Buying a car
What do I do if I don’t have car insurance and become involved in an accident?
5 April 2019
It’s an unnerving feeling when you’re in a car accident, especially if you aren’t insured. While any car accident is stressful, it could be worse when you can’t produce a policy number and have to deal with the costs of the accident if you’re at fault. But don’t fear! This article explains what to do in a car accident when you don’t have third party or comprehensive car insurance, so you can get back on the road quickly.
At the time of the accident
Firstly, make sure that everyone involved in the accident is okay and out of immediate danger. Be sure to exchange details with the other driver involved in the accident. Important details to exchange are:
- Name and address.
- Phone number.
- Licence and vehicle registration number.
Your details will allow the other driver to make a claim against you with their insurer.
If the other driver makes a claim
It might be a nervous wait before being contacted by the other driver’s insurance provider. You’ll probably be wondering what the costs of the quote are and – if this is your first accident – how the whole insurance process works.
Let us explain. All accidents generally come down to liability. If you’re deemed ‘at fault’ by the other driver and their insurer, they’ll ask you to pick up the bill for the damages. And being without insurance cover and at fault, you could be up for the expenses from your own pocket.
The cost of repairs really depends on the type of accident, and whether you have damaged someone else’s vehicle or caused property damage like to someone’s house or goods. You might be up for covering costs including the repair of the vehicle, towing fees, the cost of a rental car for replacement, plus any other costs to property other than the car. You may receive a letter of demand asking you to pay the cost of the repairs or a phone call from their insurer.
However, if you think that the accident wasn’t your fault then you have some wriggle room. Even without insurance, you may not need to pay the other driver’s repairs. In some cases, if the other party has an insurer and has lodged a claim with that insurer, you should be able to repair your vehicle through their insurer. No need to completely panic, right?
Remember, it’s important to know your legal rights when someone makes a claim against you, otherwise, you might not have the know-how to dispute a claim that you believe to be unfair. According to Legal Aid Queensland*, getting legal advice in a car accident is a good idea if there’s a dispute about liability and the cost of property damages.
Why car insurance comes in handy
Car insurance comes in different sizes and offers a range of covers, from basic to comprehensive cover. No matter what insurance you end up with, it might be a good idea to have some insurance so you could turn a stressful situation into a hastle-free one, and save yourself a lot of money if you’re involved in an accident. Let’s take a closer look at what insurances you might need.
Comprehensive Car Insurance
Comprehensive Car Insurance is a ‘bells and whistles’ premium level of cover. With Comprehensive cover, you could claim things like:
- Accidental loss or damage. If you’re involved in a collision and impact, or your car is damaged by hail, storm and flood events.
- Third party property cover. Any damage to another person’s car or property.
- Additional features and covers such as a hire car after a not-at-fault incident, or cover for your tools of trade (excluding mobile phones and cash).
Depending on the State you live in, you might already have Compulsory Third Party Insurance (CTP) or ‘green slip’ car insurance. This is a legal requirement when you register your car and is generally included with the cost of vehicle registration, except for Queensland and New South Wales.
In Queensland and New South Wales, CTP insurance provides motor vehicle owners, drivers, passengers and other insured persons with an insurance policy that covers their unlimited liability for personal injury caused by accidents with their insured motor vehicle.
Third Party Insurance
If you have Third Party Insurance, you might be able to save some out-of-pocket expenses. Say that you run into the back of a flashy car, Third Party Property damage might cover the costs of the damages. It covers legal liability for damage to other people’s property and even some additional features, like the cost of a replacement car, damage by uninsured drivers and third party property damage for caravans and trailers.
If the other driver is without insurance
If the other driver doesn’t have any insurance too, it can really hinge on who’s at fault. Without insurance, both parties won’t be able to make a claim because it’s not managed through insurance. So you need to settle the cost of repairs directly with the other party. However, if no agreement can be made and you wish to pursue your damages, you might need to take legal action.
Car insurance should be top-of-mind when you’re driving around town. Being caught without it could place unnecessary financial and emotional stress, causing a big headache. And the best part about buying car insurance is that you don’t have to do it alone – there are professionals that can help provide general advice If you’re interested in finding out more about Suncorp’s Car Insurance, you get an online quote or chat to our friendly staff by calling 13 11 55 (8am - 10pm, 7 days a week).
*Source: Legal Aid Queensland, Car accidents, accessed 11 Jan 2019.
Insurance is issued by AAI Limited ABN 48 005 297 807 trading as Suncorp Insurance. Information provided is general advice only and has been prepared without taking into account any person's particular objectives, financial situation or needs. Please read the relevant Product Disclosure Statement before making any decision regarding this product.