Whether you like it or not, you have to buy car insurance to be able to drive your car in Singapore and this is obviously for good reason. It only takes a slightly rainy day here to see crashes all over the island. Whether you’ve chosen a policy from Aviva, FWD, or the ever-popular NTUC auto insurance, knowing what to do if you’re in an accident can make all the difference in the success of your auto insurance claim.
If you’ve been a sensible driver, you may have been able to get away with proudly earning the No Claims Discount (NCD) on your auto insurance policy year after year.
Reading: How to make a claim on car insurance
sometimes, accidents happen. The thing about car insurance in singapore is that claims will put your ent in jeopardy. so what should you do?
It may not involve another party, and it may just be a case of you being a fuzzy drunk. there is a different set of considerations there because making a car insurance claim will put your ent in jeopardy. we discuss these two different scenarios here and what you should do.
scenario 1: having an accident with another driver
If you are the victim, you have the option of having your car insurance company file a claim against the insurance company of the person who hit you. you can discuss this with the other driver after the accident occurs.
if you are the cause of the accident, keep in mind that it may affect your ncd if insurers get involved.
however, in case of accidents, this is the proper procedure:
submit claim report within 24 hours after accident
do not exchange whatsapp numbers with the other driver and spend days chatting before deciding to make an insurance claim.
Many insurers require that you contact them within a certain period of time, usually 24 hours. so don’t beat around the bush, or you may find yourself outside the maximum length of time allowed for your accident to be reported and claim processed.
take photos of the accident scene and damage
Take detailed photos of the accident scene and the vehicles involved. pay attention to the angles of the photos you take and make sure you get enough photographic images of the scene and context of the accident. A helpful rule of thumb to borrow from professional photographers is to document an event or subject with at least 3 shots:
- Tight: This refers to getting close to details like damaged areas, dents, and scratches on both your car and the other party’s car.
- medium: that zooms out a bit and captures more of the environment and context of the accident. a medium shot could, for example, show both cars at the scene of the accident.
- Wide: This is the farthest shot and is meant to give the viewer an idea of the area around the accident and perhaps the road and weather conditions that day.
- names of drivers of all involved
- nric numbers
- address of driver/drivers
- car insurance company of the vehicles involved
- contact numbers
- if the provided repair assessment establishes that your repairs will be less than the insurance excess you are required to pay = do not claim
- if the given repair estimate states that your repairs will cost more than your excess = how much more is above your excess?
It is also worth taking the license plates of all the vehicles involved. You will need to send these photos to your insurer as proof of what happened.
by the way, if you have one of those dash cams, all the better (and if you don’t, consider investing in one). a video showing who was at fault for the accident can be more helpful than a dozen photos no matter what the angle.
get the other driver’s contact details
Unless you crashed alone and no one else was affected, there will be at least one other driver involved.
and it is important that you write down the contact details of the other driver, including at least
You will need the other driver’s contact details if you want to make a claim against them. If your insurer can prove that the accident was your fault, they will file a claim against your insurer and you will not lose your discount for not claiming.
do not move the vehicle unless necessary
Leave your vehicle where it is unless it is absolutely necessary to move it. If you move your car more than necessary, you are giving your insurance company or the other driver an opportunity to dispute your claim. but please don’t drive home before contacting your insurer.
Of course, if your car is hit in the middle of the road and needs to be moved to the shoulder of the road for safety reasons, move it to a safe location.
report the accident to your insurer
Look at the numbers you have on your speed dial. In addition to your mom, your boss, your hairdresser, your bookmaker, etc, you must also have the number of etiqa, msig, directasia, or the insurance of your car.
Different insurers will have different methods of filing a claim. Call your insurer’s 24-hour hotline at the scene of the accident to find out what to do.
for example, many auto insurance companies (eg, ntuc income, aig, aviva) expect you to use only tow trucks owned by their company or an affiliate. accepting any other towing service could have complications for your claim.
By the end of the next business day, you must also file a report in person at your insurance company’s reporting center. customer service staff will help you submit the forms you need, so don’t forget to bring all your proof, like photos and contact details of the other driver.
have your car repaired at an authorized workshop
While auto insurers can no longer invalidate your claim if you use an unauthorized shop, going to one can still complicate things if they botch the repairs and lead the insurer to believe they caused the damage.
so it is even safer to go to an authorized workshop to carry out repairs. If you’re not sure which shops are authorized, call the insurer for directions. the shop should be able to provide you with all the documentation you need to file your claim.
In some cases, it’s worth noting that using an unauthorized shop (even if your insurer allows you to do so) can increase the time needed to perform evaluations and ultimately affect when you get your car back. car in working condition. This is because the insurer has to arrange for surveyors to come to the unauthorized shop to assess the damage and suggest repairs.
A list of suggested repairs must also be submitted to the surveyor for approval before work can begin and this takes time.
scenario 2: you had an accident on your own
this could happen to the best. a momentary lapse in concentration, or goofing around and being distracted by your mobile phone while driving, and the next thing you know, your car has a new coat of paint.
If it’s a minor scratch, that’s the least of your worries. If you’re missing the left headlight and parts on the left side of your car, that’s a whole different problem. this is when you need to make a decision:
determining whether making a car insurance claim is worth losing your no claim discount (ncd)
Before you call your insurer in tears, make sure you want to make this claim in the first place. If your discount for not claiming is large enough, it may not be worth making a claim in the first place, since you’ll end up paying higher premiums next year.
so do the math comparing your ncd to the damage cost. If all you have is a scratch or a broken side mirror, it’s probably not worth losing your ncd over.
now this is a bit complicated and is best explained in a scenario:
mr. so she just had an accident in the parking lot of his condo. Missing a turn, he dented the entire left side of his car going up the parking lot ramp. sounds familiar? don’t pretend haha anyway, now that your beautiful car and your feelings are hurt, you need to fix that.
If your car can be driven without moving, take it to a shop for an evaluation as quickly as possible:
Making a claim means Mr Tan loses his NCD (unless of course he has an NCD protector built into his policy) and this automatically means his premiums will go up for the following year. how much are you asking for? The increase in the car insurance premium for the following year cannot be determined with precision, but it usually implies:
mr base premium as low as $2,000. At 50% NCD, you pay $1,000 in premiums. if you make a claim you lose 30% of the ncd and it is reduced to 20%. Insurers may add a loading fee if the claims for your accident are high enough. There are many determining factors for this, but for the case of this example, let’s assume a 10% loading fee, which is basically an addition to your auto insurance premium for the next year.
If Mr. Tan determines that you will pay approximately $760 more in your premiums the following year if you file a claim. Are the repair costs less than this amount? if so, it’s not worth losing his ncd just to make a claim. this applies regardless of what the ncd of it is, and you need to do the basic sums first.
find out how this will affect your premiums
As mentioned, not only will you lose a 30% discount, but your insurer could add loading fees that will cause your base premium to increase. You can talk to your insurer and ask how much your premiums will increase next year.
If your premiums go up significantly, it could mean it’s time to shop around for a new auto insurance policy. While your accident will increase your premiums across all insurers, you may be able to find one that is cheaper than what you are currently being charged.
Get car insurance plans with good coverage and claim processes through the moneysmart assistant.
have you ever made a car insurance claim in singapore? Share your experiences in the comments!