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Buying a car

At fault with no car insurance: What happens now?

5 April 2019

It’s an unnerving feeling when you’re in a car accident, especially if you’re at fault and don’t have car insurance. Learn what to do if you’re in a car accident when you don’t have third party or comprehensive car insurance, so you can get back on the road quickly.  

If the car accident was your fault

Scenario 1: The other driver is insured and makes a claim

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. Without insurance, you may have to pay out of your own pocket.

Repair costs vary depending on the type of accident, and whether you’ve damaged someone else’s vehicle or caused property damage (eg, to someone’s house). Costs you might have to cover include repairs to the damaged 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.

Scenario 2: The other driver doesn’t have insurance

Without insurance, neither party will be able to make a claim. That means you need to settle the repair cost directly with the other party.

If the car accident wasn’t your fault (or there’s doubt that it was)

If you think that the accident wasn’t your fault, then you could have some wriggle room. Even without insurance, you may not need to pay the other driver’s repairs.

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 can take away some of the stress of a car accident, whether you’re at fault or not. Policies come in different levels of cover, from basic to comprehensive. So, you can hopefully find an option that works for your needs and budget.

Let’s take a closer look at the different types of car insurance.    

CTP Insurance

Depending on where you live, you might already have Compulsory Third Party Insurance (CTP) or a ‘Green slip’. This is a legal requirement when you register your car and is generally included with the cost of vehicle registration, except for in Queensland and New South Wales where you have to buy it at an additional cost.

CTP insurance provides protection for at-fault drivers against compensation claims from people injured in a motor vehicle accident. It doesn’t cover anything outside of those medical and rehabilitation costs — such as repairs to damaged vehicles and property.

Third Party Car Insurance

If you have Third Party Car Insurance, you might be able to save some out-of-pocket expenses. Say that you run into the back of a car — Third Party Car Insurance can cover the costs of those damages. That’s because it covers legal liability for damage to other people’s property. It includes some additional features, like damage by uninsured drivers, and damage caused by caravans and trailers you may be towing.  

With Suncorp, you can also choose to get an optional Fire and Theft cover. This includes the basic Third Party Car Insurance, plus:

  • Liability for loss or damage from fire or theft.
  • Expenses arising after a fire or theft claim.
  • Up to 21 days of car hire after a theft.

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.
  • Theft & Malicious damage
  • Third party property cover, for 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 personal items lost or damaged in an accident.

Compare Suncorp’s car insurance policies

*Source: Legal Aid Queensland, Car accidents, accessed 11 Jan 2019.

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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.

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