Car accidents happen in an instant - and sometimes you’re stuck with paying for the damages even in situations when it wasn’t your fault. So it’s good to know that most car insurance policies make provisions to cover damages in these situations. Ensure that you’re protected from losses due to unfortunate incidents like this by knowing how to process a car insurance claim when you are not at fault in Australia.
Collect evidence to support your claim
Before you submit your claim, collect evidence that will establish that you were not at fault. Car accidents can be tricky, and there's not always a straightforward answer to who should be held responsible. Even if you’re confident that the accident was not your fault, you should collect evidence to support your claim. This will help your case and speed up the claims process.
Here are a few things you can do to help strengthen your claim.
Keep a record of everything that happened
Take photos of the damage, of both cars, of the location and anything else you think may be relevant. Try to get written or recorded statements from witnesses if any and any dashcam recordings if available. By keeping a record of everything possible, it can help to make your case and claim stronger.
Get all of the other driver's details
Once you establish that the people involved in the accident are safe, remember to take the other driver's details. Make a note of their full name, address, driver’s licence number, number plate details, phone number, insurer and their policy information. If they refuse to disclose any of this information or if it’s a case of ‘hit and run’, you can always try to get help from the police.
Get in touch with your insurer immediately
Make sure to inform your insurer at your earliest, and safest, convenience. If you leave it too long, it can impact your claim process negatively. If you don’t feel you’re at fault you should still inform your insurer. You may have to make a claim in the future due to the other driver not having insurance, leaving the scene or not believing they’re at fault.
Will making a claim affect your no-claim bonus or premium?
If your insurer is satisfied with your evidence and accepts that the accident is not your fault. They are unlikely to make changes to your no-claim bonus even when you make a claim. This might vary depending on the type of cover and your insurer. Make sure to read your Product Disclosure Document (PDS) carefully to avoid any unexpected shocks.
As far as your premium is concerned, it’s more than likely that your car insurance will not increase after an accident where you’re not at fault. Again this varies based on your insurer and policy, so check your PDS to find out for sure.
What should you do if you’re not insured?
What happens when you’re in a car accident where you’re not at fault with no insurance? Does this mean you’ll have to bear all the costs alone? Not exactly. In Australia, all vehicles have to be covered by at least a Compulsory Third Party (CTP) insurance policy. It covers individuals injured or killed during an accident. It doesn’t cover the damage to either car or any property so you will have to pay for those costs.
If you’re concerned about the costs of any possible accidents, you might want to consider taking out comprehensive car insurance. Comprehensive car insurance is the highest level of protection you can take out for any car insurance in Australia. If your car is damaged, stolen, vandalised, or written off, a comprehensive car insurance policy will ensure you are covered.
How to claim car insurance when you are not at fault
The first step is to request a claim form from your insurer. This will allow you sufficient time to access your notes about the incident and answer all questions carefully.
If your insurer prefers you to lodge the claim immediately and over the phone, make sure you’re not still in shock. Before getting on a call, think about what you’re going to say to make sure it’s easy to understand. Your insurer is likely to record your conversation and may use it while deciding the final claim amount. You can even make a summary based on your evidence and share it with your insurer in an email separately. If you don’t feel like you’re in the correct state of mind to make a claim, explain this to your insurer. They should allow you to just give them the basic details and ask if you can call back later to discuss it further.
To ensure you’re not bearing the cost of something that you didn’t cause, it would be best if you had suitable car insurance. You can compare your options, understand the type of coverage on offer and make your purchase online.