How to Make a Car Insurance Claim

Find out about the process of making a car insurance claim right here with Savvy's helpful guide.

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, updated on February 15th, 2024       

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Car Insurance Banner - Man sitting next to his car with the bonnet open making an insurance claim on his phone.

Making a car insurance claim can be a daunting task, but it's an important process that can help you recover financially from unexpected accidents or damages. If you're wondering how to make a claim, you've come to the right place.

You can walk through the steps you need to take to make a car insurance claim and get the help you need to repair or replace your vehicle right here with Savvy. Learn more about the process, how it works and what to do if your claim is denied in our informative guide.

How do I make a claim on my car insurance policy?

The process of submitting a car insurance claim follows a few simple steps. These are:

  1. Review your policy's coverage: before making a claim, it's important to review your car insurance policy to understand the coverage you have and whether the incident can be claimed for. This includes the amount of excess you will need to pay, the maximum limit of coverage and any exclusions or limitations on the policy. Once you’ve reviewed your policy and determined the incident is covered, you can proceed to the next step.
  2. Find relevant information about the incident: when making a car insurance claim, it's essential to provide accurate and detailed information about the incident. This includes the date, time and location of the accident, the names and contact information of any witnesses and the other driver's insurance and contact details if relevant. It's also a good idea to describe the incident in detail, take photos of the damage and get a police report if necessary.
  3. Submit your claim: once you’ve gathered all the necessary details, you can submit your claim to your car insurance provider. Most companies will have an online claims process, but you may also be able to make a claim over the phone or by filling out a paper form. If you aren’t submitting your form online, you’ll still need to send any supporting documentation or photos to your insurer.
  4. Receive an outcome: after submitting your claim, your insurer will assess the damage and determine the outcome. This may involve an inspection of the vehicle and the insurance company may request additional information or documentation. Once the assessment is complete, the insurer will provide you with an outcome, which may include repairs, a payout or a denial of the claim.

It's important to note that the car insurance claims process can vary between insurers and policies, so it's always best to check your policy documents and contact your insurer for specific information.

How do I make a claim if I’m not at fault for the incident?

The process involved with claiming for an accident which you aren’t at fault for is essentially the same as any other claim. You’ll still need to provide your insurer with all the relevant details of the incident and the at-fault party’s information. If you’re deemed to not be at fault, you generally won’t have to pay an excess. However, if your insurer believes you to be at fault or partly at fault, an excess is likely to be required.

If you and the other party are unable to agree to who was at fault for an accident, your insurer will assess the evidence and determine who they believe was the responsible party. If shared fault is found, your insurer may try to work with the other party’s insurer to determine another solution, such as splitting liability between the two.

What happens if my car insurance claim is rejected?

Car insurance claim rejections are common in Australia. According to APRA’s General insurance claims development statistics for 2021, the ultimate loss ratio for claims relating to domestic motor vehicles sat at 60.7%, while CTP insurance saw an ultimate loss ratio of 84.4%. however, if your claim is rejected and you aren’t satisfied with the outcome, there are steps you can take.

Firstly, review your policy and make sure you understand the terms and conditions and the reasons why the claim was denied. If you disagree with the decision, you can contact your insurer to discuss the matter further. You may be able to provide additional information or evidence to support your claim.

If you still aren’t satisfied with the outcome, you can escalate the matter to the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA). AFCA is an independent body which handles complaints and disputes between consumers and financial service providers, including insurance companies. They have the power to make a final decision on the matter, which your insurer must comply with. However, before escalating the issue, you’ll need to attempt to resolve it with your insurer first.

Top tips for maximising your chances of success on your car insurance claim

Always double-check your policy before claiming

It's essential to review your policy before submitting a claim to ensure you're aware of your coverage limits, exclusions and excesses. This helps you avoid making a claim which isn't covered under your policy, which can result in a rejected claim and the loss of your no-claims bonus.

Keep your insurer in the loop about your car

Keeping your insurer up to date on any changes to your car or circumstances which may affect your policy can help avoid complications in the claims process. For example, if your parking situation has changed or you’ve modified your vehicle, you should let your insurer know as soon as possible.

Make your claim quickly

It's crucial to make your claim as soon as possible after an incident, as there may be time limits on when you can file a claim. By making your claim quickly, you can confidently provide accurate information about the incident while it's still fresh in your mind.

Provide as much detail as possible

When making a claim, provide as much detail as possible to help support your case. This includes information about the incident, such as the date, time, and location, as well as the names and contact details of any witnesses. Providing photographic evidence and a police report can also help support your claim.

Frequently asked questions about making a car insurance claim

Is there a time limit on car insurance claims in Australia?

There usually isn’t a time limit on car insurance claims in Australia. However, it’s always recommended by insurers to submit your claim as soon as possible after the incident. A time limit does apply on CTP claims, though, which can range from 28 days to 12 months (in Victoria and Tasmania) depending on where you live.

How long do car insurance claims take?

The length of time it takes to process a car insurance claim varies depending on its complexity. It can take anywhere from a few days to several weeks. Your insurance provider should keep you informed throughout the process.

What is a protected no-claims bonus on car insurance?

A protected no-claims bonus on car insurance is an optional add-on which you can purchase with your insurance policy. It essentially protects your no-claims bonus in the event of an accident or claim, so you won't lose your bonus or see a rise in your premiums.

How do I make a claim if the other driver doesn’t have car insurance?

If you're involved in an accident with an uninsured driver, you should still exchange details with them as you would with any other driver. You can then report the incident to your insurer, who may be able to assist you with making a claim. If the other driver is at fault, you may be able to claim compensation through legal action. Some insurers will offer a set amount of coverage for accidents with uninsured drivers, such as up to $5,000.

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