The one thing that really upsets me about driving in Singapore? “Superhuman” drivers. You know who I’m talking about. Drivers who become faster than the Flash when the light turns amber. Drivers who think the legal speed limit is just a “suggestion”. “Psychic” drivers who cut into your lane without signalling.
But the worst of these? The true “supervillains” are the ones with “eggshell skulls”. You know what I’m talking about – you get into a little accident with them and suddenly they’re the most fragile human beings in the world and you get slapped with all kinds of claims.
For those of us who drive, we know that unless we’re very, very, VERY lucky, there’s always a chance we’ll be involved in an accident. And before you start going around knocking on all kinds of wooden objects, I’m not saying it has to be a major accident. It could even be the smallest of scrapes that just takes a bit of paint off, but my point is, it happens to all of us. And don’t rely on your insurance company to protect you from overclaiming either. Even though you may be paying your car insurance premium diligently, and therefore expect your insurance company to do their due diligence, the truth is they don’t have to thoroughly investigate every claim that they receive.
So if it’s going to happen whether you like it or not, the important thing is to protect yourself as much as possible from these potential “supervillains”. Here are 4 ways that you can protect yourself from drivers who overclaim.
1. Make sure your camera phone has enough space and power whenever you’re on the road
Are you addicted to taking selfies? Do you have a lot of apps running on your phone? You might be putting yourself at risk for that unexpected moment when you get into an accident. Why? Because you should take as many photos of the scene of the accident as possible. Here are the kinds of photos you’ll need:
- Scene of the accident – take pictures that capture the vehicles involved in the accident and your surroundings.
- Your own vehicle – take pictures that show the damage to your own vehicle, making sure that your license plate is clearly visible.
- Other vehicles involved – take pictures that show the damage to these vehicles, making sure that their license plates are clearly visible. Not only that, you should also take pictures of the undamaged parts of the vehicle – especially since you don’t want to end up being responsible for damage that you didn’t cause.
2. Invest in an in-car camera
This is 2015 and every astute driver has a car camera installed in their vehicle. It’s not an expensive investment (you can get a decent one for less than $150) but you should definitely not be without one in this day and age.
Having an in-car camera often gives you undeniable proof when determining who is to blame in an accident. This is, of course, assuming that you’ve set it up correctly and it is able to capture video as clearly as possible. Don’t be stingy and get a cheaper in-car camera if it’s all but useless because the resolution isn’t high enough and is unable to give you the necessary field of vision.
In fact, you might want to take this suggestion further and get two in-car cameras. One for the front and one for the back. Even though it’s usually never your fault when you get rear-ended, you don’t want to be without video evidence in that rare situation when you might be liable.
Not only would footage from an in-car camera help you in an accident, it can also be extremely useful in providing clear, undisputed evidence during hit-and-run and road rage accidents. Alternatively, if you’re lucky enough, you might capture an “interesting” situation that could go viral. Like this one.
3. Even if you have video evidence, draw a sketch and include as many details as possible
You may have video and photographic evidence, but unless you have the memory of an elephant, there’s still going to be details that you may have missed. Sketching a bird’s eye view of the accident displaying details like the position of the vehicles involved, any other notable surroundings like the road divider or a sign, or any injuries incurred as a result.
Basically, this means that if someone had no obvious physical injuries after the accident, but then claimed to have a fractured finger or a sprained ankle afterwards, you can be sure that it wasn’t due to the accident.
Try to get this sketch done as soon as possible, of course, before you start forgetting little bits and pieces of information. This means you might want to keep a notebook and writing materials in your car. Just in case. Also, make sure you get the other party to sign off on your sketch, if not, it’s just going to be as good as any other drawing you decided to cook up in your mind.
4. Report the accident as soon as possible
Now that you’ve gotten all the evidence you need, it’s time to let your insurer know. No matter how small an accident it may be, you should definitely call your insurer and report it to them. Depending on the situation, your insurer may get you a tow truck or advise you to bring your vehicle to an accident reporting centre or workshop.
It goes without saying then, that you should always have your insurer’s hotline available.
Make sure you do this as soon as possible. Don’t wait for the 24 hour deadline. Why? Because the other vehicles, drivers and passengers involved may get into further accidents after that time. If you don’t report it early, they might end up exaggerating claims, which will result in higher costs to you.
You may be concerned that reporting the accident to your insurer may not be the most prudent method, especially when the accident or damage is minor or negligible. You may think you’re risking your No-Claim Discount or you might be worried that the insurer will increase your premiums as a result.
However, on the other hand, if found out by your insurer, you also run the risk of having future claims prejudiced or even declined by them. Failure to report may even affect your No-Claim Discount! So, even if you’re not making any claims from the insurer, you should still report it.
Do you have any other suggestions on how to protect yourself from overclaiming? Share them with us.