Accidents happen, and when an employee has a collision in a company car it is perhaps understandable they do not realise they need to report it to their personal motor insurance provider. However, it is essential they do so as their own insurer needs to calculate an individual’s risk as a driver. When obtaining a personal motor insurance quote, a key question asked is:
“In the last 5 years, have you ever been involved in an accident, regardless of blame, including fire, theft and windscreen claims?"
This question does not restrict itself in any way to the specific vehicle they are looking to insure but, instead, asks for the insured to notify any claims where they were the driver on any insurance policy. This doesn’t just apply to company vehicles either, it could include an accident they have had in a partner’s car, on a policy where they are a named driver, a rental car on holiday or a company car policy. Even claims that are not their fault and not on their policy, must be declared.
Insurers share information
This is because all motor claims are recorded and shared with insurers on a central record – which is held by the ABI (Association of British Insurers.) While it may not be common knowledge these records exist, insurers declare the intention to undertake this activity in the terms and conditions in their policies usually in the form of a statement that they share information with the ABI.
Failure to declare an incident can also have further consequences. For example, if an insurer discovers that a driver has failed to report an incident they may declare the policy null and void. It could also result in a driving ban, a conviction for driving without insurance and result in difficulties in obtaining insurance cover in the future. Less serious but also possible is an increase in premium or the application of onerous terms. It is also possible a claim might only be partially paid or declined entirely.
Accidents while parked
One specific type of incident which drivers are tempted to misreport is where a vehicle accidentally hits an immobile object but they choose to report it to their insurer as “hit whilst parked”. This is often due to it being easier to lie or pass the blame onto others rather than admit their mistake.
If a “hit whilst parked” accident does occur, they should report this to the police to get a Crime Reference Number and if it happens in a private car park (i.e. a supermarket) then they should ask for any CCTV footage. They should also provide details of any witnesses.
Employee culture shift
By understanding what employees need to report to their insurer, you can change the overall driving culture within your business and improve your organisations claims. Changes in driving culture require good practice by all employees as well as a need to lead by example with a full buy-in from the top down.