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An insurer approaches you to settle a claim
If you're injured or your vehicle is damaged in a road accident and it's not your fault you may be approached directly by the other person's insurer to try and settle the claim with them directly. This is called third party capture or third party assistance.
Insurers are legally allowed to do this. However, it's important to know that you don't have to settle the claim in this way, and that the other person's insurer won't be acting in your best interests.
This page tells you what you should think about before taking up an offer to settle a claim directly from another insurer.
If you need to make a personal injury claim, check your home contents insurance cover as it might include legal expenses insurance.
What to think about before accepting an offer from another insurer
If you've been injured or suffered trauma as a result of your accident you may be feeling vulnerable. If the other person's insurer contacts you to try and settle the claim, it may be tempting to accept an offer to avoid any more stress or delay. However, this may not be in your best interests.
Before you decide to accept an offer, think about the following things:
- you don't have to accept any offer that's made to you. If you do accept an offer it might be lower than the compensation you would have got if you'd used a solicitor or gone to court instead
- don't feel under any pressure to make a decision quickly. You have up to three years from when the accident happened to make a claim for compensation
- if you've been hurt, get a full medical assessment, to confirm any injuries you've got and the likely impact on your life
- if an insurer offers you payment or asks you to sign something, make sure you know what it's for
- you don't have to use a solicitor that an insurer offers to arrange for you. You can appoint your own at any time or seek independent legal advice.
If you need more help
If you need some help to make up your mind, you could contact your own insurer for advice.
Some insurers have a legal helpline for their customers - check your paperwork or your insurer’s website to see if yours has one.
You could speak to a solicitor, though you’ll have to pay a fee. You can find solicitors in your area on the Law Society website.
If you can’t afford a solicitor you might be able to get free legal help from a LawWorks clinic that deals with insurance law. You can find a legal advice clinic near you on the LawWorks website.
If you’re unhappy with the other person’s insurer
You can complain to the other person’s insurer if you think they’re being unfair or putting pressure on you. You should be able to find the insurer’s contact details on their website or on any paperwork they’ve sent you.
You can find advice on how to complain on the the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) website.
The FCA has a helpline for consumers:
FCA consumer helpline
Telephone: 0800 111 6768 (freephone) or 0300 500 8082
Typetalk: 18001 0800 111 6768
8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday (except public holidays) and 9am to 1pm, Saturday