Accidents happen all the time and vehicle accidents on the road are no exception. In fact, scouting around the internet reveals that the odds of being involved in a car accident in the next 10 years is 88-1, and a fatal one 606-1. So what should you do if you are involved in an accident, and what should you do if your leased vehicle is involved?
There is plenty of advice out there to give you the dos and donts when it comes to behaviour when involved in an accident - Which, Accident Exchange, and The AA being some of the better ones - but here is a set of guidelines to follow.
You also need to report the accident to your insurance company within a reasonable time, even if you are not claiming yourself, as failure to do so can invalidate your cover.
You don't have to submit a claim if you decide to pay for the repairs yourself in order to preserve your no claims discount, because the cost of losing your no claims bonus may be more than the cost of paying for the repairs yourself.
But you do still need to tell them that you have been in an accident and you should supply this information in a letter, telling your insurer what happened, but making it crystal clear that this is for ‘information only’ and that you don’t wish to make a claim.
This is because its helps to cover the fact that the other driver may claim against you, even if there was no personal injury involved. Whether or not you feel that you have no responsibility for the accident , if someone thinks that you are, they have the right to request your insurance details - and not always at the scene of the accident.
Your insurance policy will have a clause in it stating that it is compulsory to report any accidents to your insurance company within a reasonable time, even if you don’t want to claim yourself - and that reasonable time will actually be stated too! Failure to comply may result in you failing to get insurance in the future from your current insurer and maybe others too.
Whether or not the accident is your fault, it is important to get a detailed description of what happened along with as much information as possible - and this means collecting as much information - photographs and notes - as you possibly can while at the scene. Make use of the camera available on phones, and as difficult as it may be:
Any damage to the car that is covered by insurance needs to be carried out to their specifications, and a courtesy call to your leasing company would be expected.
If your lease vehicle has been declared a 'total loss' - that is: written off or stolen – the most important thing to do is contact Nationwide Vehicle Contracts immediately. This is so we can inform your finance provider who will insist upon written confirmation from your insurance company that the vehicle is a total loss before providing an amount for settlement of the vehicle contract.
All negotiations with your insurance company are your own responsibility and Nationwide Vehicle Contracts or the finance provider will not enter negotiations with your insurance company – this must be done by yourself.
It’s also worth noting that if your vehicle is written off (damaged beyond repair) by your motor insurer, there may be a ‘gap’ between what your insurer pays out and what you still owe on the car to the finance provider. If this is applicable, you will be responsible for this shortfall. This is where a GAP insurance policy may be of benefit to you. GAP insurance is an optional product which covers the monetary difference between the motor insurer pay out and the amount needed to pay the outstanding balance on your finance settlement. You can read more about GAP insurance in our GAP Insurance Explained guide.
You can, of course, choose to lease a new vehicle with Nationwide Vehicle Contracts if your existing lease is declared a total loss, however you will be required another processing fee and initial rental for your new vehicle as this is classed as a new agreement.
If you have any questions with regards to this, and with any other aspect of what is involved in leasing a car, take a look at the FAQ section of the website here where you can find the answers to many of the questions that customers often have about leasing.