Take the stress out of your insurance claim
Accidents happen. No matter how good a driver you are, at one time or another, you or someone you’re with will be in an accident. And whether it’s your fault or not, there are a few things you can do to ensure your insurance claim goes through smoothly.
First of all, make sure you have adequate insurance before hitting the road – it protects you, your car, the occupants of your car and anyone hurt in a collision where you’re at fault. Compulsory Third Party Insurance is exactly that – compulsory. Beyond CTP, third-party property covers you if you happen to ram a car of high value, while comprehensive throws the net wide, covering events such as collision, flood, fire, storm and theft. Some car insurers have apps that can help manage your policy, and operate as a claims assistant, which can be useful.
Determining who’s at fault can be trickier – here technology can help. Dash cams are nifty tools to provide legal proof of fault in an accident, and make the difference between a long, drawn-out claims process and a fast one. You can pick one up at www.jbhifi.com.au or www.supercheapauto.com.au, starting from around $50.
Basically, the more information you can gather, the better. The most important time you need to be on top of things is when you’re going to feel most frazzled: at the scene of the accident. To that end, though you may feel shaken, it’s crucial to keep your wits about you. Ensure you get the full names of everyone involved, including licence numbers and insurance details, number plates and car type. Take photos of the scene from multiple angles before anyone moves. Be sure to note the time of the accident, where it happened, and what the traffic, lighting and weather conditions were, because they might have contributed to the collision.
If they’re not there already, call the police – especially if there is property damage to other cars or fixed objects, or if traffic redirection is required. It’s also important if you suspect drugs or alcohol might be involved. Always cooperate fully with attending officers. At this stage, it’s best not to admit liability or lay the blame at someone else’s feet. Try to remain cool, calm and collected, and simply gather as much information about the accident as possible.
Once everyone has gone on their way, call your insurer as soon as possible to begin the claims process. The forms are long and detailed, but again, the more information you can provide, the smoother the claim will be – and the faster you’ll be able to get back on the road.