How to Make a Car Insurance Claim

Whether you’ve recently been in a fender bender or you’d just like to know how to make a claim on your car insurance for future reference, is here to give you all the information you need to make the process go as smoothly as possible.

A 5-Step Guide to Making a Car Insurance Claim

Once you’re clear on whether the damage is worth claiming for and whether you’re covered for the incident, it’s time to get down to making the actual claim. Here’s everything you need to do depending on your specific insurer’s requirements:

  1. Collect Information: Gather key details about the incident.
  2. Document the Incident: Take photos and draw a sketch of the scene.
  3. File a Police Report: Head to the police station to get a case number.
  4. Contact Your Insurer: Report the incident and get all the documentation you need.
  5. Meet the Claims Adjuster: Arrange vehicle inspection and provide any necessary information.

1. Collect Informations

The first thing you’ll want to do after being involved in an incident is gather key details about the events.

If there was another driver or person involved, that would include their name, contact details and insurance information. The same goes for anyone who might have witnessed the incident.

2. Document the Incident

A picture is worth a thousand words. Especially on police reports and insurance claims. Take photos of the damage to your vehicle and any person or property. Then draw a sketch of the scene and note down all road signs, markings, and other details.

3. File a Police Report

What you'd get for your car if you sold it second hand.

4. Contact Your Insurer

It’s time to get in touch with your insurance company. Most insurers have 24/7 claims hotlines that you can call to initiate the claims process.

When you get in touch with your provider, you’ll want to have the following information nearby:

Next, your insurer will send you some forms to fill out. You’ll complete those and submit them along with any other necessary documentation.

5. Meet the Claims Adjuster

An insurance adjuster will be assigned to your claim. Depending on your insurer’s internal policies, they may send someone to inspect the damage to your vehicle. Alternatively, they may assess the damage right from the photos you send.

What Happens After I Claim?

Your insurer will either approve or reject your claim.

Approval could involve getting authorisations to have the necessary repairs carried out on your vehicle or getting you a new set of wheels.

In the case of repairs, you’d likely have to take your vehicle to an approved auto shop to get the necessary work done. Alternatively, you might be sent to shop around for a few quotes for your insurer to assess.

For replacements, your insurer is likely to make a payout based on the insured value of your car, so that you can buy your new ride.

Make, Model and Manufacture Year

One of the biggest factors in determining what your car is worth is what make and model it is. When it was produced also plays a role in affecting the value.

Newer cars generally have a higher value because they haven’t been on the road and subject to as much wear and tear as their older counterparts. The make and model matter because some brands and types of cars hold their value better than others.

Moreover, as your car ages, it depreciates. In other words, it loses value over time. Depreciation is a standard factor in valuing assets. Imagine you own a three-year-old Toyota Corolla and your friend has a three-year-old BMW 1 series, both in the same condition. Even though both cars are the same age, the BMW will likely have a higher insurance value because of its higher sales price.

When Should I Make a Car Insurance Claim?

Knowing when to claim from your insurance company is just as important as understanding the claims process.

The type of car insurance you have will be a determining factor in whether you’re able to submit a claim to your insurance company. While comprehensive insurance covers most motoring misfortunes, other options don’t give you as much freedom to claim.

Comprehensive Car Insurance

This is all-inclusive insurance. It gives you the most financial protection out of any of the car insurance options available in South Africa.

Protects against: 

A little less, well, comprehensive than comprehensive car insurance, third party, fire, and theft insurance does exactly what it says on the tin.

Protects against: 

The most basic form of car insurance. Third party only cover will only pay to repair damage that you cause to someone else’s car in an accident.

Protects against:

The severity of the incident your car is involved in will be a big determiner in whether or not you submit a claim.

If your car is lost or destroyed, you’ll likely want to get a payout from your insurer to replace it. For incidents that aren’t as damaging, you might want to skip the claim altogether. This all depends on the terms of your policy.

Excess is a big factor here. In short, it’s the portion of the bill that you’re responsible for paying to repair or replace your car if it gets damaged, destroyed or stolen.

It might seem unfair that you have to chip in to repair your vehicle when you already pay monthly premiums. But excess has some super important functions in the insurance world. It: 

All three of these benefits help your insurer to keep your monthly premiums at a price point that works for your wallet. Which makes it a win-win for both of you.

To figure out whether you should submit a claim, you’ll want to weigh the cost and benefit of repairing your vehicle against the amount of excess you’d need to pay to get the repairs done.

Let’s take a look at a couple of scenarios that would justify a claim.


Claiming for major accidents that cause significant damage to your car—whether it’s just your car or someone else is involved—is usually a no-brainer.

The same goes for incidents where you accidentally damage someone else’s property, like boundary walls. They’ll probably want you to pay for their stuff to be repaired, so it’s best to be prepared. Read your insurance contract to see exactly what would be covered.

Theft or Hijacking

Around 60 cars are stolen in South Africa every day . If you happen to wake up and find that your car isn’t where you left it—or if someone takes it off your hands while you’re driving it—that calls for an insurance report.

Natural Disaster Damage

‘Natural disaster’ might make you think of tsunamis, lava flows, and other catastrophic events that we don’t really see in South Africa. But heavy rains, hail and veld fires fall into this category and they cause plenty of damage to Mzansi’s vehicles every year.


Whether your doors have been used as a canvas by an overly enthusiastic street artist or someone’s decided to kick off your side mirror, vandalism can be expensive to repair and it’s usually worth reporting to your insurer.


Your car could be burned to a crisp because of a natural disaster. Or it might be the act of some pesky vandals. Either way, fire damage is usually quite significant and you’ll probably want to claim on your insurance policy.

Will Claiming Affect My Premiums?

In a nutshell, yes, your premiums will be affected if you make a car insurance claim.

The impact will vary based on the nature of the incident and your claims history. But submitting a claim signals to your insurer that your risk profile has increased.

A good way to avoid this is by opting for car insurance add-ons like tyre and rim guard and scratch and dent cover . These extras serve as a preventive shield against common mishaps, covering damages that might otherwise prompt a claim.

Tyre & rim guard

Don’t let potholes and other forms of road degradation drive you mad—get tyre and rim guard.

Scratch & dent cover

Keep your car looking like it’s just rolled off the showroom floor with scratch & dent cover.

Get Covered Now, Claim Later

If you’ve made it this far, you’re officially a pro at navigating the world of car insurance claims.

Maybe you collided with a street pole that just jumped out of nowhere when you were reversing. Or perhaps someone else took a corner a little too quickly and clipped your car. Or you might just have wanted to brush up on making a car insurance claim.

Whatever your motivation, if you find that your current insurer’s claims process is a little too convoluted for your liking, is here to help you find better today.

Our car insurance comparison tool allows you to gather detailed estimates from South Africa’s top insurers in under two minutes. So you know that you are getting the best deal and service in town.

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