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Uninsured losses

Recovering losses from a third party

Help and advice following an accident

Contact your insurer to see if legal expenses cover is included as part of your insurance policy. If it is then your insurer will help you recover all uninsured losses after a traffic accident.

If not, you will have to seek independent legal advice to assist you with your claim.

If you only have third party cover or decide not to make a claim against a comprehensive insurance policy, you may be able to recover the cost of repairing your car, or its market value if it is uneconomic to repair, from the other driver's insurer.

Loss of use of vehicle (hire charges etc)
If your car is damaged and off the road you can charge 'reasonable' hire charges, public transport costs or general damages. Contact the other driver's insurers (by telephone and writing) to see if they have any proposals relating to providing another vehicle. If they do not, you may have to pay at first and then claim your expenses later.

Hire charges should not be:
  • more than the market rate
  • for a larger car
  • claimed for longer than it would be reasonably necessary to repair or replace the damaged vehicle
  • As a claim for loss of use is for inconvenience and not compensation for financial loss, courts tend to award less than the equivalent cost of hire. However awards do vary considerably in this respect.

    Towing and storage charges
    If you are claiming the cost of the repair or the total loss of your vehicle from your own insurers, they will normally pay reasonable towing and storage charges as well. If you are claiming from the other side then storage charges will not be recoverable if there is unreasonable delay in repairing your vehicle or disposing of the salvage if it is a write-off.

    'No claims' discount
    A 'no claims' discount is not normally recoverable, although there have been limited instances of successful recoveries in court in the past.

    However, provided you are able to recover uninsured losses on a full liability basis (ie showing no fault on your part in the accident) from the other party's insurers, your own insurers may reinstate your discount.

    If the other party is not covered by insurers, then your insurers may wish to recover their outlay (if any) from that party before agreeing to reinstate your discount. You should, however, remember that it is strictly a 'no claims' discount and not a 'no blame' discount.

    Clothing and personal effects
    If you have sustained loss of or damage to clothing and/or other personal effects, keep the damaged articles for a reasonable period as inspection may be necessary.

    Claims should be supported with evidence (e.g. receipts), but if not available you should be able at least to advise the approximate date and purchase price of each article.

    You will be able to claim the value of each item at the time of the accident, which may be less than the cost of replacement.

    Emergency treatment
    If a person was injured in the accident you may receive a bill for the emergency treatment rendered at the scene or immediately after. This is a statutory charge and should be referred to your own insurers immediately for payment. These payments will not affect your 'no claims' discount.

    Personal injury (including loss of earnings)
    The handling of claims for damages for death or personal injury requires expert knowledge - seek legal advice immediately.
    Motor Industry Code of Practice

    If you've been an AA member for more than a year then you can get advice on any personal legal matter, motoring or otherwise by calling the legal assistance helpline, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

    (24 September 2013)

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