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Sneaky Claims On Car Insurance

1-9-2010
Online car insurer swiftcover.com says motorists are trying to pass off old damage and normal wear and tear to their vehicles as part of genuine insurance claims in order to get their insurers to pay for all their repairs. Now the company has published the top insurance claims tricks and misconceptions. 

When you're involved in an accident or an insurance claim, your insurer - or the other driver's insurer if it wasn't your fault - will pay to fix the damage and get your vehicle back on the road. But swiftcover.com says that some drivers are confused about what is actually covered in a claim, whilst other sneaky motorists try and claim for things they know full well are not covered by insurance.

swiftcover.com's top insurance claims tricks and misconceptions

1. The "Two For One" claim

The trick: A driver will pass-off old damage to their vehicle as being caused by the accident they are claiming for hoping that the insurance claim will cover repairs they have been unable to pay for.

The reality: Insurance assessors and garages can spot old damage and dents that were clearly not caused by the accident the driver is claiming for and will not do the repair work. Passing off old damage as part of the accident is fraud, and insurers carry out audits to make sure that garages are playing fair.

2. The "While You're There" claim

The trick: A variation on the "Two For One", a driver will ask a garage to fix old damage as part of the accident repair "as a favour, while you're there", expecting the repairer to hide the cost when they invoice the insurer.

The reality: Reputable garages won't agree to this kind of trick because if they're caught out they will lose all their lucrative insurance work. And ultimately the cost of carrying out fraudulent repairs is passed on to policyholders in the form of higher premiums.

3. The "Not Actually a Claim" claim

The trick: A significant number of drivers try and claim for mechanical problems caused by general wear and tear, particularly if it is a major issue that results in expensive and sometime fatal damage, such as a seized engine because they have not kept the oil topped up, or even mistakes they have made, such as putting petrol in a diesel car.

The reality: Car insurance does not cover drivers for mechanical problems or issues caused by poor maintenance or errors, even if it was an 'accident' that the driver forgot to check the engine oil level. New cars have warranties and owners can purchase extended warranties for used vehicles.

4. The "It Must Have Been Caused by the Accident" claim

The trick: Drivers demand that problems uncovered during the repair work, but which are unconnected to the accident - such as damaged or worn-out parts - be fixed or replaced as part of the insurance claim. Often drivers will be unaware of the problem, so will assume it was caused by the accident.

The reality: Problems can occur if a vehicle is poorly maintained or is due a service, but may not be immediately obvious to the driver. However, insurance assessors, mechanics and repairers are skilled professionals so they will know which problems are the result of the actual accident, and which are coincidental. If it wasn't caused by the accident, then it won't be covered by insurance.

5. The "It Was In My Boot or Glove Box" claim

The trick: Owners will claim for expensive items stolen from their vehicle which they claim were safely locked up in the boot or the glove box.

The reality: Thieves usually target cars where valuable items are on clear display, such as a briefcase, lap top or MP3 player left on the seat. Insurance assessors are highly experienced and will be able to tell if the facts of a crime do not match up with the policyholder's claim, such as a broken rear window when the driver claims the item was locked up in the boot. Drivers need to take precautions to keep their personal belongings safe otherwise their insurance will not be valid.

6. The "Showroom Condition" myth

The trick: Drivers will expect their vehicles to be returned to them in showroom condition after repairs have been completed, despite the fact their car was in a dilapidated state before the crash.

The reality: Although swiftcover.com repairers will wash and clean a car before returning it to the owner after work has been completed, in general a vehicle will be returned in the same overall condition it was in before the crash, because the garage's job is only to fix the damage caused by the accident. It's also worth remembering that if a car is in a poor condition and it is written off, the owner will probably get a smaller pay-out compared to a car in a much better condition.

7. The "Free Service and Mot" claim

The trick: Many drivers ask for, or even expect, a free service as part of the repairs carried out under the insurance claim. Some drivers even ask the repairing garage to carry out their MOT.

The reality: Work carried out under an insurance claim will only cover repairs required to fix the damage caused by the accident in question - not general maintenance. If unrelated work was included as part of the insurance claim, insurance premiums would increase further.

8. The "Main Dealer Myth" claim

The trick: Many drivers believe their cars can only be fixed by a main dealer for the manufacturer, particularly if it is still under warranty, a perception that is promulgated by the main dealers themselves who stand to gain the most by snaffling up repair work and claiming to be 'specialists'.

The reality: Owners do not have to use main dealers, even if the car is under warranty. Main dealers usually charge much higher rates for the same repairs and for the exact same spare parts, whilst the quality of work is no better than the repairers that insurers like swiftcover.com use. In fact, many main dealers actually outsource bodywork repairs to the same firms insurers use, and then charge a much higher rate. swiftcover.com is able to negotiate lower rates with independent repairers - which helps keep insurance premiums down - and regularly check the quality of their work, which is often of a higher standard than main dealers.

Did you know that:

swiftcover.com offers car, travel and pet insurance online, and is Britain's only insurance company without call centres, which means that the cost savings can be passed directly onto the customer and premiums are kept low. In 2008 swiftcover.com featured as the cheapest insurance quote on the comparison website moneysupermarket.com more often than any other insurer.