Liable for hire car costs?

I recently had a very minor rear end bump in which the left hand front corner of my vehicle damaged the right hand rear corner of the vehicle infront. The collision occurred in the snow and ice as my car slid into the car infront at very slow speed with the foot and hand brakes applied. The damage to my car was negligible and there was some scratches/scuffs to the other vehicle on the rear corner only.

I took photographs of this (later sent to my insurer) whilst the other driver took my details, unfortnately he did not provide me with any contact details but I was contacted by my insurers two weeks later and notified of a claim.

A few days later I was told that there was no structural damage to the car and the car was driveable. I have since been told that the car is to be written off as a total loss because it is not economical to replace the bumper (which I dispute needs replacing given the damage done) and my insurers are sending a cheque in the sum of £700 to the other driver for the value of his car.

I have also been told throughout that I could settle with my insurer to avoid affecting my no claims being affected - however when I asked about this at the time of being notified of the car being written off I was told there are additional costs for the hire car supplied to the other driver whilst his car is off the road.

I was not told the total costs of this but was particularly alarmed. I previously was told that there was no structural damage to the car and that it was driveable, and it was some time before the other driver reported the claim after the incident. The damage that was caused was only minor cosmetic damage.

Is it reasonable to supply a hire car in circumstances where the car is driveable and the damage was so minimal? I accept that the other driver may have needed a car for a day whilst his car was assessed but I do not see that it would have needed to have been kept off of the road and a hire car supplied.

Am I able to challenge this with my insurers? This is still ongoing and I would really appreciate your advice.

Asked on 27 February 2013 by Elli12

Answered by Honest John
No. Completely unreasonable and a clear failure to 'mitigate' costs if the driver of a perfectly legal and roadworthy car is put into a credit hire car. Refuse to pay. Demand that your insurer refuses to pay. And go to court over the matter if necessary.
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