What is a not-at-fault car insurance claim?
A not-at-fault car insurance claim refers to when an incident occurs that you didn’t cause, and you can identify the at-fault party. You’ll need to provide the details of the other driver involved when making your claim. An insurer will usually let you know the details they want when the claim is lodged either online over the phone or via a claim form.
If you can’t identify who was at fault, then you may need to make an at-fault claim.
Determining who’s at-fault in a car accident
Insurance companies weigh up the evidence of what happened with Australian road rules to see who was in the wrong and caused the crash. With more straight forward accidents, it’s typically easy to determine who’s responsible. Sometimes you and the other driver (or drivers if multiple vehicles are involved) can share responsibility if you were both somewhat at fault. This might be the case for example if you both merge into each other while changing lanes, or if one of you didn’t give way while you made a dangerous turn.
In these types of cases, your insurance company will try to negotiate with the other driver’s insurance company to split the blame, with any costs based on that amount of blame. The insurance company does most of the heavy lifting on the claim when you’re not at fault and will notify you (via your insurance broker) of the process and the outcome. They may also ask for additional information to help process the claim. If the matter goes to court, a judge will determine who shares what percentage of fault.
Do I make a claim on my car insurance policy when I’m not-at-fault?
If the at-fault party has insurance and you’re able to get their details, you should in most cases be covered in a not-at-fault accident. All you need to do is lodge a claim with your insurer as you would for anything else you might claim for. Your insurance company and the other party’s insurer will sort it out. If the other driver doesn’t have the appropriate level of insurance cover, you may not be covered unless you have a policy that covers accidental damage, like a comprehensive policy.
Accidental damage to your vehicle is typically covered in comprehensive policies, whether you’re at fault or not. Make sure you check your Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) of your car insurance to see whether you’re covered for accidental damage to your car in an accident. TIP: price isn’t the only thing to consider when purchasing your insurance policy, cover should be your number one consideration and comparing your car insurance coverage with other policies can help you weigh up whether the level of cover is right for you. A comprehensive policy will give you greater peace of mind.
Will you have to pay an excess if you’re not-at-fault?
If the at-fault party is identified, and your insurer can contact them and use their details to process the claim, you shouldn’t need to pay any excess when claiming. However, it is still possible you might need to pay the excess, depending on the circumstances of the accident. You’ll typically have to pay the excess when making a claim when the at-fault party can’t be identified.
What happens if the other person drives off before you exchange details?
If the other driver takes off and doesn’t provide details, you can call the police or report the accident. Try and note down as much detail as you can about the other driver and their car, such as make and model, license plate, and any other details.
What if there’s a dispute?
If the other driver disputes the claim, then your insurance company will contact you (via your insurance broker) to inform you, and they may ask you for some additional details about the accident. They will then try and resolve the issue for you with the other party’s insurer (if they have cover), or just the driver involved if they have no car insurance.
There is the potential for the dispute to go before the courts. You may be required to testify, and should check to see if they’ll cover your court costs.
Tips for gathering evidence after a car accident
Following an accident you should always establish everyone’s safe first. Once you’ve done that, you can gather evidence to assist with your insurance claim.
- Take photos – Take photos of all vehicles involved including number plates. If you have dash-cam, you can use the footage to help your claim.
- Gather the other driver’s details – Ask the driver/s if they can provide some details. This should include name, phone number, licence details, address, car registration number, the make and model of the vehicle, their insurer and what type of insurance policy they have.
- Ask a witness for a statement – If there are any witnesses, ask them for a written of recorded statement or any dash-cam footage they might have. Ask for their contact details, in case you need to talk to them later.
- Write down what happened – While it’s still fresh in your memory, make some notes about what happened including date, time and location.
One of the advantages of using us as your insurance broker is having an advocate on your side at claim time. Give us a call on (07) 5482 7485 and see how our services can help Protect Your Motor Vehicle.