Making a claim without insurance

Sometimes you may not want to use your insurance to recover your repair costs after a car accident. It is important to let your insurer know that you have been involved in a crash, even if you don’t intend to make a claim.

Someone may make a claim against you or you may decide to make a claim later on. If you did not inform the insurer at the time of the crash, they may refuse your claim later. You do not have to make a claim through your insurer even if you have told them about the crash. You can pay for repairs yourself, or demand payment from the other driver, without using your insurance policy.

If you think you are partly at fault, it may be possible to negotiate the amount each driver has to pay.

You should try to get legal advice if you want to demand payment without using your insurer.

This information will help you to understand the steps you may need to take if you are not making a claim using your insurance. Find out:

  • How to make a demand for payment
  • What to do if I can reach an agreement, and
  • What I can do if the other driver refuses to pay.

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. 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 it is fairly common to get at least two quotes. 

  • More than one will help with negotiation.
  • Make sure the quotes are for the same work.
  • The other driver only has to pay for the lowest quote.

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 in relation to 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.

 

Resources

 

Reviewed: 11 April 2018

Have you been in a car crash?

The Car Crash self-help guide can help you deal with damage to cars and property after an accident.

Disclaimer

The information displayed on this page is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. If you have a legal problem, you should see a lawyer. Legal Aid Western Australia aims to provide information that is accurate, however does not accept responsibility for any errors or omissions in the information provided on this page or incorporated into it by reference.