As the government rolls out its roadmap for easing lockdown restrictions, life looks set to return to some form of normality. With more leisure and hospitality venues also re-opening, the volume of motorists returning to the roads is increasing, and more traffic can often mean more car accidents.
NFU Mutual predicts a minimum increase of 18% in road traffic accidents claims once lockdown lifts, based on data from last May 2020, which saw an increase of 22% in car accident claims when the previous summer lockdown was eased.1
Research by RAC suggests almost 12 million drivers are planning a trip in the UK, now that the ban on travel has been lifted. Motorists can now travel further afield and with the popularity for staycations in the UK increasing, this inevitably will result in more vehicles on the roads.2
Will car accident claims increase after lockdown?
Interestingly, a poll by Hyundai reported up to a fifth of drivers have expressed a feeling of apprehension coming out of lockdown at the thought of driving long distances again and had experienced a loss of confidence in their driving ability. The poll revealed 28% of motorists admitted to having stalled their car and making mistakes such as failing to indicate, resulting in near miss road collisions with other drivers.3
Usually if you've been involved in a car accident that wasn't your fault, you're entitled to make a claim for any damage repairs or loss through the third-party drivers insurance. However, since May 2021, the insurance industry has noticed a sharp increase in non-fault car accident claims. Many of these cases went unresolved or were cancelled by underwriters, after customers failed to collect the contact details of the third party driver at fault.
What to do in a car accident?
If you've been involved in a car accident, the first thing you should do is ensure the safety of all passengers. Pull over to the side of the road, only if it is safe to do so, stop the engine and turn on your hazard lights to alert other drivers. It is illegal to drive way from the scene of a road accident under Section 170 of the Road Traffic Act 1988. Failure to do so is punishable of a six month imprisonment and a fine.
Passengers should step away from the vehicles and stand safely behind crash barriers, unless injuries prevent it. In this case, call the emergency services and wait for an ambulance to arrive. Ideally, you should contact use the motorway SOS phone so that the authorities can locate the exact location of the incident.
If the collision has caused a road blockage, the Police will need to intervene to divert the flow of traffic. If you are on a motorway, pull over to the hard shoulder, only if it is safe. Never admit responsibility at the scene of the road accident, neither verbally or in writing, as this could be used against you when making your claim.
What to do after a car accident?
Once in a safe place, exchange the names, phone numbers, home address and any other details from the third party involved. Also make a note of the number of passengers in the other vehicle.
Collect as many details of the third-party’s vehicle including, the make, model, vehicle colour and registration number.
Use the camera on your mobile phone to take photographs from the scene of the car accident, including any tires marks on the road, or make a sketch to describe the direction of both vehicles at the time of the incident and any weather conditions that may have contributed to the car accident.
Where possible, collect the contact details and witness statements of anyone who saw the incident to be used as evidence by the claims team to determine which party was responsible for the car accident.
If the police request your insurance documents, either provide these at the scene or take them to the police station within seven days of the incident.
You should also report any other damage to third party property or other parked vehicles caused by the accident.
How to make a car accident claim?
Contact our helpful claims management team within 24 hours of the car accident, even if the accident wasn't your fault or you don't yet want to make a claim. (Failure to report an incident could later affect your insurance policy or invalidate your right to claim).
Have ready your current Certificate of Motor Insurance when calling your insurer.
It is important to provide as many details as possible to your claims handler so they can build a detailed case on your behalf and use supporting evidence from the scene, including any photographs, witness statements, CCTV and dashcam footage to ascertain the third-party driver accountable for the accident.
If you have sustained any injuries following your car accident requiring medical treatment, provide a copy of your medical documents to your claims handler and a letter from your employer verifying any loss of income.
Keep a record of your claim and log any conversations and communication with your provider.
What is a non-fault car accident claim?
An important thing to remember when it comes to car accident claims is that "fault" and "blame" doesn't always mean the same thing. A "non-fault" claim is when the customer is able to recover any costs of damage or loss from the third-party driver's insurer after being found to blame for the car accident. A "fault" claim is when the customer's own insurance company has had to pay out for damages, even when the customer wasn't to blame. For example, if someone hits your parked car and drives off without leaving you their details, your claim would be classed as a "fault" claim. This also applies if you have been hit by an uninsured driver but your insurance policy has cover for this kind of scenario.
Collect third party contact details
Collecting all details from the third party driver is essential to ensuring an insurance claim can be processed as swiftly and fairly as possible. You will also be issued with a same day courtesy car through your insurance policy. Another reason for collecting these details is that you may not be aware of what injuries you have sustained at the scene of the accident until sometime later, where you may require further medical treatment. In such a case, your claims handler will need to claim on your behalf against the third party drivers insurance to fairly cover any medical expenses or loss of earnings.
Car accident settlement
As soon as our claims team have assessed all the evidence, a decision will be finalised to ascertain who was to blame. If the third party is found to be liable, any damage to your vehicle or medical costs resulting from the car accident will be covered by the third party's insurance company. If your insurance company the insurer is unable to recover the money from the other driver’s insurance, you’ll be able to claim from your own provider, but you could lose your no claims bonus.
Hit by an uninsured driver?
Who will repair my vehicle?
Our claims management team will arrange for an inspection of your vehicle. We will recommend or find a reputable garage who will estimate the costs for the work involved to fix any damages. In some cases, the third-party driver's insurer may provide a car accident settlement, rather than pay out for repairs. This usually happens if the repair costs will be greater than the vehicle's market value.
Does my car insurance policy cover vehicle replacement?
In the case of a non-fault incident where a third party is deemed responsible, through your Brightside Insurance policy, our claims team can arrange a free courtesy car or van the same day, for a similar make and model, while your vehicle is being repaired.
Other vehicles at risk of a road accident
Road traffic accidents doesn't only apply to motorists. Since the start of the pandemic, more people have been using bikes as an alternative form of transport over crowded public transport. This has lead to an increase in motorcycle and bicycle accidents, with some cases resulting in a serious injury or fatality.4
The pandemic also placed greater pressure on HGV and courier van drivers who reported feeling tired behind the wheel, due to spending more hours on the roads to meet the increased demand in deliveries5. Road safety charity RoSPA, estimates driver fatigue may be a contributory factor in 20% of road accidents with around 50% of crashes often resulting in death or serious injury.6
It remains to be seen how much more car accident insurance claims will increase as restrictions are eased. Therefore, we advise you to be extra cautious and remain vigilant when you go back on the road and to re-familiarise with your insurance guide or keep it handy in your vehicle glove box as a reference in the case of an accident.
Contact the claims team
For more information or to make a claim visit www.brightsideinsurance.co.uk/make-a-claim
1NFU Mutual predicts motor claims surge as lockdown eases - https://www.insurancetimes.co.uk/news/nfu-mutual-predicts-motor-claims-surge-as-lockdown-eases/1437054.article
2 Bank holiday traffic expected as 11m plan UK getaways - https://uk.motor1.com/news/509681/late-may-bank-holiday-traffic
3 Motorists struggle being back behind the wheel again after lockdown - https://www1.hyundai.news/uk/brand/motorists-struggle-being-back-behind-the-wheel-again-after-lockdown/
4 Surge in fatal cycling accidents during pandemic in UK - https://www.boyesturnerclaims.com/news/surge-fatal-cycling-accidents-during-pandemic-uk
5 Why temporary relaxation of lorry drivers must not mean ignoring driver health and wellbeing - https://empactis.com/hgv-driver-health-and-wellbeing-relaxation/
6 - RoSPA Driver Fatigue and Road Accidents Factsheet - https://www.rospa.com/media/documents/road-safety/driver-fatigue-factsheet.pdf