If you have car insurance you may be able to make a claim on your insurance policy whether or not the car accident was your fault. This will depend on the type of car insurance you have.
It may be a condition of your policy to tell your insurance company if you have been involved in a car accident, even if you decide not to make a claim. You should check your product disclosure statement.
For more interactive assistance, see the MVA Problem Solver on the Financial Rights Legal Centre website.
Types of car insurance
Third party property
Third Party Property insurance covers the owner or driver who caused an accident against claims for damage to other cars and property.
If you were not at fault and the driver who caused the accident was not insured for property damage, some third party property policies will pay a limited amount for repairs to your own car. You must be able to identify the driver who caused the accident.
Comprehensive insurance covers the owner or driver for damage to their car as well as damage to other vehicles or property, regardless of whether they are at fault.
Deciding what to do
If you believe that the other driver was 'at-fault', you may try to recover from them the cost of repairing your vehicle and other losses, such as hire car expenses. If you were at-fault in a car accident, the other driver can try to recover the cost of repairs to their vehicle.
If the other car is insured the owner can choose whether to make a claim on their insurance policy. If they make an insurance claim their insurer will handle the claim and should contact you. If you have third party property or comprehensive insurance you may wish to make a claim on your insurance policy. In that case, your insurance company will contact the other driver, owner or insurer and handle your claim for you.
If you choose not to make a claim with your insurer, you may still need to tell your insurer about the accident. You have a duty of disclosure.
If the other driver was at-fault, is insured, and you are claiming less than $16,300 for the repairs (and you don't have insurance), you may be able to lodge a third party uninsured dispute with the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA).
For more information see Car accident when uninsured on the Financial Rights Legal Centre website.
If you are served with a Statement of Claim
If you don’t reach an agreement or you don’t make a claim through your insurer, the other driver or their insurer may start a claim against you in the Local Court if they think you were at-fault.
You must respond to a Statement of Claim within 28 days. If you have lodged a claim with your insurer, it’s important to notify your insurer immediately.
If you are not insured and have been served with a Statement of Claim, see Responding to a Statement of Claim on the Representing Yourself section of this website.
How to make a claim on your insurance policy
If you decide to make a claim on your insurance policy you should contact your insurer for details on how to make a claim and what other information they need.
Before you decide whether to make a claim on your insurance policy you should consider whether making the claim will reduce your 'no claim bonus', increase the cost of your premiums or affect your ability to obtain insurance in the future. You may also have to pay an excess.
For more information, see the MVA Problem Solver on the Financial Rights Legal Centre website.
If you are the 'at-fault' driver and are charged by the police for being under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the accident, your insurance company may refuse your claim.
For more information about what you can do if your claim is refused, see Insurer - dispute resolution.
If you have a dispute with an insurance company
Sometimes an insurance company will reject your claim and it is difficult to know how to challenge that decision.
For more information about what to do if your claim is rejected, see Insurer - dispute resolution.
Compulsory Third Party (CTP) insurance, also called a 'green slip', provides compensation for a person who was injured or killed in a car accident. It does not cover the cost of repairing the damage to vehicles or property.