The Elephant in the Room: Who’s at Fault?
Let’s get right into it. The biggest question in car insurance claims is, “Who caused the accident?” The answer decides who will pay the costs. Normally, the at-fault driver or their insurance company pays up.
The Costs You Should Know About
These costs can include a lot of things. Think towing fees, fixing or replacing your car, hiring a car while yours is in the shop, and even lost wages if you rely on your car for work.
What to Do Right After an Accident
An accident is stressful, but you need to stay alert. Follow these steps:
- Immediate Action: Call emergency services at 000 if someone is injured or killed or if there’s major damage or danger.
- Gather Info: Collect names, addresses, car registration, and insurance details from other drivers. If they refuse or seem drunk, call the cops.
- Witness Accounts: Get names and contact info from anyone who saw what happened.
- Snap Photos: If it’s safe, take pictures of the scene.
- Don’t Admit Fault: This gets sorted out later. Keep quiet for now.
The Claim Process: Easier Than You Think
Wondering about minor damages? We’ll get to that. But first, let’s talk about making a claim. If you’re fully insured and file a claim, your insurer takes over. They’ll handle talks with the other driver’s insurer. This means less stress for you. So, yes, paying that insurance premium does pay off.
How They Figure Out Who’s to Blame
Insurers look at lots of things to decide who’s at fault. Photos, dashcam videos, witness accounts, police reports, and road rules are all fair game. Sometimes it’s easy. Like if someone rear-ends you, they’re usually the one to blame. But other times, it’s more complicated. There could be more than one driver at fault. Or there are rare ‘inevitable accidents’ where medical conditions cause the crash. In these cases, the driver might not be held responsible.
Handling Excess: Good News for the Not-At-Fault
Worried about paying an excess fee? You’re in luck. If the accident is not your fault and you provide the other driver’s details, you pay zero in excess fees.
Replacement Cars and No-Claim Discounts
Will you get a car to use while yours is being fixed? Yes! Your insurance covers that. Also, a not-at-fault accident won’t hurt your no-claim discount.
Resolving Disputes: We’ve Got Your Back
Sometimes, who’s at fault is up for debate. If that happens, we may ask for more details. We’ll then handle talks with the other party or their insurer. Most of the time, these disputes get settled without going to court. If it does go to court, we’ll cover the court costs.
The Fine Print: Minor Damages
If the damage to both cars is small, you and the other driver can decide whether to file claims. If your repair costs are less than your excess, it’s smarter not to claim. Still confused? Just ask us for advice.
Unpleasant Surprises from the Other Driver
Imagine both parties agreeing not to pursue the matter, but then the other driver files a claim for a huge amount. If that happens, contact us right away. We’ll take care of it.
What if the Other Driver is Uninsured?
Don’t worry. We cover your repair and other costs if the other driver is uninsured. We’ll then try to get that money back from them. So you’re not left hanging.
Partial Fault: The Grey Area
Sometimes, more than one driver is at fault. Let’s say you and another driver both change lanes and collide. You’ll both share the blame. In such cases, both parties negotiate a ‘percentage-of-fault’ agreement. Your claim costs will then be split based on this percentage.
Accidents Happen: When It’s Your Fault
Did you make a mistake? It’s okay. Just file a claim and pay the required excess. We’ll handle the rest, including any dealings with the other party’s insurer.
When a Budget Direct Policyholder is At Fault
If someone insured by us hits you, report it. We’ll then assess the damage to your car and either authorize repairs or offer a cash settlement. Expect top-notch service throughout the process.
Worst-Case Scenario: Injury or Death
If the worst happens and you’re injured or killed in a not-at-fault accident, your next of kin can claim compensation from the at-fault driver’s third-party insurer.
This guide aims to offer a comprehensive look into the world of car insurance claims when you’re not at fault. Knowing your rights and responsibilities can save you both time and money in the stressful aftermath of an accident.
FAQ 1: What Should I Do Immediately After a Car Accident?
First, check if anyone is hurt and call emergency services if needed. Next, collect details from the other drivers and witnesses. Take photos of the scene if safe. Don’t admit fault.
FAQ 2: Do I Have to Pay an Excess Fee if I’m Not At Fault?
You won’t have to pay an excess fee if the accident wasn’t your fault, and you provide all the necessary details about the at-fault driver.
FAQ 3: Will My No-Claim Discount Be Affected?
Your no-claim discount will not be affected if the accident is not your fault. So, you can breathe easy on that front.
FAQ 4: What Happens if the Other Driver is Uninsured?
If the at-fault driver is uninsured, your insurer will first cover your repair and other costs. Then, they’ll try to get that money back from the uninsured driver.
FAQ 5: What if Both Drivers Are Partially At Fault?
If both drivers share the blame, both parties’ insurers will negotiate to decide the ‘percentage-of-fault’. Your claim costs will then be split based on this agreement.