How long after a car accident can you file a car insurance claim in Australia?

How long after a car accident can you file a car insurance claim in Australia?

While there is no specified car insurance claim time limit in Australia, your insurer will likely expect you to submit a claim soon after an accident. This may be especially necessary if there is any doubt regarding who caused the accident, and in case there are significant damage claims.

However, your CTP insurance provider may expect you to file claims for any injuries within a month of the accident, although in some states this limit may be extended to a year depending on whether the accident becomes a legal issue, and possibly involves a police investigation.

Is there a time limit on car insurance claims?

A car accident can be a traumatic experience, and even if you don’t suffer or cause any physical injuries, there may be damage to your or others’ cars or property. You may not need to file an insurance claim if you and others involved agree that the damage is minor and can be settled mutually. However, if you decide to file an insurance claim, your insurer should ideally respond to you within ten days, or at least inform you about how long the car insurance investigation can take. In case either you are injured or your car is damaged in an accident caused by another driver, you may need to notify them in writing that you are planning to claim compensation from them.

Again, while there may not be a time limit on car insurance claims, there may be several factors that affect the claims settlement process. For instance, the accident might involve a police investigation, or the driver responsible for the accident may have absconded.

If you or the other driver are seriously injured, it may take a long time to file a claim after the car accident. You may need to check the limits per your state laws for how long after an accident you can make a claim. In Victoria, for example, someone under 18 injured in an accident may be able to make a claim any time before they turn 21.

How long does it take to settle car insurance claims?

It is usually difficult to establish a car insurance claim settlement time frame as your insurer will need to verify the details of the accident and check whether the claim submitted is genuine, sometimes after consulting any other insurance provider involved. The insurance provider will likely also check whether your policy covers, for instance, not only your liability but also damages to your car.

Suppose your car rego covers CTP insurance, and you’ve purchased third party property damage cover. In that case, your liability for others’ injuries and damage to their vehicle or property will probably be covered, but the cost of repairing your car may not be.

You may ask your insurer about how long an insurance claim check might take when you submit the claim, but consider that such an insurance claim check likely depends on how long after the accident you make a claim and how much detail you are able to provide in your accident description.

Since you only get one chance at filing an insurance claim, you may want to take time to make sure you’ve got all the details right, and perhaps also inspect your car thoroughly for damages if necessary. There may also be injury-related complications in terms of recollecting the details of the accident as well as filing a car insurance claim. 

Equally, you may have personal reasons for wanting a shorter claim settlement time frame such as needing to settle hospital bills or pay off the credit card which you used for emergency expenses or repairs to your car. You may be entitled to getting an update from your insurer every 20 days, irrespective of how long it takes to settle the car insurance claim. You may also need to discuss updates to your car insurance policy after the accident, as well as an increase in the cost of your car insurance policy.

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Learn more about car insurance

Does insurance cover a stolen car if keys were in the car?

A car insurance policy that covers the theft of your car, such as third party fire and theft insurance, usually covers a stolen car, even if the keys were in the car’s ignition.

However, your insurer may deny the claim if you live in an area where there have been several car robberies reported recently. They will see you leaving the keys in the car as a case of negligence. In such cases, your insurance provider may even expect you to have installed anti-theft security measures in your car. 

You may need to confirm whether or not you left your keys in your car, and if they had been stolen or misplaced, before filing your car insurance claim. The loss or theft of your car keys may be covered by a comprehensive car insurance policy, but usually as an optional item.

If you can confirm that your car keys were stolen, mention this in your claim as this will help establish that your car was not stolen as a result of your negligence.

Can you insure your car for 6 months?

Most Australian insurers won’t offer you a 6-month car insurance policy, so you may need to buy a policy that covers your car for damages and cancel it after six months. You will need to purchase comprehensive car insurance to protect your car from accidental damage, theft, vandalism, or natural disasters.. 

Consider checking whether your 6-month comprehensive car insurance will cost more if you pay monthly or six-monthly premiums instead of a one-time annual premium. Another question to ask the insurer is whether you’ll need to pay administration or cancellation fees when you cancel the policy.

Alternatively, you can look for a suitable ‘pay as you drive’ car insurance policy, which usually offers you the coverage of a comprehensive car insurance policy but only requires you to pay for the distance driven. Such a policy may not be the ideal 6-month car insurance plan as it is based on how much you drive rather than for how long. If you need to drive a lot, you may end up paying more than you’d pay for regular car insurance. 

Can I drive a new car without insurance?

It is illegal to drive a car in Australia without insurance. Most states require that you get your insurance in place before you drive the car off the dealership’s plot. So, the answer to whether driving a new car without insurance is no, it is not allowed.

The only time you can possibly legally drive an uninsured car is when you have to get the vehicle registered. You should drive straight to an inspection station or your state's vehicle registry. You must also make sure that you take the most direct or convenient route possible.

It is important to note that your compulsory third party insurance (CTP or green slip) isn’t valid until your car is registered.

Driving an unregistered or uninsured vehicle can have severe legal repercussions. If you are involved in an accident, and are driving an unregistered and uninsured vehicle, you will be personally liable to pay compensation to anyone hurt, as well as for damages. If you are caught driving a vehicle without insurance, you may be fined or even have your vehicle seized.