4 April 2018
10% of all enquiries to the IFSO Scheme are from uninsured drivers who have been in car accidents. The IFSO Scheme has produced a consumer info sheet to explain the issues.
“If you own a vehicle, you should have insurance,” says Karen Stevens, Insurance & Financial Services Ombudsman. “We can only investigate complaints from customers about their own insurers. Unfortunately, if you don’t have insurance we can’t do anything to help.”
“Generally, if you caused the accident, you will have to pay for the repairs to the other car(s). If the other driver caused the accident, they have to pay. If you have insurance, your insurer will deal with the other driver and sort out the repairs to your car.”
The most common issues are when:
- Neither driver accepts they caused the accident
When it isn’t clear, or you can’t agree, who caused the accident it might have to be resolved through the Disputes Tribunal.
- The driver who caused the accident doesn’t agree with the repair costs
If you are at fault and the other driver has insurance, their insurer is likely to pay for the repair and you will have to pay them back. If you don’t agree with the costs, you will have to get your own costing from a mechanic or panel beater, to challenge it. This must be presented to the insurer in writing.
- The insured driver still has to pay an excess
Having to pay an excess is a common cause of frustration for insured drivers who are not at fault. In most cases, you have to pay an excess when your claim is accepted, regardless of who caused the accident. Some insurance policies will waive the excess in limited circumstances. But, if your excess is not waived and the other driver does not have insurance, in many cases, the only way to recover the excess is through the Disputes Tribunal.
If you don’t have insurance and you’ve been in an accident:
- Your local CAB can help you to find out about your rights and options
- If the other driver is insured, deal with their insurer directly, in writing
- Ask for copies of pre-accident photos, assessments and costings
- If you disagree with costs, you will need to get your own evidence
- The Disputes Tribunal can hear disputes about car accidents up to $15,000
See our info sheets:
Car accidents when you don’t have insurance