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Our accident claims process

Our accident claims process
Reporting your claim
What happens next?
Finalising your claim
Motor Legal Protection claims
Windscreen claims

Our accident claims process

Being involved in an accident can be a very traumatic experience. You can count on Direct Line to get you back on the road quickly and with minimum hassle and disruption.

When you claim, you’ll deal with UK contact centres and our Recommended Repair Network which offers nationwide coverage and a 5 year guarantee on repairs.

We’ll even collect and return your car to you - and clean it inside and out!

You can rest assured that you’ll have the expertise of the UK’s largest direct private car insurer behind you to handle any problems.

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Reporting your claim

You can count on us to get your claim moving straight away. When you call, our advisors will take all the relevant details and talk you through what will happen next.

Call us immediately and we can get your claim started straight away, even if you don't have all of the information available you can still report the claim. We can then take the stress of your claim away from you.

Even if you have an accident when most garages are closed, our 24 hour accident recovery helpline can arrange assistance to recover your car and help arrange onward transportation.

By calling us you can be sure that we are aware of the incident and are in a position to represent your best interests. We’re also available to advise you on what your policy covers you for.

What will I be asked for?

  • Your personal details
  • What happened and what the damage is to the vehicle
  • Whether the vehicle is driveable
  • Where you are
  • Details of any third party’s who were involved in the incident
  • Details of any witnesses to the incident
  • Details of any passengers in your or the third party’s car
  • Whether the police were involved and any crime reference number, if relevant.

Ready to call?

  • 0800 051 0140 and 0123 963 6070    

Lines open: 8am-9pm Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm Saturday & 11am-5pm Sunday

Outside these hours you can call our 24 hour accident recovery helpline on 0800 269 015.

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What happens next?

Some insurance claims are more complex than others but our aim is always to help you through the experience as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Reviewing your cover

When you call to report an incident, we’ll look at your policy and answer any questions about what is covered and what excess you’ll have to pay, if any.

Repairing your car

Once we know that everyone is safe and well, the most important thing is to get your car repaired as quickly as possible.

Direct Line uses a nationwide network of recommended repairers that gets 350,000 of their customers back on the road each year and achieve consistently high customer satisfaction ratings.

If you use our recommended repair network, you won’t need to get an estimate for the repairs and we’ll allocate you a repairer straight away. The repairer will call you within 3 working hours and will be able to arrange collection of your vehicle if you’d like.

Each repair is carried out in accordance with recognised industry standards and all work is guaranteed for 5 years.

At the repairer the damage to the vehicle will be fully assessed. They will then contact us with an estimate of the cost of the repairs and once authorised, repair work will begin.

In 2009 our recommended repair network has completed repairs in an average of less than 8 working days. If at any stage you need an update on the progress of your repair, you’ll be able to contact the garage directly.

What happens if your car is written off?

Find out more and watch our latest TV advert about our car replacement service.

What happens if your car is stolen?

If your car is stolen then you will need to obtain a crime reference number from the police. When you report your claim to us we’ll take some basic details and arrange a convenient time to discuss the theft in more detail. The outcome of your claim will depend on whether your car is recovered or not.

Keeping mobile

You may be entitled to a hire car whilst your vehicle is being repaired. We’ll explain the options when you call to report your claim.

Our Guaranteed Hire Car or Guaranteed Hire Car Plus options guarantee your entitlement to a hire car. If you selected one of these cover options, your claims advisor will be able to contact the hire car company for you.

Whose fault was the accident?

In some cases the fault is clear but it often isn’t. There are occasionally a number of different opinions on what happened. We’ll listen to your description of the accident and then look objectively at all other information available. We have specialist teams to deal with complex claims and we’ll liaise with third parties and other insurers on your behalf.

Impact on no claims discount

The nature of your claim and whether or not your no claims discount is protected will dictate any impact on your discount. Your claims handler will try to give you an estimate of any change to your NCD entitlement when you report your claim, although this isn’t always possible.

Injury claims

If somebody has been hurt in an accident, the first priority is to ensure that they’re OK. Claims involving injury can be quite complex so one of our specialist teams may be involved to support you through the process. We handle thousands of injury claims each year and strive to deal with them all fairly and promptly.

Recovery of expenses

If you took out Motor Legal Protection with your Direct Line car insurance policy, you’ll be covered for up to £100,000 of legal costs to help you recover losses that cannot be claimed from any insurance policy (if a third party was at fault and their insurer have been identified).

Who determines the value of your vehicle?

We employ a specialist team of highly skilled Motor Engineers to ensure we place an accurate value on your vehicle. The Motor Engineers follow a consistent process to ensure that every vehicle is valued using the same methodology, whilst also considering the local market conditions. We aim to ensure that a fair market value on your vehicle is delivered first time every time.

How do we ascertain the market value for your vehicle?

In order to determine the market value of your vehicle we use a starting point from the UK’s leading valuation publication, Glass’s guide. The retail figure from Glass’s is used, which would be the amount you would expect to pay if you bought a vehicle from a used car dealership.

What other factors have a bearing on the value of your vehicle?

Overall mileage and condition - if the vehicle has low mileage this will increase the value; if it has high mileage this will decrease the value.

Full service history – the quality of the service history will have a bearing on the valuation.

Optional extras and modifications above the vehicles stated specification - this is taken into account in accordance with Glass’s guide recommendations.

The pre-accident condition of the vehicle – as our starting point is Glass’s Guide “retail” we consider areas of damage that would need to be rectified in order to achieve that retail value. We calculate these deductions using standard repair methods, using our discounted Group rates.

The local market place - finally, we look at the local market to ensure the value we have placed on your vehicle would allow you to purchase a similar vehicle in the local area.

When will you receive your settlement cheque?

When you’ve agreed a valuation with the engineer, they’ll notify us and we’ll arrange for a payment to be made. Payments are usually made by cheque and once requested, take around 5 working days to be processed.

Any agreed settlement will be subject to your agreed policy excess, and/or premium adjustment where applicable.

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Finalising your claim

When repairs are complete

When work on your car is complete, the garage will call you to arrange for it to be returned. If you were informed that an excess would apply, you’ll need to pay that to the repairer.

If one of our approved repairers was used, your car will be returned cleaned inside and out and parts and repairs will be guaranteed for five years.

What to do if you’re unsatisfied with your repair

We have a team of engineers who regularly visit repairers to ensure they meet our high standards. In the unlikely event that you are unhappy with your repairs you should raise this with the repairer. If they are unable to resolve your concerns, please call our claims team on 0800 051 0140 and 0123 963 6070.

Returning a hire car

If you were entitled to a hire car, the provider of the vehicle will have agreed with you what to do when your own vehicle is returned to you.

Anything further?

You and your car should now be ready to get back out on the road! We’ll still be here if you have any further questions about your claim. If you need to speak to us, you can call us on 0800 051 0140 and 0123 963 6070.

Motor Legal Protection claims

Reporting your Motor Legal Protection claim

You’ll need to tell us of your Motor Legal Protection claim when you report your accident to our motor claims department. Your details will then be passed to our specialist Motor Legal claims department who will get your claim moving as quickly as possible.

What happens next?

The Motor Legal claims department will review the details of your accident and check you have a valid claim under Motor Legal Protection cover. If you have a valid claim, we will confirm that your policy will cover legal costs charged by a solicitor, as long as you follow the solicitor’s advice and there is more than a 50% chance your claim will succeed. A solicitor will then be instructed to act on your behalf to pursue recovery of your losses from the driver responsible. We will cover all the legal costs of this claim in accordance with the policy terms and conditions.

Finalising your claim

Most cases are resolved through negotiation, but a minority go to Court. How quickly the claim is settled will depend on the circumstances of the accident, whether the other driver accepts responsibility for the accident and the extent of the injuries or losses being claimed for.

Windscreen claims

Our dedicated Glass Hotline is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to arrange to repair or replace your windscreen as quickly as possible.

If you have comprehensive cover, all you have to pay is the excess shown in your policy schedule. Your No Claims Discount won’t be affected when you make a windscreen claim.

Call our windscreen helpline on 0800 328 7423.

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