Being involved in a car accident is always a shock and can be quite upsetting, but having the right insurance can make the whole process much easier and save you added stress and worry.

Immediately after the accident

You must stop the car. Do not apologise or admit fault and take the name, address and registration details of anyone else involved. It’s also worth writing down descriptions of the cars and drivers at the scene and taking photos of any damage.

If anyone is injured call an ambulance and also contact the police to explain what has happened, especially if the vehicle could cause a further accident.

Get the paperwork underway

It’s important to call your insurance company as soon as possible to let them know that you’ve had an accident. Most insurers have a 24 hour emergency helpline you can call if you have an accident.

John Lewis 24 hour claims helpline.

Confirm your details, and give as many details as possible about your claim including:

The registration numbers of all vehicles involved in the accident

Name, address and phone number of third parties involved and witnesses

Police officer’s details and police report

Photographs of the accident and damage to any of the vehicles involved.

What happens next with your car

If your car is repairable then the insurer will usually use one of their own suppliers. If you wish to use your own garage or repair centre then you will need to send your insurer several estimates so that they can choose which to use.

If an approved repairer is being used, you may also be entitled to the use of a courtesy car until yours is fixed, which means that your life can continue as normal (available as standard with Car Insurance from John Lewis Finance).

Once the repair work is carried out, the garage will invoice the insurance company. Any repairs carried out by an approved supplier are guaranteed as long as you still own the car. You will need to pay any excess to the repairer on completion of the work. 

If your car is beyond economical repair, or a write off, then your insurer will offer you a settlement based on the current market value of the car, minus any necessary deductions, such as outstanding payments.

We will offer you a settlement as quickly as possible after receiving your documentation, which includes the vehicle registration document (V5) and the current MOT certificate. Once you have accepted your insurer’s settlement, they will own your car. Any excess will be deducted from the settlement.

If your car is a write off, with a fault claim Car Insurance from John Lewis Finance will provide you with a replacement vehicle for up to 30 days as standard.

Avoiding accidents in the future

The trouble with driving is that you can be as conscientious as possible, but other drivers can still cause you problems.

A few things that are in your control:

Make sure that your car is in good working order, have the brakes tested regularly and ensure that everything under the bonnet is topped up.

Always wear a seat belt and insist that passengers do as well. If you have children, check that their car or booster seat is a high-quality one that will protect them against sudden impact.

Take frequent breaks from driving, as roads – especially motorways – can be repetitive and your eyes can get tired easily. Avoid driving if you’re tired or feeling unwell as your concentration will be lowered and you may not react as quickly as normal.

John Lewis Finance is a trading name of John Lewis plc. John Lewis plc is an appointed representative (Financial Services Register No. 416011) of Covea Insurance plc. Registered in England No. 233462. Registered office 171 Victoria Street, London, SW1E 5NN.

Car Insurance arranged by John Lewis Finance is underwritten by Covea Insurance plc. Covea Insurance plc is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority (Financial Services Register No. 202277). Registered in England and Wales No. 613259. Registered office Norman Place, Reading, RG1 8DA.

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