If you’ve been driving for a few years now, you may have experienced being in a car accident, or at least know people who have. Whether it’s crashing with another vehicle or into someone else’s property, car accidents can send drivers and passengers into a panic.
Sometimes, it may not even be any driver’s fault. Imagine waking up after an evening of long, heavy rain and finding your car damaged by flood. Or worse, you find that it has been crushed by a fallen tree.
It’s in times like these when you can be grateful that Singapore requires every car owner to get insurance cover. However, the amount and extent of assistance you get depends on the type of cover you have.
You also need to know your insurance provider’s policies, especially their time limit for making insurance claims.
Reporting to your insurer
No matter what type of coverage you have, you’re required by the General Insurance Association of Singapore to report the incident to your insurer within 24 hours or on the next working day. You must then bring your car to a reporting centre approved by your insurer to have it inspected.
Do this even if your car hasn’t been damaged in the accident, or if you think the damage is small or insignificant. Not doing so may result in having your No Claim Discount (NCD) forfeited or reduced by 10 percent.
Filing an insurance claim
To make an insurance claim, you’ll need to prepare the following documents:
Even if the damage is minor, you still need to file an accident report. To do so, contact your insurance company while you are still at the accident site so they can assist you with the report.
Certificate of Insurance
This is proof that you’re covered by a certain policy, be it Comprehensive, Third Party, Fire & Theft, or Third Party Only. This is a non-negotiable document issued to your by your insurer when you get an insurance policy.
Completed claim form for windscreen damage
In cases when the only damage to your car is to the windscreen, submit a completed claim form for this specific damage only.
Police report (if needed)
If someone involved in the accident has been injured, file a police report. This may be yourself, a passenger, or another driver. A police report is also required in hit-and-run cases.
You’ll also need to file a police report if a pedestrian or cyclist has been hit, or if a government vehicle/property or foreign vehicle is involved.
The police report should contain relevant and detailed information. Keep in mind that it will serve as the official written record of the accident, and will be used by insurance companies and lawyers when assessing your insurance claim and liability. So provide accurate details as much as you can recall.
Medical and specialist reports
If any of the parties were injured, you’ll need to get a copy of treatment records so you can seek compensation from your insurer for medical expenses. These may include costs for the paramedics, X-rays and other scans, hospitalisation, medicine, physical therapy, and follow-up appointments.
Don’t wait to long before seeking medical treatment and filing a claim. If you do so, you’ll give insurance providers a reason to believe your injuries weren’t caused by the accident, but by something else that happened afterwards.
Bills and invoices of expenses incurred
Keep the receipts and invoices for services, such as towing and medical treatment, so your insurance company can reimburse you for these.
Documents supporting your claim
To make sure your insurance claim process runs smoothly, prepare supporting documents, such as photos of the accident. Security camera footage is also useful, so get a copy if it’s available.
Names and particulars of witnesses
If there were any witnesses to the accident, get their names and contact numbers. After all, two drivers involved in a car crash will have different perspectives.
Having witnesses may thus boost the chances of success of your car accident claim. Just make sure they’re credible and willing to give witness statements.
Details of the other party
If you were involved in a car crash, get the following details from the other driver:
- Car license plate number
- NRIC or other identification numbers
- Phone number
- Insurance details
Bottom line: don’t stall
The longer you wait to report an accident, the higher the chances that your claim will be entangled in complications, errors and legalities. You even risk having your NCD nullified if you fail to report the accident within 24 hours or the next working day.
After all, it’s not unreasonable to suspect the damage or your injury may have been caused by another incident if you wait for two days or more before contacting your insurer.
So always keep your insurer’s contact details with you. At DirectAsia, we have a 24/7 hotline for making claims, and assign a dedicated claims specialist to you within 24 hours of your report. Our claims review takes less than seven days, and we’ve settled more than 51,000 claims to date.