Flying debris car Insurance claim

Be interested to hear some thoughts on this situation.

Driving down a motorway with intermittent heavy rain & a fair amount of standing water. Intentionally driving very safely to the conditions, max 70mph & at least 300-400 yards of stopping distance in front of me. In the outside lane, and two clear lanes to the left of me (as had just overtaken some slower moving cars). 

In my peripheral vision I caught sight of a car in the outside lane of the opposite carriageway veer into the central reservation at high speed. The car ended up pretty much head on to the reservation at impact so all the debris from this flew directly into my side of the motorway.

The timing was such that I passed this incident at the exact moment the large quantity of debris flew across from the reservation directly onto my car. As I'd seen it occurring in my peripheral vision I'd instinctively braked and started moving away from it into the the middle lane (I knew there was nothing close to me as fortunately I was very aware of the surroundings due to bad conditions).

When we were able to stop safely at the next junction, I found a huge dent in the right side of bonnet and lots of scattered marks & scratches to the front and right hand side of the car. 

The car is only a month old unfortunately. Probably >2k worth of damage to sort back to as new condition.

Obviously I wasn't in a position to return to the incident or stop at the time to ask for witnesses etc.

I phoned the police and was given an incident number that afternoon. I then re-contacted them the next day and they were able to give the incident number of the accident on the other side of the carriageway and link them together.

I've made it clear in all descriptions to insurance etc that it was flying debris rather than debris lying on the road.

If I hadn't braked the 70+ Mph debris could potentially have flown directly onto my drivers side window, so I appreciate the fortune that nothing worse happened to me personally.

However, the insurers are giving the general vibe that I won't be able to claim on the other drivers insurance unless there is clear indication of liability on their part. If they veered from a blowout, for example, that might not be the case. I would then be "At-fault" for the claim on our car for the purposes of renewal.

Anyone have any experience of such a situation & the likelihood of being able to process as a No-fault claim? The insurance premium change looks like it will be at least £600 more per year on both mine & my wife's insurance (have to be a named driver) if I have to list it as an "At fault Accident." In which case over 5 years I might be better off paying to have it fixed myself.......
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Comments

  • wongataa
    wongataa Posts: 2,600
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    I would just let the insurance fix it.  That is what insurance is for.  You don't really know what, if any, loading there will be from the claim so I wouldn't really worry about that much.
  • Given the conditions, it sounds likely that the other driver could blame the conditions, so liability will be tricky to prove. It sounds like they may have aquaplaned on some standing water. You’ll have to declare the accident anyway, so probably makes sense to make a claim and suck up the premium increase. How much NCD do you have, is it protected?
  • Appreciate the comments, thank you. Difficult to say at this stage if they will be deemed liable - certainly the cars on that carriageway were all far to close to each other for the conditions & I'd be surprised if legal depth tyres enabled an aquaplaning scenario on the amount of standing water I saw, but who knows.

    My issue really is that I'm going to have to list this as an "At Fault Accident Claim" if there is no liability on the other party. Some dummy quotes for this put my insurance up from £350 to £1050 with my current insurer, and over double to ~£750 with others. This is with 15 years protected no claims & 18 years of driving with no accidents. 

    Being "At Fault" in car insurance nomenclature for other scenarios where there is no alternative liability but different categorisation on the quotes (such as Parked Car hit by an unknown vehicle, or damage via theft). These have a much lesser impact, as does a "Non-Fault Accident" which only puts it up by about £50.

    Clearly the computer systems cannot differentiate my "At Fault Accident" claim - driving safely to the conditions being hit by completely unavoidable flying debris from an accident on the other side of the road - from me driving dangerously into the back of someone at 100mph.

    It was also as a named driver on my spouses insurance, so we both now have to declare the claim on each others come renewal (and need to be insured on both cars). So 5 years of 2x double premiums and will be cheaper to pay for the repair ourselves.

    All seems incredibly unfair in such a scenario. I've not claimed anything on insurance in my lifetime & there seems to be a missing definition for a genuinely "No fault" accident claim that cannot be recovered from another liability. Certainly nothing about my scenario, apart from the fact that I might occasionally drive on the motor, should highlight me personally as an additional statistical risk in the future.

    Does anyone happen to know of any insurers that might look a little deeper in a claim to assess future risk? I'm guessing not sadly?




  • Given the conditions, it sounds likely that the other driver could blame the conditions, so liability will be tricky to prove. It sounds like they may have aquaplaned on some standing water. You’ll have to declare the accident anyway, so probably makes sense to make a claim and suck up the premium increase. How much NCD do you have, is it protected?
    They cannot blame the conditions, they are required to drive in an appropriate manor for the conditions and if they had an accident "because of the conditions" that means they weren't. 

    However, the insurers are giving the general vibe that I won't be able to claim on the other drivers insurance unless there is clear indication of liability on their part. If they veered from a blowout, for example, that might not be the case. I would then be "At-fault" for the claim on our car for the purposes of renewal.
    Insurers are good at expectation management, they will always tell you there is no such thing as a slam dunk. Even had parked cars hit by a third party who stopped and exchanged details end up being an at fault claim because the driver details were fake and the vehicle was using cloned plates. 

    Assuming the vehicle registration etc is now available to your insurers for the third party then they will write to the third party insurers saying they are holding them liable. The third party insurers may agree or disagree and if the later then your insurers should be asking on what grounds. 

    It could be the person was fit, healthy, feeling well when they got in the car but had a heart attack or stroke whilst driving. Could be a blow out. They may claim they swerved to avoid someone who cut them up. Or they could say they aquaplaned in which case it's their fault contrary to the previous poster.

    Many insurers wont invest too much time arguing about liability until the claim for your damage has been committed to and so generally there isnt the option of sitting back and waiting to see how liability will go before making a claim. 
  • Very helpful, thank you.

    Need to take it in for an estimate next week - presumably if it comes in at less than expected we can chose to abandon the claim & pay ourselves or proceed with a claim at that point?

    Clearly I would still have to note the accident on future renewal quotes but this seems to be totally different ball game to declaring an "At fault accident claim" in terms of premium cost.
  • Very helpful, thank you.

    Need to take it in for an estimate next week - presumably if it comes in at less than expected we can chose to abandon the claim & pay ourselves or proceed with a claim at that point?

    Clearly I would still have to note the accident on future renewal quotes but this seems to be totally different ball game to declaring an "At fault accident claim" in terms of premium cost.
    What you will need to do, if pursuing a claim, will vary by insurer. Many these days will appoint an approved repairer who'll either collect the car or ask you to pop round. Many have a delegated authority if the repairs are under a certain amount or either send the case to a desktop engineer (ie someone at a desk, not some that repairs computers) or the insurers engineer may pop in a couple of times a week to authorise work. 

    Parts can be a pain so if its drivable they may say pick it up and well book in once parts are there but if its just bodywork they may just crack on. 

    There aren't many insurers these days that ask you to get a handful of estimates from a garage of your own choice but probably some.

    Just be aware that an estimate for you and an estimate for your insurers are likely to be different with the former being lower. No garage will formally give you both but they may give you an insurer one for £3k but verbally say they can do it for £2k if you decide not to claim. 

    Difference between a fault and non-fault claim tends to be significant but it does vary by insurer and as rating are typically compound in nature the impact for an otherwise good driver is going to be smaller than someone with a poor record already. So if you had another unfortunate situation next month after deciding to claim its going to have a much bigger impact.
  • caprikid1
    caprikid1 Posts: 2,113
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    Cannot see how you can claim for this against the 3rd party, I appreciate the frustration but your ability to prove the cause of the damage seems next to impossible.
  • I'd hope the actual cause of the damage (flying debris from the other car) was pretty much irrefutable given the circumstance. I think the threshold for burden of proof would have to be incredibly high if my version of events was discarded because I didn't have video evidence, for example. All the damage is to the front and right side of the car, with nothing underneath, that fits perfectly with the incident in question. I can even provide video evidence from home CCTV of my car leaving in the morning with an undamaged bonnet, and returning with it damaged later that day. The initial police report from the incident itself fits with mine, given at a completely separate time, in terms of central reservation collision etc. There was zero way for me to stop at the scene / gather witnesses etc. Perhaps I'll be surprised but surely the insurance industry isn't that anti-consumer that they'd assume I was making it up? 
     

    It has definitely inspired me to get a dash cam though.
  • daveyjp
    daveyjp Posts: 12,406
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    Your only hope is if the police pass on details of the vehicle which hit the central reservation to your insurance company.  A friend had a similar situation many years ago when a wheel and hub came off a car, bounced across the central reservation and hit his car.  It was a battle, but he did win his case.

    The police will certainly pass details on to the highways agency as they will claim against driver insurance for the costs of replacing the barrier.

  • Davejones22
    Davejones22 Posts: 8
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    edited 21 September 2023 at 3:42PM
    Good to know someone has had a good outcome after something similar.

    I reported my incident with the police soon after the event. They gave me an incident number, but couldn't find the incident on the other side of the motorway right then, so said to call back later.

    I phoned back the next morning and they were able to find the correct incident that matched perfectly with my original time / place / description, and gave me that incident number to give to my insurance company. They said my original incident number would also be linked within the other incident report. Seemed confident that my insurer would be able to pull the details needed from that. Presumably this is possible, otherwise the only option I had was to drive back down the other side of the motorway in the hope of taking the licence plate of the wrecked car. Which doesn't seem behaviour that would be encouraged.

    Not sure I can do much else to help our case really. Been very clear about the nature of the debris in that it was flying rather than on the ground before we hit it, as I'm aware the likelihood of any successful claim from that would be pretty much zero.
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