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What is the Time Limit for Car Insurance Claims?

When you’re unfortunate enough to be involved in a car accident, there are many things to consider — injuries, liability, costs, vehicle repairs and more. In most cases, vehicle accident claims begin within a few days of the accident taking place, but there may be some instances where you’ll not claim straight away and so you may be wondering exactly how long you have to make the claim.

In this blog, we will be looking at the time limits and deadlines associated with car insurance claims in more detail.

Instances where you might wait before making a claim

If you or any other party involved in the accident didn’t sustain any injuries

If there are no injuries and only minor damage to the vehicle, it may be worth waiting to see if the damage worsens before filing a claim. This could save you money on your excess and prevent your premium from increasing.

If the cost of damages is lower than your excess

If the cost of damage to your vehicle is lower than your excess, it may be worth paying out of pocket, as filing a claim could result in a premium increase. Most people will not fully know the extent of the damage to their vehicle before consulting with a few workshops and gathering some quotes for the work. This process can take time and may be why someone would delay a claim.

If there are disputes over liability

If there are disputes over who is liable for the accident, it may be worth waiting to file a claim until the disputes are resolved.

If there is a possibility of exceeding coverage limits

If you were involved in a major accident that caused significant damage or injuries to others, it may be worth waiting to file a claim until you have a better understanding of the extent of the damages.

If you want to avoid a premium increase

Filing a claim could lead to a premium increase, so you may want to wait to file a claim until you can afford the increase or until the premium increase period has passed.

As you can see, there are a multitude of reasons why you may choose to wait before making a claim, but how long do you have until the claim window closes?

What is the car insurance claim time limit in the UK?

The time limit for filing a car accident claim is typically three years from the date of the incident.

This applies to claiming vehicle damage reparation as well as compensation for personal injuries. If your injuries were not identifiable immediately, the three-year time limit for making a claim will start from the date when the injuries were diagnosed.

Court case claims time limit for car accident claims

Personal injury claims, like those arising from car accidents, have a three-year time limit before becoming statute-barred. This means that unless the claim has been filed and gone to court within that time or meets specific criteria, the claim cannot proceed to court.

According to the law, the car accident claim must be settled (including payment of personal injury compensation to the victim) or legal proceedings must have been initiated before the three-year time limit expires.

What is the personal injury claim time limit for children involved in a car accident?

If a child is hurt in a car accident, they cannot file a motor accident claim until they turn 18. The time to make a claim will be on hold until then. Once they turn 18, they have until their 21st birthday to take legal action.


That being said, their parent or legal guardian can act as a “litigation friend” and make a claim on their behalf. To be appointed as a litigation friend, the court must determine that the parent or guardian is acting competently, fairly, and without any conflicts of interest with the child’s claim.

Can I claim for an accident after three years?

In most cases, you will not be able to make a car accident insurance claim after the three-year period has elapsed.

There are few exceptions, one being If you only realise later on that your injuries were caused by negligence, it’s called the “date of knowledge.” In such cases, you may have up to three years from the date of knowledge to file a claim.

There are a small number of other instances where you may be granted an extension on the three-year time limit. For professional advice concerning personal injury claims that have occurred as a result of a car accident, we’d always recommend consulting with solicitors who specialise in this specific area of the law.

Car body repairs as part of an insurance claim

Although you may only have three years to make an insurance claim for vehicle damage repair wherein your insurer will cover the majority of your costs, there is no limit to how long you can wait to get your car repaired if you’re willing to foot the bill yourself.

At Southend Smart Repairs, we’d always recommend getting your car body fixed as a matter of priority because any damage left unrepaired can lead to further issues down the line. We offer a wide range of affordable repair solutions that can help get your car back on track, and don’t require an insurance claim.

Ultimately, when it comes to filing an insurance claim connected to a car accident, it pays to take your time and consider all your options. It’s important to remember that there are time limits in place, so it’s best to make sure you act within the three-year period or risk being unable to pursue legal action and if you’re looking for a reputable car body specialist to get your car’s exterior back to showroom condition, either as part of an insurance claim or not, then feel free to contact our friendly team for an instant quote.

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