Every year, tens of thousands of Australian motorists are involved in vehicle accidents, so you’re right in wondering “what happens if I need to make a car insurance claim that is not my fault?” Below you’ll find five important things you need to know in advance.
Know your rights
Motor accidents are stressful and the possibility of finding yourself stranded without a vehicle only adds to the stress. The first thing you need to know is that you’re entitled to a replacement car, which we provide to you at the cost of the at fault insurer. And remember, replacement vehicles should be of at least similar standard as your car.
Contact the authorities
Although tensions may be running high right after an accident, you only need to contact the police if the other driver refuses to provide their details. When contacting the police, make sure they give you a Police Event Number, which you’ll need to submit to your insurer and keep for your record.
Capture all the details
After the initial shock it’s normal to experience some confusion, but this is the time to gather details from the at-fault driver, including name, address, vehicle make, model, year, and registration number, and their insurer’s name. Be sure to look for witnesses and take their statements and contact details. You should also make a note of the circumstances surrounding the accident, including time of the day, lighting and weather conditions, how was the traffic at the time, and anything that may help determine the cause of the accident. Capture as many details as possible in writing and using photographs, and don’t forget to draw a diagram and keep it for your records: insurance claim forms may ask you to provide one and it’s always more accurate to rely on information taken at the time of the accident.
If things go wrong
In some cases, the insurance company repairing your car whether your own insurer or the at fault insurer may make the process fairly difficult for you and you may believe that you are being unfairly treated. If this happens, you may need to resort to the Internal Dispute Resolution department (IDR) of that particular insurer, so that they may have a look and see what their team has done and make sure that they are complying with all that is required.
Should you claim?
“Should I pursue a car insurance claim that is not my fault?”, you may wonder. In cases where you’re not at fault, you should always have a professional panel beater assess the damage to your vehicle as in many instances a lot of the damage may not initially be visible to the untrained eye or may in fact be underneath your plastic bumper bar for instance. Until someone actually looks underneath, you will not know the extent of the damage. It’s always best to have any damage whether big or small attended to.