The freedom to grab your keys and take your car for a spin whenever you want is, let’s face it, next to none. Aside from the obvious pro that a car essentially gets you from A to B, nothing comes close to the release it can provide when you’re cruising along the roads, not a care in the world… apart from safety, which should always be paramount, of course. Did you know that in Spain alone, there were 921 fatal car accidents in 2021, resulting in 1,004 fatalities and another 3,728 who were seriously injured. Although there’s a lack of data on the causes of each and every one of these accidents, the fact of the matter is that they can and do happen, whether due to your culpability, another driver’s or as a result of environment-related factors. This is why it’s always important to be up to speed on what your policy covers when it comes to types of car insurance claims. If you’re not too sure what type of claim you can file or the actual process to do so, we’ve got your covered in this article.
First things first, what is a car insurance claim?
A claim is a fundamental part of an insurance contract. It is essentially when one of the insured risks occurs, leading to a loss, and the insurance company is obligated to pay out compensation within the limits and in compliance with the exclusions specified in the contract.
What types of car insurance claims are there?
There are a range of different car insurance claims that virtually any driver may need to file at some stage of their lives. In simple terms, they can be categorised according to the intensity level of the damage caused, or according to the statistical regularity of the risk from which they originate. Let’s take a closer look at the first of the two.
1. According to the intensity level of the damage caused:
This occurs when the insured car is lost or completely destroyed or damaged to the extent that no money can be recovered. A vehicle may be written off (declared a total loss) if it cannot be repaired with a sufficient degree of safety or an expert report states that its repair is not economically practical, i.e., the cost of the repair is higher than the current value of the vehicle.
This occurs when the insured vehicle sustains damage but which does not lead to its total destruction. This in turn means that the insurance company does not pay the full amount.
Now that we’ve briefly touched on the two types of car insurance claims according to the intensity of the damages, let’s take a look at the second classification.
2. According to the statistical regularity of the risk from which the claim arises:
Sounds complicated, right? Let’s break it down into simpler terms. In this subsection, there are another two types of claims: ordinary and extraordinary.
This essentially refers to any claim that derives from “normal” risks, e.g., a blow to the vehicle. We’ll delve further into other types of ordinary claims below.
This type of claim stems from events with a remote and exceptional probability but which, if they do occur, cause considerable damage to the vehicle. A good example to grasp this type of claim could be natural phenomena, for example, an earthquake, or other force majeure events, including war. It is worth pointing out that insurance companies in Spain do not tend to cover these types of claims, as they are usually covered by the Consorcio de Compensación de Seguros [Spanish Insurance Compensation Consortium].
Now that we’ve got the technical jargon covered, how about we take a look at some of the most common ordinary types of car insurance claims.
The most common type that we’re all familiar with is an accident. It gets trickier and slightly more intricate depending on the culpability, i.e., the driver who is at fault, and also the type of cover your policy contains. In Spain, it’s obligatory to have basic third-party cover, but this might not cover all of the damage resulting from the accident, which is why you should be up to speed on the level of cover your insurance offers.
Another common type of claim that drivers might need to file is for windscreen damage. Believe it or not, not all policies provide this type of cover, especially the more basic variety. And unfortunately, this type of damage is relatively common, whether it be due to a fallen branch from a tree or a nick or break, and is considerably costly to repair, so it might be worth looking into taking out a more comprehensive policy that covers this type of claim.
Unfortunately, no matter where you live, car thefts can happen, especially depending on the city and indeed the area within that city. Thieves can either steal the entire vehicle or its parts, including tyres or batteries. Whether or not your policy covers this type of claim, or at least partially, depends on various factors, including the neighbourhood where you parked the car, the condition of the locks, among others. It’s worth noting that not a lot of basic car insurance policies will offer this type of cover, so be sure you’re aware by reading the terms and conditions.
Both Caser’s Extended Third-Party and Caser’s Comprehensive car insurance cover in this regard offers replacements and repairs of the damaged or stolen parts, compensation for tyres and batteries, cleaning and reconditioning, as well as replacement vehicle (conditions apply). Click here for further info, as well as other risks that are covered.
It would be simple if the only types of car insurance claims included the above, but there are a range of others, including fire damage, animal collisions, and driving licence revocation, to name but a few. We don’t like to go on and on, but once again, read your policy back to front and, in the event of any doubts, get in touch with your insurance agent.
How to file a claim
If you’ve been unlucky enough to sustain any of the above and need to make a claim for the damages you’ve suffered, be sure to check out this post with all the ins and outs to ensure the process is as painless as possible.
Regardless of the number of years you’ve racked up as a licenced driver on the road, there are a range of factors that are out of our hands that can unfortunately lead to the need to file a claim. Yeah, the insurance terminology can be daunting when taking out a policy, but make sure you’ve read our article: Spanish vocabulary to take out an insurance policy, to get everything under control. A Spanish friend’s help is always a great idea - this way, you will be up to speed on what your policy will actually cover and in turn, save yourself from having to bear a hefty bill. In the meantime, and to the extent possible, read up and drive safely.