If you’ve ever been involved in a car accident, you’ll know how stressful they can be. Aside from the trauma they may cause on the day of the accident, road incidents may also cause administrative headaches, especially if any of the involved parties are uninsured.
In this article, we’ll outline some of the steps you can take to help minimise stress and confusion in the aftermath of a car accident. Plus, we’ll provide information about how to file an insurance claim, and how insurance works if the accident is not your fault.
What to do immediately after an accident
The moments immediately following a prang can sometimes be chaotic, but if possible, try to stay calm. If you’ve just had an accident, these are some steps you can take:
Make sure you’re safe
Your first priority should be to evaluate the situation and try to ensure everyone is safe. Check yourself for injuries, and make sure that you’re not in any danger (this might mean you’ll need to leave your vehicle and walk to a safe place, away from any oncoming traffic). If you or anyone else needs medical attention, call 000.
Exchange details with all parties involved
If possible, try to obtain the following details from everyone involved:
- Contact information (including names, licence numbers, addresses and phone numbers);
- Registration numbers; and
- Insurance details of the other drivers.
Take notes of what happened
It’s also useful to make an accurate record of the accident. You can do this by:
- Taking photos of the scene of the accident, and any damage;
- Writing down the time, date and location;
- Making note of any details you can remember about how the accident happened; and
- Getting witness accounts: if any witnesses are present, it’s helpful to get their details as well.
If police have been called to the scene, they will also take people’s details and ask questions about what happened. It’s also possible that they’ll perform breathalyser tests, to see if any drivers are under the influence of alcohol.
Call your insurance company
If your car is damaged, and particularly if it’s undriveable, call your insurance company as soon as it is safe to do so to start a claim. They’ll be able to advise you about towing and repair options.
Don’t have insurance? In these next sections, we’ll look at what happens if you, or the person who hit you, isn’t insured.
So, what happens if somebody without appropriate insurance hits your car?
Well, it depends on two things. Firstly, who is at fault, and secondly, what type of insurance the parties have.
Whenever there is a motor vehicle accident, the question of fault is central in determining who will be liable for damages. In some cases, if the other driver hits your car, they may be at fault. But this is not always the case. Determining who is at fault can be tricky and is best left to the police and your insurance company, who will consider each accident on a case-by-case basis.
Let’s explore a few scenarios about how insurance coverage may affect the liability of parties to a motor vehicle accident:
Scenario #1: You have Comprehensive insurance, and the other driver is uninsured
If you have Comprehensive insurance, and an uninsured driver hits your car, you might be covered if your policy provides cover for accidental damage. Check your PDS for more details.
If you’re deemed to be the driver at fault, you’ll have to pay an excess, but the cost of repairing or replacing your car and the other driver’s car will usually be covered. You may also be covered for any damage your car caused to other people’s property in the accident.
Depending on your insurer, if you’re not at fault, you may not have to pay any excess, provided you give your insurance company the details of the at-fault driver and their vehicle. Your insurance company will arrange for your car to be repaired, and pursue the other driver on your behalf to recover the cost of your repairs.
Scenario #2: You have Third Party Fire & Theft or Third Party Property Only insurance, and the other driver is uninsured
In this scenario, depending on your insurer, if you are deemed to be the at-fault driver, after the excess is paid, your insurance may cover the cost of damage caused to the other car and the cost of repairing or replacing other damaged property. However, with Third Party Fire & Theft and Third Party Property Only cover, you will not be able to claim for the damage to your own vehicle and property, so you’ll need to pay for your own repairs or replacement vehicle. Check your PDS for more details.
If you’re not at fault, the other driver may be responsible for the cost of repairing or replacing any damage to your vehicle caused by the car accident. No insurance on their part means they’ll be personally liable for the cost of repairs, but with this type of cover you won’t be able to make any claim through your insurance company. Instead, you’ll need to negotiate a settlement yourself with the other driver. If they refuse to pay, you might need to consider pursuing your claim in court, which can be expensive, risky and time-consuming. If you find yourself in this situation, you may want to consider seeking professional legal advice on the best way to proceed with your claim.
With a Youi Third Party Fire & Theft or Third Party Property Only car insurance policy, you’ll get up to $5,000 cover against uninsured drivers. So if someone without insurance accidentally damages your car, was completely at fault and you provide the required details, we’ll cover you for up to $5,000 after excess. Limits apply.1
Scenario #3: You’re uninsured, and the other driver is also uninsured
In this final scenario, if you are at fault, you may be responsible for paying for damage you caused to the other car and any other property. If you refuse to pay or simply can’t pay the other driver, you might find yourself being sued.
If you’re not at fault, the other driver will be responsible for the cost of repairing or replacing your car. As with scenario two, you may have to negotiate a settlement or pursue the matter in court.
If you’re in the category of ‘I have no car insurance and someone hit me’, it’s probably a good idea to seek legal advice. The outcome of this scenario will ultimately depend on who is at fault.
How does insurance work when it’s not your fault?
If you’re a good driver, it can feel particularly unfair if you find yourself involved in a car accident. The big question is: if someone crashes into your car, who pays? Here, we’ll outline how car insurance might work for situations where you’re not at fault.
If your vehicle is insured with Youi, and the other driver is deemed completely at fault, we might be able to waive your excess. This depends on whether you can provide us with their full name, and 2 of either their driver’s licence number, phone number, registration number or address. For the other driver to be deemed completely at fault, there must be adequate proof that your actions did not contribute to the accident in any way.
It’s important that you start a claim as soon as you can after the accident. If you have any questions about how the process works, call us on 13 9684 to speak to one of our friendly advisors. You can also find more detailed info in our article How To Claim Car Insurance When Not At Fault.
The confusion around Compulsory Third Party (CTP) insurance
CTP insurance is a registration requirement in all Australian states and territories. In most, with the exception of NSW, it is included as part of your registration. In NSW (where CTP is often called “Green Slip insurance”), it is required that you purchase CTP insurance separately before you can register your motor vehicle.2
So, as long as the car that hits yours is registered, the owner should have insurance coverage against liability for any personal injury their vehicle causes. Still, as CTP doesn’t cover property damage, the vehicle owner won’t be covered for any damage their vehicle causes to property – such as your car – unless the other driver is covered by a Comprehensive, Third Party Fire & Theft or Third Party Property Only insurance policy.
How long after an accident can you file an insurance claim in Australia?
The amount of time you have to submit a car insurance claim after an accident can vary depending on individual state and territory laws. More information about this can be found in our article: How Long After An Accident Can You Claim Car Insurance?.
While you’ll hopefully never need to use any of these tips, knowing them and then putting them into place if you’re involved in an accident could help you get your car sorted sooner.
Want to find out more about our car insurance options? Start a quote today.
The laws of each state and territory vary and there may be different rules and requirements for people involved in a motor vehicle accident. We recommend that you acquaint yourself with your obligations before travelling. If in doubt – call 000.
The information provided in this article contains general advice only. It has been prepared without taking into account any person’s particular objectives, financial situations or needs.
Premiums and savings are subject to rating, underwriting, and individual circumstances. Product issued by Youi Pty Ltd. Consider our Car Insurance Product Disclosure Statement at www.youi.com.au when deciding whether our products are appropriate for you.
1 Available with Third Party Fire & Theft and Third Party Property Only policies. Conditions apply. For more details, see the PDS.
2 Source: NSW Government, Green Slip.