Insurance: What to do in the event of car accident

If you have taken up insurance cover for your vehicle and have paid your premium, then don’t panic you can make claim when there is an accident.

However, no matter the level of damage either in your vehicle or the other peoples own, do not admit liability, but stick to the facts without expressing any opinion. The ascertaining of liability is a function of different circumstances. It is not your job to admit fault but is the job of the insurance investigators to gather all the necessary facts and evidence and then determine liability.

The process of pursuing the claims is important in determining whether or not you will be paid. So if there was an error in the process, that means, you have lost your cool pay to the insurance company whether for your car or a third party liability.

In Nigeria, like many other jurisdictions are two types of motor vehicle insurance. There is the motor third party insurance, which is compulsory for all vehicles plying the Nigerian road and so covers the third party liability resulting in damage or death; and the comprehensive motor insurance which is not compulsory, but offers higher protection against the insured vehicle as well as the third party damage or death.

While the third party sells for N5, 000 for cars with maximum claims up to N1 million for property damage or medical and an endless life value, comprehensive is determined by the insurer and the insured. “If you have comprehensive insurance, this is a more elaborate motor policy. The insurance company here would have incorporated in the policy the value for third party insurance, and therefore covers you against damages on your car or loss as result of stealing and at the same time takes care of third party damages.”

Sometimes, filing an insurance claim and handling insurance adjusters can be quite challenging so experts have identified a number of steps that can be taken and here are some of them.

• First, contact your insurance company, broker or the agent as soon as the accident happens unless you have some serious injuries that would require you going for medical first.

• Secondly, having studied your policy and understand details of it, get as many information as possible concerning the accident among which are important includes photograph of the scene, names of eye witnesses or police report where possible.

• Thirdly, ensure you cooperate with your insurance investigators, giving them every detail they require an if you have made some payments before their arrival or paid for repairs, do let them know of all these.

Owolabi Pius, an insurance Consultant describing comprehensive motor insurance said this is a more expensive policy because it takes care of the damages or replacement of your vehicles if it is stolen or when the accident is beyond repairs.

According to him, insurance companies has made things easier for customers, you need not fight at the scene of accident, refer the victim to your insurance company and within a few days the matter is sorted out without anybody getting offended.

However, if you have been involved in any kind of traffic accident, whether a car accident, truck accident, or motorcycle accident, you will inevitably have to deal with your insurance company as well as the insurance agents of others involved in the accident.

Many a times, people try to take laws into their hands, at first, not knowing what to do; whether or not there is insurance even to the level of motor third party insurance and if such insurance protect the vehicle owner or the victim.

Wale Onolapo, managing director, Sovereign Trust Insurance plc said may have lost lot their motor claims because they do not know they have claims.

He said if you have a genuine motor insurance, it is your right to make claim.

If what you have is the third party motor insurance, it then means that in the event of an accident with the vehicle, whether or not you are the one driving it, your insurance company will pay claims for damages to any third party who lost as result of the accident.

Onolapo said you do not need to quarrel or start fighting, refer the injured party to your insurance company who takes over the case and settles the claim.

Source: Businessday