A lot of people will find themselves in a road accident at some point during their lives. Being involved in one is stressful enough as it is, but when the vehicle you’re driving isn’t legally yours, the situation can prove to be a lot more nerve-wracking. That being said, there are practical steps you can take to make the situation easier.
CarFinance Plus, which specialises in finding no deposit car finance deals for all types of borrowers gives us a lowdown on what to do if you find yourself in this rather tricky scenario.
Stop the car and call the police
Failing to stop your vehicle at the scene of an accident can result in legal action, even if nobody is badly hurt. Moreover, calling the police within 24 hours is essential even in small accidents, since not doing so will mean you don’t get an accident reference number, which will then invalidate your insurance policy.
Assuming everyone is able to, the parties involved should exchange names, addresses, phone numbers, car models, makes and registration number and insurance details. It’s also wise to record exactly what happened, such as time of day and weather conditions. This is where having a phone comes in handy, because taking photos of the scene of the incident can really help to paint a better picture of what happened for when making your insurance claim.
Inform the insurance and leasing companies
You must notify your insurer within 24 hours of the incident as failing to do so can mean your policy becomes void. You’ll have to explain what happened and pass on the details you received from the other people involved so that they too can be contacted for further information.
It’s also wise to be straight up with all parties, so we suggest informing the car leasing company as they are the legal owners of the damaged vehicle. If the car needs fixing, they may also have specific places where the vehicle can be repaired and where it cannot and it’s essential to check all of these things before being handed a hefty fine at the end of your lease.
Where there is only minor damage, you may not even be liable if it falls under a ‘fair wear and tear’ clause in the agreement.
What to do when the lease car is written off
In most cases your insurance company will directly negotiate with your car lease company, though policies vary between organisations, so it’s important to check the terms carefully. To avoid costly bills when this type of accident happens, many finance companies will offer GAP (Guaranteed Asset Protection) insurance – and it’s very wise to take this additional policy.
GAP insurance protects the borrower from any extortionate costs in the event of lease car write-offs and means you will not have to pay the sum between the price that your insurance company offers for the vehicle and the remaining finance owed.