What happens if the other driver doesn’t have car insurance?

26 March 2019

Each year, there are thousands of collisions on our roads. Regardless of whether it’s through failing to give way or running into the back of another car, they aren’t pleasant experiences.

After an accident happens the issue of liability surfaces. This is why you need to consider who’s at fault at the scene of the accident. Clarifying this can make it easier on yourself and ensure that you’re swiftly compensated and back on the road. This article explains what you need to do when you’re involved in an accident and the other driver doesn’t have car insurance.

What to do if you’re in an accident with an uninsured driver

Accidents can be stressful, so it’s important to stay calm as this makes the process easier from the get-go. If the accident isn’t your fault, then the responsible party should be liable to repair your vehicle or property. And even if the driver doesn’t have insurance, the good news is that you still may be able to cover your damages.

Here’s a fact: roughly around 10 per cent of Australian motorists don’t have insurance*. That’s a staggering number of people considering how many drivers there are on our roads. So if you’re involved in an accident and the other driver doesn’t have insurance, here’s what you can do immediately after an accident.

Evaluate the situation

First up, make sure everyone is safe and call 000 for emergencies. You’ll then need to evaluate the situation for what it is and get the facts right, before accusing any other parties involved in the accident. If either you or the other party is uninsured, you need to disclose this at the scene of the accident. It’s super important to establish who’s at fault in the accident so that either party can build up their own case for making a claim.  

Exchange details

It’s super important to take the initiative after an accident and exchange details. Collect details of all drivers, passengers and witnesses such as full names, addresses and contact numbers. If another car is involved, record its registration number and the driver’s insurance details. If the other driver is uninsured, they won’t have a policy number handy. Kindly asking to take a photo of their drivers license ensures that you have their details for your own records. Alternatively, you might speak to their representative at the scene, like a passenger or someone who has witnessed the accident, or the police if they’re present. And if the other party refuses to swap their details, you might still note their vehicle registration number and contact the police to follow up.

Make an accurate record

You need to do everything you can to have your facts straight and verifiable. This could involve taking note of the date, time and location of the accident if you want to make a claim against the uninsured driver or you’re required to provide evidence by the police or courts. Remember to take photos of the damage and the scene of the accident. This will be helpful when you speak to your insurer who can use these details to make a claim against the other party, or it’ll help the police establish who’s at fault for the incident.

Get witness accounts

Witness accounts are great for helping your insurance claim and covering your liability if the other party refuses to be held liable. But every witness should be an unbiased account of the accident, and should not be pressured in anyway. You can approach a witness if they’re comfortable, and ask if they could record the incident for you, either by phone or writing. This provides you with additional proof especially if the other driver refuses to accept liability for the accident.

The other driver isn’t insured – now what?

So we’ve established you’re not at fault and you’ve taken the details of the other party, recorded the events of the accident, and got witness accounts, you’re probably ready to claim for the damages from the other uninsured party. Kudos to you for getting this far! Now you’ll need to think carefully about how you can get the other party to pay for the damage.

There are two ways to approach this when you’re not at fault and the other party isn’t insured.

  • Sort out the cost of the damages between yourselves. If the other driver is willing to pay the costs of your vehicle or property damage, then grab a few quotes from a mechanic or repair shop and send it to the driver. Remember, it’s still a good idea to report the incident with your insurer, so they can advise you on whether to sort it out privately or scrap the idea and make a claim instead.
  • Make a claim on the damages with your insurer. That’s why insurance exists in the first place! They can do a lot of the paperwork for you. Even if the other driver doesn’t have insurance, they can still contact them on your behalf and take the necessary steps with your claim.  

All in all, it’s important to let your insurer know about the accident, even if you decide not to make a claim. This is called a ‘duty of disclosure’ and can be found within your insurance policy. And if you’re ready to make a claim, but aren’t sure what level of car insurance cover you have, you can find your policy online.

Does my level of insurance impact what I can claim?

Your car insurance cover will impact what you can claim. For the best level of cover, Comprehensive cover may cover you for accidental loss or damage and third party property damage cover along with additional features and covers at no extra cost.

In comparison, Third Party Property Damage covers any damage you do to other people’s property, or fire and theft damage to your car, if you take out Fire, Theft and Third Party Property Damage cover. Depending on your level of cover, some exclusions may apply. To ensure you avoid any nasty surprises come claim time, familiarise yourself with the ins and outs of your policy.  

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* Source: Pranged: the real cost of option vehicle insurance in Australia, Brotherhood of St Laurence 2017, accessed 14 December 2018

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.