The majority of car accidents cause very little injury. It could be something as dumb as hitting a stationary car in a car park or misjudging a curb. Whatever the incident, the bulk of the damage is often in the cost of repairs. If you’ve recently found yourself having to pay a trip to the mechanics, here are some ways to dampen the blow to your bank account.
Make an insurance claim
Before making any repairs, the first thing you should do is check to see if your insurance will cover it. Most of us are only insured against third party, which means the accident has to be the fault of someone else. This could include someone bumping us from behind at a set of lights, or someone accidentally scraping past you in a car park. Other insurance schemes will protect you against first-party damage, theft, fire and vandalism. Notify your insurer immediately, even if you’re not making a claim straight away, and then gather evidence. This generally involves photographing the damage or getting a statement by a witness. Some companies will require you to make a claim within 48 hours – so get on it straight away. Wait until your claim has been approved before seeking any repairs (although you can ask mechanics for a quote in the meantime to give to your insurance company to ensure they pay up the right amount).
Personal injury claim
On top of an insurance claim, you may be eligible for one or more personal injury claims. If another driver has given you whiplash or severe injury, you may be able to get compensation for this. Similarly, you may be a passenger in a vehicle such as taxi or bus that is involved in a crash – if they were driving recklessly feel free to sue. Even if you were the driver and no other vehicles were involved, there could still be circumstances where you could make a claim such as an unsignposted obstacle in the road or faulty traffic lights.
Replace or repair?
If you’re not eligible for insurance or any kind of compensation, you’re going to have to pay for the damage out of your own pocket. This is where you’ve got to weigh up repairing the damaged parts or replacing your vehicle. If your car is cheap and you’re looking at over a grand in repairs, it may be worth cutting your losses and getting a new car. You can earn some money from scrapping your old vehicle, regardless of its condition.
No hire car
Whilst you are waiting for insurance to come through or for repairs to be made, consider whether you really need a hire car or whether you could use an alternative form of transport in the meantime. For those commuting to work, a bus might be cheaper. For those travelling locally, a bike is an even less costly option. Train costs can rely on the distance you’re travelling, but may be cheaper if it’s only a short journey. And of course you can always walk those short trips to the shops. Friends and family members may also be able to provide lifts. Just remember that you will only be without a vehicle temporarily and that it may pay just to make do in the meantime.
Take an advanced driving course
Regardless of whether you were the perpetrator of the crash or not, it may be worth taking an advanced driving course, if anything just to lower the cost of your insurance. After being involved in an accident, your insurance rates will immediately rise, as you present a bigger risk to them financially. To avoid being left bankrupt by your next insurance bill, you’ll need to prove to them that you’re a safe driver. An advanced driving course does this, requiring them legally to lower the cost of your insurance. These courses aren’t costly when prepared to the added charges that you might get instead.
There are other methods of cutting costs on insurance including applying for a black box. This device, often issued by insurance companies, monitors your driving to tell if you are speeding or driving erratically. Some drivers may find it limiting, although it is recommended to new drivers having to suffer the most extortionate rates, as in some cases it can almost halve amount you pay. Keeping a clean credit rating and avoiding any points on your license can further reduce costs and lessen the damage.