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Car insurance claims in Singapore are an interesting dilemma. We pay for the most expensive cars in the world, and are forced to pay premiums for car insurance, but in an accident, we would rather not make any car insurance claim because we’re scared our car insurance premiums will increase!
What we should be really scared about is not knowing what to do in an accident and then jeopardising our car insurance claims due to an avoidable mistake.
Since 2008, the Motor Claims Framework has set a base standard for all car insurance providers in Singapore. The purpose of it is to ensure that clear and common procedures are followed in the event of an accident. But even after 10 years, old habits die hard. Here are 6 silly things Singaporeans do that affect their car insurance claims:
1. Discussing liability right after the accident
Anyone who has ever been in an accident before would know that the moments right after the accident are probably one of the worst times to be making any serious decisions. While it is important to keep a cool head (and make sure everyone is safe), you should avoid entering into a discussion on liability with a third party at the scene.
You may not be in the right frame of mind or knowledgeable enough to decide what needs to be done. Leave it to the insurer to assess damages and who is really liable. And most importantly, don’t admit legal responsibility or make offer to pay for damages.
2. Take photos of the accident that aren’t helpful
Don’t just take super zoomed in shots of the damaged areas of both your car and the other vehicles involved. These photos aren’t worth much if there’s no context to them. How can you prove that these photos even belong to the vehicles involved if you don’t include the license plates in the shot?
Ideally you should take both kinds of photos – both zoomed in to show the impact area and damage (but also showing the relevant license plates where possible) and zoomed out to show aspects like the accident area, road conditions, etc. Three to four shots each should be enough.
3. Not getting all the right personal details from other parties
In an accident, you should get as much relevant information as possible from all parties involved. This means you need to exchange your name, NRIC number, telephone number and insurer. If you forget to ask, or they’re uncooperative in providing these pieces of information, it could affect your claims.
In such a situation, at least take down the vehicle registration number, so that your insurer can file a claim on your behalf with that information.
The best case here would be apart from getting the driver’s particulars, try to note the number of passengers in the third party’s car, the gender, age and race. Better yet, if you can get their names that would be ideal, although most of the time it is unlikely that you will be able to get all the passengers’ details.
Why is this important? This is essentially to prevent the third party from filing phantom passenger injury claims.
4. Accept help from unauthorised tow-truck operators and repair workshops
It’s always nice to receive help when you’re involved in an accident. But just be extra vigilant about these kind people who approach you, especially if they don’t seem to have anything to do with the accident in the first place. They may be offering to help with claims and repairs or to tow your vehicle, but you can never be sure if their workshops are reliable or if they’re just trying to make a fast buck from unsuspecting victims.
We’ve even heard of potential scammers and syndicates who may be causing accidents in order to get more business while posing as good Samaritans! And of course, there are horror stories about unauthorised tow-truck operators who offer their help, then extort you before they return your vehicle.
Always contact your car insurance provider’s hotline for towing services or further advice on the accident. That’s what you’re paying your premium for, after all.
5. Wait too long to submit a car insurance claim report
You need to make an accident report to your car insurance provider within 24 hours of the accident, or by the next working day if the accident happens on a Saturday night. If you are unable to, there had better be a good reason for it – you might be in Malaysia, for example, and unable to tow the car back to Singapore in time, or you may be rushing to catch a flight.
In those circumstances, you should still try to contact your insurer within 24 hours and explain the situation and follow any advice and instructions they have.
Failure to report the accident in time, or at all may affect your ability to claim from the insurers.
6. Not taking full advantage of additional services provided by your insurer
You’d also be silly not to take advantage of additional services that companies like Income provides. Even if you do know what to do to resolve the accident, the impact can still be a very stressful experience and you might miss an important step in the process.
Fortunately, Income has a 24/7 accident response team called Orange Force. Once you give them a call, they’ll arrive at the accident site anytime and anywhere in Singapore, and ensure that all the necessary steps are taken to protect your interests.
Income also has a Motor Service Centre (MSC) that provides you with all the necessary accident reporting and damage assessment service you require. From my own first-hand experience, their Customer Care Executives are extremely capable and conscientious, guiding you through the necessary procedures and reassuring you of their high standards.
These same Executives will also help you liaise with other parties involved in the accident and workshops, if necessary, as well as coordinate the repair process with Income’s own workshops.
To find out more about Income’s car insurance policies, click here.
Do you know of any other silly things that Singaporeans do to jeopardise their car insurance claims? Share them with us.