If you need to file a claim against your car insurance policy after an accident, you’ll likely need to provide a lot of information, which might be difficult if you’re injured. For this reason alone, you should consider familiarising yourself with how to file a car insurance claim, both against someone else’s policy as well as your own should the need arise. You may also want to find out what happens if a police report needs to be filed and if there are other legal requirements.
How do I claim against someone else’s car insurance?
A car accident often involves at least one at-fault driver but establishing who is at fault can be tedious and may even require looking at footage from any available cameras.
If you are involved in an accident, your priority, whether or not you’re responsible, is to put down all possible information about it, including when and where it occurred and details of the other car and driver. If you’re not at fault and have sustained injuries, you’ll also need the details of the other driver’s CTP insurance provider. You should consider taking photos or videos of the accident site if possible as a backup for your description.
You will need to share all of the information about the accident and other drivers involved with your insurer, so consider checking if you can do so through either their website or mobile app, via email, or by phone.
You’ll likely not need to submit anything physically, but speak to your insurer if you prefer having this option. The insurance provider will then seek to confirm who caused the accident and, accordingly, work on settling the claim by negotiating with the other driver’s insurer. You may need to inform the other driver, possibly in writing, if you plan to file an insurance claim against them.
How long does a car insurance claim take to settle?
The time it takes to process a car insurance claim depends a lot on how quickly liability can be established, although compensation for injuries covered by CTP insurance is usually awarded at the earliest.
When there is no doubt as to who caused the accident, a claim can be filed against them, which may even be settled within the ten-day response period mandated for insurers. However, your insurer will have to inform you if processing the claim may take longer, which could happen for several reasons such as delays in getting a quote for the damages caused or waiting for the police to complete their investigation.
Although you will likely be involved in the accident, the sooner you can report it to your insurer, providing as much detail as possible, the faster your claim is likely to be processed. In case you need to report the accident to the police, you should consider doing that at the earliest as well, even if the usual deadline for doing so gives you approximately a month’s time.
However, suppose the accident is not a significant one, and no one is injured. In that case, you may consider not filing a car insurance claim and instead settle any damages directly with the other driver, especially if the cost of repairs isn’t more than the excess you’ve agreed to cover. You should remember that car insurance claims affect the premium each time you file a claim.
How can I appeal a car insurance claim decision?
Your insurance provider needs to inform you in writing if your car insurance claim is denied, explicitly stating the reasons. For instance, your claim may be refused if the damage caused isn’t covered by your car insurance policy or if your insurer feels you’ve not disclosed the full details either about yourself, your vehicle, or the accident.
If you feel your car insurance claim has been unfairly denied, you can consider submitting a written complaint to your insurer’s Internal Dispute Resolution (IDR) department. If they reject your complaint, you can escalate it to the Australian Financial Complaints Authority’s (AFCA) General Insurance Division or your state’s consumer claims tribunal.
Filing a complaint with the AFCA is free, and your insurer may have no choice but to accept their decision. However, you’ll have to file the complaint within two years of your insurer’s IDR rejecting the complaint, besides which the AFCA may require you to modify your complaint if your claim amount is too high. If your car insurance claim has not been denied, but you aren’t satisfied with the settlement, you may only be able to negotiate with the insurer for what you consider a fairer settlement.