When do I need to tell my motor trade insurer about a potential claim?

29 July 2013


Getting into an accident can be a nightmare. For motor traders especially, not only could this cause personal damage, it could also harm your business.

Furthermore, if an accident occurs on the road or on your premises, and a member of staff or a customer is affected, the financial and reputational implications could be severe.

If you have appropriate motor trade insurance, there should be no need to worry. Your insurer will cover all the details and you should just concentrate on getting back on your feet and back on the business track.

However, for minor dings and scrapes, claiming on your motor trade insurance policy could leave you worse-off than simply fixing the damage yourself.

Of course, not all accidents are the same, so in what situations should you tell your motor trade insurer about an incident?

Repairable damage

If your business has the capability to adequately fix bumps, scrapes or minor mechanical faults, claiming on insurance might not be the best option for you economically.

Covering the cost of a repair yourself might set you back in the short term, but the long-term benefits may outweigh this initial fee.

Consider how claiming for minor damage could affect your future insurance policies. Even the smallest claim will affect your no-claims bonus, meaning you will have to pay-out even more when it comes to your next renewal. Your new policy will rise as a result of any previous claims you’ve made.

Furthermore, the time taken to make all necessary repairs might be even longer if claimed through insurance, as inspectors might need to assess the damage before anything is put in motion.

If you are unsure whether it is worth claiming for an accident on a vehicle or not, contact a motor trade insurance broker. They will give you the best possible advice available, ensuring that you make a sensible decision for your future finances.

Stolen goods

Expensive vehicles and tools will be a notable treasure for thieves at commercial properties. Having all of your vehicles stolen could put your business in huge trouble financially, as could the theft of equipment. If this ever occurs, you should contact the police in the very first instance.

The police will issue you with a crime reference number which you must then pass-on to the motor trade insurer. In some cases a formal statement might be required.

If your business assets are then found, the insurer will either decide to handle to cost of repairs, or will inform you if this is not possible. This obviously depends on whether you have the appropriate policy to cover theft.

In the result that your belongings are not found, the market value of the item will be repaired minus the policy excess.

If something is found after the settlement money is issued, the insurer will then claim the asset for themselves.

Whatever the result of the police investigation, cover for theft is absolutely essential, as recouping the cost yourself will cause a severe financial headache. Imagine the costs associated with the loss of your entire vehicle stock!

Fire away

Fires can devastate a commercial property. Car showrooms or garages for example could suffer greatly if the blaze spreads to vehicles, leading to hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of damage.

Most motor trade insurance policies will cover fire, so call your a broker as soon as you are able to in order to discover what level of cover you have. However, some policies might not cover you for vehicles kept at a business site, so extra premises cover should be sought if this is what you require. For smaller traders working from a home address, most insurers will not consider this as a business premises, so you may still be covered.

Other destructive disasters, such as flooding, could see your business unable to trade for weeks. However, taking out Business Interruption Insurance, for example, will mean you are able to continue your operations around the damaged areas, which could help your business get back on its feet.

Some motor trade insurance policies will see commercial property covered as part of the package. However, this could sometimes come under the category of landlord insurance, meaning you maintain no control if the property owner doesn’t have necessary cover. Make sure that this isn’t the case, as it could cause trouble and conflict if an accident were to occur.

The blame game

Regardless of who you think was at fault for the incident, call your insurer at the earliest opportunity possible.

Give them a full account of what happened and all of the details you have in your possession.

Never admit liability for the accident to the other person or persons involved, regardless of whether or not you think it was caused by you. This could greatly affect the chances of making a valid claim.

Some businesses might take out legal cover as part of their motor trade insurance policy, which will help recover some of the losses caused by the other party which you might not be covered for.

Before getting motor trade insurance, it is worth seeing if this is part of the deal, as it could prove worthwhile in the long term.

Other people on-site

If a member of staff or a customer is injured in your vehicle or at your premises, ensure they are safe before you make any call to an insurer.

Call the emergency services and see if the individual can provide a contact number for a friend or family member so you can alert them to the situation.

As soon as this has been sorted, call your motor trade insurer to figure out the implications of the accident, and what it means for your business going forward. Some businesses might be advised to stop or limit trading, whereas in other cases, regular daily activities can still be conducted.

In all instances, time is the key. Make sure that after everything has been cleared up between yourself and the party involved, but call an insurer as soon as this has been achieved.

Whatever the accident or incident, call your insurer. You might be surprised by what is covered as part of your policy. For additional advice, call a broker to see if claims on vehicles or commercial property is worthwhile.

Equally, it’s important to make it clear what is covered by your motor trade insurance, to enable you to make plans moving forward. ADNFCR-1036-ID-801618009-ADNFCR