If one of your fleet drivers have an accident on the road you may call upon your insurance provider to make a claim. It is important to know the correct procedure for drivers to follow in the event of an accident so that nothing obstructs your ability to make a claim against your commercial truck insurance.
Firstly, a driver should not admit at the scene of the incident whether or not it was their fault and they should exchange details with other drivers involved and get details from any independent witnesses. It is also advised to take the registration number of vehicles involved in an incident to be able to trace drivers in case they refuse to give their details or give false details.
You must inform your truck insurance broker about any incidents straightaway even if you aren’t seeking to make a claim against your policy. Failure to do so could land you in a lot of trouble and impact the cost of your premiums if someone claimed against your business and you hadn’t reported an accident.
If someone involved is injured, your drivers must show an insurance certificate or cover note to the police or if they don’t have access to this, they must take this documentation to the police station within seven days following the accident.
It is also advised to take photographs at the scene of the incident that could later be used as evidence when making a claim. For example, photographs of the placement of vehicles across the road or damage to one of your fleet vehicles could be useful to police and your truck insurance broker.
If you have comprehensive cover
With a comprehensive policy you should claim from your own insurance provider, but you may lose your no claims bonus if the insurer can’t recover the money to cover the cost of any damages etc from the other driver’s insurance company. You can also claim from the other driver’s insurance provider for any injuries or losses not covered by your own policy. These are known as uninsured misfortunes and cover elective vehicle during vehicle fixes, loss of income, individual injury and your strategy overabundance.
When making a claim, get a claims form from your insurer giving details of the accident and the other driver’s policy number. Inform your insurance provider of any independent witnesses and include witness statements if possible. Be sure to keep a copy of all documents and letters in case you need to refer to it later on.
If you have third party cover
If they conclude that your driver was responsible then damage repairs for your commercial vehicle will come out of your own pocket.
To claim against the other driver, inform them in writing that you intend to claim from them and if they happen to also be a fleet driver, you must inform their company. You should keep your own truck insurance broker in the loop and inform them that you have done this. If you receive a letter or claim form from another driver or their insurance broker as a result of a road incident it is important to forward this to your own insurer.
What if the driver is uninsured or untraceable?
If the driver you intend to make a claim against has no insurance or is untraceable, you can claim on your own commercial truck insurance policy if you have comprehensive cover. Alternatively, The Motor Insurers Bureau (MIB) can also settle your claim if the driver is uninsured or has broken their policy conditions in some way.
Most Effective method check I have the right level of cover
It is vital to make sure you have the right level of cover before you make a claim. If one of your drivers has injured a member of the public or damaged their property, it is essential to have public liability insurance to cover this. This will protect you against the cost of repairs, compensation, legal expenses and medical fees. This is essential in the event that someone makes a claim against your business if your driver is found to be at fault.
If you employ staff then you are required by law to have employer’s liability cover for your business. This will cover your business for compensation costs if an employee becomes injured as a result of a work-related incident. This is especially important for high-risk businesses such as construction workers who deal with heavy machinery and large vehicles. Failure to have this level of cover could cost you £2,500 in fines for everyday that you’re uninsured. If a driver within your fleet was injured in a road collision, you would need this to cover medical fees, loss of earnings and any other related compensation costs.
Another useful level of cover is legal protection cover in the event that your business needs to take someone to court if they are found at fault and injure a driver or cause damage to one of your commercial vehicles. Also, if the damage caused has implications on your business activity and causes a loss then you can also claim for this to be reimbursed to you. You may think you’ll never need this, but if the worst were to happen, legal fees can soon mount up and paying to fix the damage yourself could also be costly. Having this would allow you to claim against the responsible party so that all costs are covered for your peace of mind.
There are many aspects to consider and procedures to follow when making an insurance claim, so ensure that your business and your fleet drivers follow the correct steps in the event of a road collision.
Tony Jewitt is a Director at Avis Insurance, a UK based vehicle fleet insurance company. He established Avis Insurance in 1983 initially as general insurance and mortgage brokers, before specialising completely on truck and haulage insurance markets from 2016. He has extensive experience in the insurance industry and is passionate about presenting his clients with customised solutions.