This is known as a statutory write-off. There are four different categories of write-offs, each with a different level of damage. These are:

Category A – The car is too badly damaged for it be made safe. It must be scrapped and no parts may be taken from it.

Category B – The car is too badly damaged to repair safely and should be scrapped. However, certain parts may be used from it.

Category C – Usually used for older cars that are damaged but repairable, yet not financially viable to repair.

Category D – The vehicle is repairable and it would be economical to do so, but the insurance company has made the decision not to carry out a repair. This could be due to excessive storage or recovery costs or difficulty getting parts, for example.

Many people choose to get category C or D write-offs repaired themselves, but do consider the difference in value your car would then have. It’s only worth considering if you intend to continue using your car for a long period of time and do not intend to sell it.

Written by James Sheehan, a blogger with experience as a paralegal.