Should an uninsured driver cause an accident, you can make a claim as usual. Generally, all levels of car insurance provide some form of cover if your car is damaged by an uninsured driver – though you still need to provide details to identify the other driver. You will need to read your PDS and any disclaimers to check if this applies to your cover.
If you are the uninsured driver but not at fault for a car accident, the process is a little different.
Making a car insurance claim can increase the cost of your insurance even if you’re not at fault. Remember that insurers do incur costs even when assessing a not-at-fault accident.
Sometimes, you might find that the damage does not warrant a claim. For instance, if the damage is only a minor scratch, the excess payment could be more expensive than the cost of repairs for it, so you could save money by paying for the repairs without making a claim.
If the at-fault party is identified and your insurer can contact them to process their details as a part of your claim, you may not need to pay the basic excess for your claim. However, it’s still possible you might need to pay an excess, depending on the circumstances of the accident. This should be refunded to you if it has been recovered from the at-fault party.
You’ll typically have to pay an excess when making a claim if the at-fault party can’t be identified.
Many car insurers offer a no claims discount, otherwise known as a no claims bonus or safe driver discount. This discount is based on the number of years you have driven without making a car insurance claim.
The more years you’re on the road without claiming, the higher your discount may be.
Some car insurance policies even offer no claims discount protection that will maintain your discount if you make a claim. Having this protection typically costs extra, and there may be limits to how many claims you can make before losing your discount.
You may receive a free hire car if you have cover for a replacement vehicle in your policy; this feature can be included in some comprehensive car insurance policies. Alternatively, cover for a rental car might be available to be purchased as an optional extra on your policy.
Australia’s state and territory police services note that in the event of a car accident, regardless of whether you’re at fault or not, you must call 000 if:1
You can call the police following a crash on the nationwide non-emergency assistance line (131 444) to file a police report should any of the following occur:
You can get additional information on what to do after a car accident with our guide.
If the other driver doesn’t stick around to provide their details, you can call the police to report the accident. For your insurance claim, try and note down as much detail as you can about the other driver and their car, such as make and model, license plate and any other details to help you identify them.
If the other driver disputes the claim, your insurance company may ask you for some additional details about the accident. They will then try and resolve the issue on your behalf with the other party’s insurer (if they have cover) or the driver involved if they have no car insurance. This usually involves sending a letter of demand to the at-fault driver, asking for compensation for the damages.
If all else fails, you may need to seek legal advice and potentially bring the dispute before the courts. If this is the case, you should contact your insurer to see if they’ll cover your court costs.
1 Traffic crash FAQs. Queensland Police. Queensland Government (n.d.). Retrieved October 2022.