Making a claim without insurance
How to make a demand for payment for repair costs
If the other driver is at fault you can try to recover the cost of repairs from the other driver for the damage to your car. To do this, send the driver or their insurance company a letter of demand asking for the cost of repairs, towing and storage. The letter should ask for payment (or a reply) by a set date. Also say why you think they are responsible for the damage.
Try to get legal advice before sending the letter. Keep a copy of the letter. Sometimes people send a demand by email or text message. If you do this, make sure you keep a copy of what you send. If you send an email make sure you get and keep the read receipt. Writing 'without prejudice' at the top of the letter means it cannot be used as evidence in any later court case. You should get legal advice about what is best in your case.
The total amount of your claim should be the cost to repair your car plus any towing or storage fees. To support the amount you ask for, include quotes and any receipts for towing and storage costs.
There are no rules about how many quotes you must obtain, but you should get at least two quotes.
- Make sure the quotes are for the same work.
- The other driver only has to pay for the lowest quote.
More than one quote will help if you need to negotiate with the other driver, for example, to show that the cost of a particular part or labour to do repairs is not unreasonable.
You should get legal advice about who is at fault before finalising the total amount of your claim and sending a letter of demand. The total amount of your claim may be reduced if you were partly responsible for causing the crash.
Examples of letters of demand are included with the infosheet at the end of this page.
What if I can reach an agreement?
If you reach an agreement with the other driver or their insurer, you may be asked to sign a settlement agreement. This document releases the other driver from further responsibility for the property damage. You should get legal advice before signing this agreement.
A sample settlement agreement is included with the infosheet at the end of this page.
What do I do if the other driver refuses to pay?
If the other driver refuses:
- to pay, or
- to make arrangements to pay,
you may need to start court proceedings in the Magistrates Court (for claims up to $75,000).
Always get legal advice before starting court proceedings.
Reviewed: 10 October 2022