Playing the car insurance claim game

Most people pay their insurance premiums and forget all about their policies until they have the misfortune to make a claim – it’s only then they realise they may not have the cover they thought they had.

This quick guide looks at some of the more common myths about insurance:

Claiming for an act of  God

Acts of God are a misunderstanding. Insurance firms do not include any specific exclusion due to an act of God. More likely, an insurer will reject a claim because the loss or damage is not covered by the policy.

If a claim is rejected, ask the insurer for details of the specific clause of your policy that covers the claim so you can read the terms and conditions.

Claim for more than your loss so you can negotiate a deal

Insurers do not negotiate claims. If your loss was £1,000, then claim for £1,000 and not a penny more. Inflating a claim is fraud and can lead to the rejection of you whole claim.

No claims are accepted for pet damage

If you open the front door and a dog runs in and knocks over a can of paint, then claim for accidental damage if your home insurance covers accidents. It doesn’t matter if the ‘dog’ is a small child, an adult or your own pet – an accident is an accident and the insurer will accept the claim.

Courtesy car was no pleasure to drive

If you drive a prestige car, unless your car insurance specifically states you can have a like-for-like courtesy car, you have to have what the insurer offers. Premier League footballer Darren Bent found this out to his cost when he upgraded from a plush Merc to an Aston Martin after he was involved in an accident – he had to pay the difference between the hire costs.

Cash or vouchers

Insurers will often offer vouchers for redemption at a store to replace damaged items rather than cash, unless the item to replace is a one-off. like a painting or customised jewellery. The principle is settling a claim puts the insured person back where they were and does not give them a financial gain.

The moral is check out the terms and conditions of your car insurance before signing up – finding out you are not covered for a claim when you have had an accident or lost a cherished memento is too late.

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