Vehicle Collision Reporting
The speed of accident reporting following a vehicle collision and the accuracy of information collected and sent to the claims team are the easiest ways for a fleet to reduce it’s claims costs. Yet so many fleet operators take many days to report accidents involving their vehicles hitting third party vehicles. By the time the third party has been contacted by your claims team, a credit hire company has been able to offer their services to the third party and the costs of the claim can spiral.
In 2012 the Office of Fair Trading estimated that the credit hire industry was inflating claims in the private motor insurance market by £200 million a year. It is claimed that some credit hire companies use fictitious businesses and vehicles in a claim to inflate the size of the costs involved. The key issue for businesses operating a fleet is therefore to attempt to keep the credit hire companies out of any situation where an insured driver hits a third party vehicle. These businesses are accused of fraudulently increasing the cost of the claim through:
- Providing a replacement vehicle that is much larger and more expensive than necessary and hiring out the car for much longer than necessary.
- Charging excessive fees for storing the damaged vehicle.
- Charging far too much for repairing the damaged vehicle.
- Making repairs last for weeks to justify the excessive hire and storage costs.
So what can be done to improve reporting times? Here are a few tips:
- Provide a briefing for your drivers on the importance of the early reporting of accidents involving third parties.
- Provide an information pack in the vehicle that takes the driver through what steps to take in the event of a collision.
- Provide drivers with a scene of accident reporting form with a section that can be given to the third party driver. The third party should have information that tells them who to contact to have their vehicle repaired.
- Ask your driver to report the incident by telephone to the team nominated in your claims protocol as soon as possible. Ideally, from the scene of the accident so the phone can be passed to the third party.
- Your driver should also make a note of the number of people in the vehicle they have collided with. Their names and addresses should be noted.
- Any witnesses of the incident should also be asked to give their name and address.
- Brief your driver on making a sketch of the scene as well as instructing them on the type of photographs to take, i.e. photographs of the context of the scene as well as the actual damage.
- Instruct your driver not to admit liability for the incident.
- Download any CCTV camera footage from the vehicle as soon as possible and send it to your claims team contact.
There are many ways to reduce motor fleet claims costs but improving reporting times can make a dramatic effect in cost savings in a short time period. Increasing drivers awareness of the issues of early reporting and the credit hire industry and giving them clear instructions on what actions to take after a collision can make a real impact on your insurance costs.