KuwaitLiving in Kuwait

Car accident insurance procedures: What you need to know

No one wants to be involved in a traffic accident, regardless whether it is minor or significant. As a driver, you always exercise caution to avoid accidents as much as possible. But you can never tell when an accident will happen, and when it does, you have to calm down and face the situation.
After being involved in an accident, I found it difficult to deal with the police, the insurance company, and finally the car repair garage. The process from the time of the accident to the return of the car normally can take days or weeks depending on the damages done.

Probably your insurance company allows a replacement, depending on your insurance policy. In Kuwait, there are two distinct types of auto insurance policies – full car insurance worth around KD 200 or KD 250, and regular insurance worth KD 17 or KD 19, depending on the type of your car.

But first you’ll have to deal with the tedious wait for the traffic police to come to the site of the accident. After the police arrive, they will take the documents of both parties involved and tell to follow the patrol car to the nearest police station, which is the last place you would want to visit. The traffic accident I was involved in was a multiple collision involving three cars. My car was big, so it wasn’t as badly damaged compared to the other cars. But there was no way to let it go and forget about the accident.

The accident took place at about 5 pm, but I was able to complete the paperwork at the police station only by 10:30 pm, since the police investigator was out of his office. After hours of waiting, he arrived, but our case could not be processed since I needed an interpreter. The police investigator told me to call an Arabic-speaking colleague. Thankfully, an Arab friend arrived in a few minutes.

After the settlement at the police station, I decided to leave the car for one day in the parking space, and on the second day, I started the insurance claim process. I brought with me the police report as required by the company. They also took copies of my civil ID and car registration. It was quick and easy at first, but the succeeding days were tedious. I agreed to get repair work done at my original car dealer, but the approval took about 15 days. I thought that it would take only three days for the repairs considering the damage was minor, but the company told me it will take around 15 days as well. If you sum it up, the whole process takes at least 30 days or more before you can ever have your car back again.

The rollup banner inside the office of the insurance company seems too good to be true. Based on the step by step instructions posted there, it says a call or a visit from the insurance company starts the process for the claim. It says it only takes a maximum of eight days for a relatively small accident (depending on the damage). For those with full insurance, they are ready to dispatch a tow truck if needed (step 1), and a replacement car will be provided if mentioned in the insurance policy (step 2).

You are required to photograph the damage to the car (step 3), then the insurance company will assign a company to repair your car (step 4). It says it will take two working days to assess the damage to your car by the company assigned to repair your car (step 5), then assessors will recommend/determine the amount to be shouldered by the company (by a higher authority in the insurance company) for final approval (step 6). If the higher official signs the repair order, the repair will go through.

In step 7, initial customer feedback is taken into consideration, then the officer at the insurance company will have to update the owner of the car with regards to the status of their vehicle through live video via smartphone camera (step 8) and repair the car (step 9). Step 10 is the most important – here they will determine whether the repair is done accordingly, and will pass through strict quality controls. The car will be checked out (step 11), and finally (step 12), the customer will participate in a survey on their experience throughout the repair period.

By Ben Garcia

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