Being involved in a car accident is traumatic and stressful enough. But if you have no insurance, it can feel overwhelming. What can you do if you’re not at fault? How do you claim compensation?
What are my rights?
If you don’t have comprehensive car insurance, you won’t be covered for property damage to your own vehicle. However, if the other driver is at fault for the motor vehicle accident, you have the right to claim compensation. As a rule, the driver who does not take reasonable care is determined to be at fault. Occasionally this can mean both drivers.
If the other driver is at fault, you can make a claim from them for the costs of property damage and repairing your vehicle. You can start by sending them a letter of demand along with estimates of repair costs from a licensed repairer.
What details do I need following an accident?
In the immediate aftermath of an accident, it may be difficult to think clearly or to remember what to do. However, if it all possible you should grab these details from the other driver for your claim: their name and address, the name of their insurer, their registration number, car make and details, plus the contact details of any witnesses. It is also very useful to take photographs of the damage caused to both vehicles.
What if the driver who is at fault refuses to pay?
Alternately, if the damage is under $5000 (or you’re prepared to accept this figure), you can make a claim with the Financial Ombudsman Service against the other driver’s insurance company. This is free, and you can start your claim by visiting the website http://www.fos.org.au or calling 1800 367 287.
Can I claim on the at fault driver's insurance?
Not possible. You can only claim against the driver themselves. If the driver is insured, they can choose to make a claim with their insurer to cover your compensation. You can’t force them to make a claim with their insurer. But if they refuse to, they may have to pay you with their own money if your claim is successful.
What if I was driving a hire car?
If you were in a not at fault hire car accident, you may still have to pay an excess. Most hire car companies hold you liable for any damage to the vehicle while it was in your care whether you were at fault or not. Make sure you read and understand the hire car company’s guidelines.
If the car rental company holds you financially liable, make inquiries with your own insurance company (including travel insurance if you are on holidays at the time) to see if you have any cover for damage to rental vehicles.
Compulsory Third Party Insurance (CTP)
Compulsory Third Party (CTP) insurance is something all vehicles in Australia are required to be covered by. It provides cover for any persons injured or killed when your vehicle is involved in an accident.
In most states, CTP is included in your registration fees. In NSW, QLD and the ACT, you can choose your insurer.
What is not covered by CTP Insurance?
CTP insurance will not cover damage to your vehicle or to anybody else’s vehicle or property. Drivers in Australia should also pay for comprehensive insurance to cover themselves in case of property damage.