Car insurance claims
When you’re involved in an accident, there are a few things you’ll need to do in order to lodge a car insurance claim in Singapore. Chief among these are what to do directly following an accident, how to notify your insurer, and how to get your vehicle repaired. This handy guide will help you follow the claims process properly, so you’ll have less chance of delays or hang-ups with the completion of any claims you may make in the future.
Directly after an incident
When you’re involved in an accident, the number one thing to remember straight away is to stay calm. Keeping a clear and calm head will help you to note all the details you’ll need for your claim, as well as ensure all proper Singaporean road rules and laws are followed. It’s also better to leave your vehicles where they are until you have taken photographs, and called the police. Only move vehicles out of the way of traffic when an officer has told you it is safe to do so.
What you should do directly after an incident is check and make sure all parties involved are ok. If someone is severely injured or dying then the absolute first thing you need to do is call an ambulance at 995. If the parties are ok then you can:
- Exchange particulars of all parties - Including their names, NRIC/FIN, telephone number, address, and insurer details.
- Take note of - The number of vehicles involved, the time and date of the incident, and the location. It could also be helpful to note down exactly what you were doing and remember leading up to the accident, as this could help in your statement with the police.
- Take evidence - Collect names and contact details of witnesses if possible. Photograph the scene as safely and as best you can in order to provide evidence to your insurer.
When taking photographs, remember to try and capture at least these three things: the accident scene (including images of the surrounding areas), the damage incurred by your vehicle, the damage incurred by other vehicles or property.
Avoid all unauthorized tow-truck operators or repair workshops!
Contact the Police (999) or Ambulance Service (995) should the incident involve any foreign vehicles, injuries/fatalities, pedestrians or cyclists, hit and run drivers, or damage to government property (including vehicles, traffic lights, or lamp post).
If you and the other parties decide to reach a settlement without involving your insurers, you should seek to have proof of the agreement before you part ways. This can include a written agreement signed by all parties, which will be useful as you should still lodge an accident report as Reporting Only (RO) to protect yourself from liability. If you feel unsure or uncomfortable at any time with a private settlement, contact your insurer or a legal advisor immediately.
Notifying your insurer
In order to get your claim rolling and your vehicle in for repair, you’ll need to contact your insurer directly. Once the preliminary steps have been taken at the scene of the incident, calling your insurer’s hotline will provide you with all the information and help you should need to start the claims process. The first part of the process will involve getting a tow-truck to take your vehicle to an Authorized Reporting Center (ARC), regardless of whether it’s damaged or not.
If you are unsure or prefer to repair your vehicle at your own choice of workshop, you may also proceed to an Independent Damage Assessment Center (IDAC) instead. Regardless of the option you choose to take your vehicle to, the following steps must be followed:
- Lodge an accident report at the ARC/IDAC: Before commencing any repair work on your vehicle. This report must be lodged within 24 hours of the accident occurring, excluding incidents that take place on weekends or public holidays. You will need the following documents:
- Your National Registration Identity Card (NRIC)
- Your Driver's License
- Insurance Certificate
- Decide whether you want to claim for Own Damage (OD) or Third Party (TP): This is a decision that cannot be changed after 14 days and refers to whether or not you want to claim for damage to your own vehicle, or for the damage to a third party.
- Lodge an accident report as RO: If you have reached a private settlement, a Private Settlement Form will also be required by the insurer.
The ARC, IDAC, or your chosen workshop will conduct a damage assessment to prepare a repair quotation and description of repairs required for your insurer. Remember, the work quoted will be to return the vehicle back to its original, working condition - any modified parts you have in your vehicle may only be covered for the stock price; any remaining amount payable for repair will be attributed to you (unless it has been declared and insured beforehand).
The workshop will then forward the quotation to your insurer for consideration.
All accidents must be reported to your insurer within 24 hours or the next working day. No matter how trivial the incident, even where no damage has occurred to your vehicle, or even if you’re claiming from any insurers or third parties.
Failing to report an accident to your insurer might result in:
Getting your vehicle repaired
If there is damage to your vehicle that will be claimed under your car insurance policy, then the next step is to have your car repaired. This takes a few more steps involving your insurer and workshop before the claims process is complete. These steps include:
- Awaiting insurer’s surveyor assessment: The insurer involved will arrange for their own or an independent surveyor to assess the vehicle before approving the repair costs quoted by the workshop. This will generally be done within two days, and the surveyor may authorize several types of repairs depending on the vehicle’s age and model. The number of repair days given to complete the work will also be determined by the surveyor.
- Await repairs to be completed: Once approved, the workshop will be cleared to commence the repair work on your vehicle. Should the workshop discover any further damage or replacement costs during this work, they will need to contact the insurer’s surveyor to conduct a reassessment.
- Pay the excess upon collection of your vehicle: The insurer and workshop will require you to sign a Liability Discharge Receipt and/or pay for any excess to the workshop if you claimed OD before your vehicle can be released.
The final part of the claims process will see the insurer act to settle the claimed damages and repair costs with the workshop directly. Of course, this is provided your claim has been approved. If it has, there is nothing more you should need to do; your insurer and the workshop will settle the bill directly.
Submitting your claim within the deadline stipulated by your insurer is crucial. These timeframes can vary between insurers but generally last between 7 and 14 days from when the incident occurred. If you have any confusion as to what your deadline might be for lodging a claim, check your policy documents, check with your insurer, or contact our team at Kwiksure Singapore for more information.
If the incident you’re involved in has some complicating factors (such as a cross junction case, foreign vehicle involved, unknown liability), then your claims process may require you to decide which type of claim you wish to make. An Own Damage Uninsured Losses (ODUL) or Damage Recover (DR) claim means claiming your own damage to repair your vehicle first and committing to paying the excess amount.
Once the claim is completed, insurers will subrogate the claim and recover the losses from the other party, or the other party’s insurance. The risk with this option is that the process may or may not be successful in recovering losses from a third party, and this approach can take some time to reach the settlement stage.
Do’s and don’ts with car insurance claims
In addition to knowing how to process a claim, you will also need to know a few “Do’s and Don’ts” when it comes to being involved in a car accident in Singapore: