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Motor Vehicle Property Damage Claims

19 May 2017

Who is this information for?

This information is not for personal injury claims. All car owners in Queensland must have CTP insurance. But CTP only covers claims for personal injury, not for damage to a motor vehicle. If you’ve been injured in a car accident you should obtain legal advice immediately because strict time limits apply.

Types of Property Damage Insurance

There are two types of car insurance for property damage.
1. Comprehensive insurance covers damage to your own car as well as damage to other cars and property, regardless of whether you caused the accident or not.
2. Third Party Property Insurance usually only covers damage you cause to another car or property. It doesn’t cover the damage to your own vehicle.

If you are insured you can claim on your insurance. However, it is your choice. If you claim you may have to pay an excess and if you are at fault you may lose your no claim bonus.

Whose fault is it?
Any driver who fails to take reasonable care is responsible for damage caused in an accident. Sometimes both drivers can be partly responsible.

You should discuss the accident with your insurance company before admitting responsibility. It can be a term of your insurance policy that you are not allowed to admit liability for an accident or for the extent of the damage caused.

Calling the police
The police must be called to the scene of an accident if:-
• A person is injured or trapped;
• Police are required to direct traffic or deal with hazards;
• A car needs to be towed;
• Anyone has failed to exchange details; or
• A driver is believed to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

If none of the above applies, then the police do not need to attend to the crash site.

At the scene of the accident
After the accident, make sure you obtain all drivers names, addresses and car registration numbers. Take photographs with your mobile phone and call the police if necessary.

If you are not insured for damage to your own vehicle and the accident was not your fault.

Get a quote from a smash repairer to prove the cost of the damage to your car. If the cost of repair exceeds the market value of your car, then your car will be considered a write off.

You will then need a report from a valuer on the pre accident market value of the car and the salvage value.

Negotiate
If you choose not to claim on your insurance or don’t have insurance and think another driver is at fault, then you can negotiate about whose fault it was, how much damage was caused and when payment will be made.

If negotiations break down, you can send the driver at fault a letter of demand asking for payment of the cost of repairs. Ask for a response within a certain time frame, for example 14 days. A copy of the quote for repairs should be attached to the letter.

Going to Court
If all negotiations fail, then the last resort is Court action. But think carefully about going to Court. It can be costly, uncertain and stressful.

If you need advice about making a motor vehicle property damage claim then feel free to call us on 1300 302 318 for free no obligation advice.