Motor vehicle accidents – property damage fact sheet

Had an accident? Don't panic!

 

What do I do first?

Where there is property damage, either to the vehicles involved in the accident, or to any other property (such as a fence), you must exchange details with:

  • Any other driver involved in the crash;
  • Any other person involved in the crash who is injured; and
  • The owner of any property (including any vehicle) damaged in the crash, unless, in the case of damage to a vehicle, the particulars are given to the driver of the vehicle.

What details should I exchange?

You will need to exchange:

  • Names;
  • Addresses;
  • Registration details; and
  • Insurance details of the company with whom you have a policy

If possible check these details against the drivers licences or other documents.

Do I need to report the crash to the police?

You do not have to report a crash to the police if the above conditions are satisfied and:

  • No one was killed or injured in the crash;
  • You gave your details to other drivers involved in the crash;
  • Any other driver gave their details to you; and
  • No vehicle involved in the crash was towed or carried away.

The Tasmania Police Traffic Crash Reporting System (TCRS) was developed to enable members of the public to report crashes which meet specific requirements and by law do not have to be reported to police. This crash report will however be able to be used for insurance purposes. At the conclusion of the Crash Report you will be provided with a Crash Report Number for your insurance claim.

Will I get charged?

If the police attend the accident scene, you must provide them with your name and address.

You may be asked to submit to a breath analysis to see if you are affected by alcohol.

Depending on the circumstances you may be charged with a traffic offence.

What else should I do?

It is always useful to see if anyone witnessed the crash. This could be a bystander or a driver of another vehicle. Take their contact details and given them your contact details.

If you need to report the accident to police, be sure to give then the names, addresses and contact phone numbers of any witnesses to the accident.

When do I tell my insurance company?

If you are insured, you should report the accident to your insurance company as soon as possible.

What if someone has been injured?

If someone has been injured, you must report the accident to the police. You should also call an ambulance.

You must also complete a 'Notification of Accident' form for the Motor Accidents Insurance Board.

For further information see our Fact sheet -  Motor Vehicle Accidents - Personal Injuries.

Admitting liability

If your vehicle is insured you must not admit liability. This is even the case when it is obvious that the accident was your fault as this may be a breach of your insurance policy. Most policies require you to report the accident to your insurer without delay. They will then make the decision about liability. If you are uninsured do not admit liability. If required this can be done later.

Insurance

If you are comprehensively insured, your insurance company will pay for the cost of repairs to your vehicle. You will be required to pay your excess. You may be able to recover your excess from the other driver through your insurer or by suing the other driver.

If you have third party property damage insurance, you are responsible for the cost of repairs to your own vehicle, however, you can attempt to recover the cost from the driver at fault. The same applies if you are uninsured.

When insured....

If you are comprehensively insured and the accident is not your fault, your insurance company will pay for the cost of repairs to your vehicle. You will not be required to pay your excess.

If you have comprehensive insurance and the accident is your fault, your insurance company will generally still pay for the cost of repairs to the other vehicle and to your vehicle. However, you will have to pay the excess on your policy.

If you have third party property damage insurance and the accident is not your fault, then you will need to recover the cost of repairs to your vehicle from the other driver.

  • If the other driver has insurance, then you should contact the insurer direct;
  • If the other driver does not have insurance, then you will need to obtain a quote and send a letter of demand to the person who is responsible for the damage.

If you have have third party property insurance and the accident is your fault, then your insurer will pay for the repairs to the other vehicle. The insurer will not pay for the repairs to your vehicle. In addition, if the accident is your fault, you may have to pay the excess on your policy.

When not insured....

If you are uninsured (have no car insurance) and the accident is your fault, then you must pay for the repairs to the other vehicle, as well as your own.

If you are uninsured and the accident is not your fault, then you will need to do the following:

  • If the other driver is also uninsured, you should obtain a quote and send a letter of demand to the person who is responsible for the damage;
  • If the other driver is insured, then you should contact the insurer direct.

See our Letters of Demand at the end of this fact sheet, for the situation that suits. For free legal advice, call 1300 366 611 or come into one of our free clinics near you.

Quotes

If you are asking the other driver to pay for the repairs or damage to your vehicle, then you must provide them with proof of that damage and a written quote of the estimated cost of repair. This is usually done by sending the other driver at least two quotes for the cost of repairs. This should be from a reputable repairer and not your friend who repairs cars in his garage on the weekend.

If you are insured, then the insurer may help you to organise this.

If the other driver is insured, the insurer may arrange to have the vehicle inspected by a reputable repairer or a loss assessor. You should agree to this as it may speed up the negotiation and repair process.

If the other driver is uninsured, that person has the option of accepting one of your quotes or negotiating with you. They may wish to inspect the vehicle or have their repairer or loss assessor inspect the vehicle. It would be sensible to allow this to occur as it may speed up the negotiation process.

The legal process

Following an accident you may receive a letter from the other driver, their insurance company or their lawyers. If you are insured you should give this to your insurance company immediately and they will respond on your behalf. If you are not insured it would be best to seek legal advice. If you receive a Magistrates Court Claim or a Supreme Court writ claiming damages you must take this to your insurer without delay or, if you are uninsured, get legal advice immediately. This is vital, as there are strict time limits in dealing with legal processes.

Sample Letters

MV Accident - Other driver is insured 163KB PDF File (1 page)

MV Accident - Letter to other driver's insurance company 161KB PDF File (1 page)

MV Accident - Letter of Demand where other driver is uninsured 205KB PDF File (1 page)

MV Accident - Follow up Letter of Demand where other driver is uninsured 205KB PDF File (1 page)

MV Accident - Letter of Demand to other driver whether insurance or not 164KB PDF File (1 page)

Last updated: 27-February-2017