Is there a time limit on making an insurance claim?

My wife reversed her Vauxhall Meriva into a stationary BMW in a supermarket car park in March 2017. Very minor rub marks were left on both cars (I polished ours out). She waited until the owner came out of the shop to confess' and gave him our phone number. He later called and explained that the car was only three weeks old but the damage looked very slight - possibly just a 'polish out'. I asked that he let me know the likely cost of repair as I would rather pay for it than go through my insurance company. He agreed and was happy for me to give him details of a local repair shop in my village that I knew to be a quality set up, under no obligation. I heard nothing back and assumed it was too little to bother about, until tonight - 10 weeks later - when I received a text asking for my insurance details as another repairer has said the whole panel will need to be replaced at "considerable expense" and he must have it done as it is a lease car. To complicate matters, I changed insurance companies earlier this month and my 20 years no claims has been passed on to my new insurers. Can he make a claim after so long when there may well have been a different incident that caused further damage?

Asked on 23 May 2017 by Andy Griffiths

Answered by Tim Kelly
He can claim up to six years. So ten weeks is nothing. You can still offer to do what you initially advised. If your insurer are aware, contact them and ask them for a copy of the third party's insurer engineer's report and repair details. See if it is consistent with the damage that your wife caused. If it is, you can still offer to buy the claim of the insurer so it does not affect your policy if it is a low value claim. If he is asking for your insurance details, I'm assuming he has not contacted your insurer yet, so ask him for a copy of the repair "pro forma invoice" and see if it is consistent. Do bare in mind, for even a small scuff to be repaired correctly it can involve painting the panels adjacent to the damaged one and be a lot more expensive than a layperson expects.
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