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What to do if... you have a car accident

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

First steps

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.

What happens next?

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.

The John Lewis 24 hour Claims Helpline:

0845 610 0360

If you are calling from outside the UK please call:

00 44 23 8035 2941

Details of your claim

After confirming your details, your insurer will ask for information about your claim. To make the whole process simple, it’s important to give as many details as possible 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.

Putting things right

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.

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.

Once the repair work is carried out, the garage will invoice the insurance company. All repairs carried out by an approved John Lewis supplier are guaranteed for three years.

If your car is written off

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 within one week of receiving the documentation, which includes the vehicle registration document (VSC) and the current
MOT certificate.

Once you have accepted your insurer’s settlement, they will own your car and you must return your Certificate of Motor Insurance to them.

If your car is a write off, John Lewis Car Insurance will provide you with a replacement vehicle for up to 21 days as standard.

Preventative measures

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

The best way to prevent car accidents is to 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.

How John Lewis Insurance can help

If you’ve had an accident then we’ll make sure that the whole claim process is smooth and causes you as little inconvenience as possible. If you have Comprehensive Insurance Cover, we’ll provide you with a courtesy car while yours is being repaired, so that the accident won’t stop you from getting on with your life.

If you have at least four years No Claims Discount with John Lewis, then you may be able to protect this so that if you do have to make a claim, it won’t affect your discount.

For further tips and advice, please see our quick guide (PDF).

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