Car Accident. What to Do Next?

Hi.

My wife was driving with children. At the traffic light, she stopped but when she turned back to watch the kids in the back, the brake was released a bit and bumped the car (Lexus RX) in front of her.
The car in front of her had a dent in the rear bottom bumper.

My wife and the other lady driver (Lexus RX) exchanged the contacts and details. The driver from Lexus RX told my wife that she will go to the repair shop and then advise my wife whether she would contact the insurance company or not.

It has been 2 weeks and we didn't hear from her. After 2 weeks, my wife contacted the other driver and she said that she already contacted the insurance company and my wife would hear from the insurance company.

It is clear that it was my wife's fault but I would like to ask people what we should do next to fix our car. It had a damaged front grille only.

  1. Do we need to call the insurance company and repair via claim?

  2. Do we need to go to the repair shop and fix without insurance claim? At this moment, we don't know how much it will cost to replace the front grille.

  3. Will this increase our insurance cost next year? My wife is registered as the 2nd driver and we have had zero claim rating so far.

Thank you in advance for your help.

Comments

  • +4 votes

    Go get a quote for your car. If her damage and yours works out to be cheaper than excess just pay the other company directly. Don't fix your can unless you know this otherwise your company won't pay for your repairs.

    •  

      Thanks for the comment. At the moment, I don't know how much her repair cost would be. I don't think she knows either as she wanted to go through insurance. It is a small dent and I am guessing that she went to the dealership to repair. Also it is Lexus so I am guessing that the part would be expensive? In this case, how can I pay her?

      • +17 votes

        Pretty sure if you both have damage it will be worth going through insurance, especially since the other party already has. You will probably be shocked to find out how expensive it is to fix both cars. Also you may get to keep your no claim bonus but it depends on the insurer.

      • +2 votes

        The damage you described sounds a lot like the damage I caused to a Lexus in an accident a few years back. The dent was very small, but the repairs ended up costing $4,000. It's very very probable that the cost of your insurance excess will be a lot less than the cost of repairing the Lexus and repairing your car.

        •  

          Yeah - about 8 years ago I had a girl reverse in to me in a parking lot - the damage was only really a large rub mark and crack on the back/rear bumper - but it cost her almost $1200 just for the repairs to my car. As it was explained to me, it was the time to remove the panel, plastic weld it, and re-spray the entire panel. This was just in a plain matte white, on a cheap new-ish Lancer.

  • +5 votes

    It is clear that it was my wife's fault but I would like to ask people what we should do next to fix our car. It had a damaged front grille only.

    I'm assuming by this, you mean you have comprehensive cover.

    You can see how much the other driver's insurance is claiming + the cost of fixing your own car - estimated additional future costs from a claim (e.g. higher premiums), and whether all that is more or less than your excess to make a claim.

    If it's less, then you can consider just paying out of pocket for everything. If it's more, then I'd lean towards filing a claim against your insurance and paying the excess.

    • +6 votes

      Thank you for the comment. Yes we have comprehensive cover. Same as above, how do I see the other driver's insurance is claiming?

      • +30 votes

        Thanks for being insured.

        It's really sad that I'm not being sarcastic and it's actually like some sort of achievement in recent times.

        • +6 votes

          About 10 years ago, I bought a car and then the next day I had a multi car accident. I was glad as I was covered as the repair cost was about $5000… Since then I always get the comprehensive…

      • +8 votes

        This is a rare thing to see in one of these OzB posts.

      • +4 votes

        Echoing others' sentiment, good on you for having insurance.

        Generally you'll just talk to the other driver, or to their insurance. But ask them to confirm any numbers in writing.

        To be completely honest, unless your excess is extremely high, any official lexus repair is probably going to be over your excess and I personally just leave it to my insurance to work things out in situations like this - it's what I pay my insurance for anyway.

      •  

        The other driver's insurer will send you a letter of demand for damages once they've been assessed.

        •  

          How long does it take to get this letter? It has been more than 2 weeks and we still haven't received it.

          • +6 votes

            @doodlingtoddler: Just inform your insurance about the accident and let them deal with it.

          •  

            @doodlingtoddler: Could be 3 weeks, could be 6 months. Typically it will be when they know what it cost, which might even be after they've repaired the other parties car already. That's the plus of having insurance and using it, you don't need to wait for the other person involved in the accident to pay before you have damage repaired.

  • +27 votes

    If you do settle with cash - make sure you get a signed letter from that person saying that it as a full and final agreement which settles matter and no further money is owing.

    https://www.legalaid.nsw.gov.au/publications/factsheets-and-...

  • +12 votes

    Apparently the first thing to do after any accident is post on OzBargain.

  • +6 votes

    You can guarantee fixing two bumpers will be more than your excess, body shops know how to charge when it's insurance footing the bill

    Call your insurance company

    •  

      Yep, for two bumpers you can count on at least $600 each

    •  

      My excess is $800. To give you more details, it wasn't the bumper for both cars. For my car, it was the front grille that was damaged (some broken plastics which doesn't affect the driving) and the Lexus had a rear bottom skirt underneath the bumper that was damaged.

      •  

        That's all you could see externally, it's normally the stuff you can't that builds up the cost.

        Also never underestimate the cost off a grille. Years ago, my VX Berlina grille was over $600 from Holden.

        •  

          yeah my old man's volvo a few years ago had the front right corner damaged due to someone reversing into him. Front bumper, headlight/casing, front left panel all need repairs/replacing - was over $5k!

      •  

        I used to see a lot of autoshop repair quotes.

        The high cost is partly due to the cost of australian labour and partly due to the complexity of modern vehicles and parts.

        So what appears to be a small little bump can quickly escalate. On a more modern Ford, a small bump might cost about $4-5K to fix. It's very different to the cost of fixing a 2001 model Ford, that's for sure. For the 1-2 days that the Lexus driver's vehicle is out of commission, he/she is also entitled to a hire car and normally those charges are recoverable, so long as they are considered reasonable. Someone might slap you with a ridiculous hirecar charge or a vehicle tow charge, if so, run directly to your insurer.

        •  

          Can also be expensive spares. My car was in an accident and I need a new rear quarter and door skin. That's $2.4k if I get it from the dealer for those two. or it would be about $1400 if I got it from a wrecker (though uncommon car).

      •  

        $800 excess would be 5 hours worth of labour…

  • +8 votes

    It's a Lexus, just go through insurance…

  •  

    For minor damage it's usually cheaper to pay for the repair yourself rather than doing a claim, at least in the long run. Get a quote and decide from there.

    Your insurer will contact you regarding the other party. No need to do anything about their claim until they do.

    • +1 vote

      I was thinking the same thing.

      The thing that I don't know is that if the other party had gone to the insurance, do I have to pay the excess as it was my wife's fault?

      If I pay the excess for the other party regardless, then I was thinking maybe I should repair my car via claim too.

      •  

        You don't just pay the excess if the other party goes through their insurance, you pay for everything.

        Their insurance will end up paying nothing because you will be billed by them for the entire repair cost.

        So you should claim on your insurance, both cars will be paid for and then you only pay your excess.

  • +3 votes

    It is clear that it was my wife's fault

    Well thats a refreshing change for what is normally a oznotmyfaultinsurance post.

    ask people what we should do next to fix our car.

    As you had been at fault, who did you think was going to fix your car? The other party isn't going to be paying for it!

    Do we need to call the insurance company and repair via claim?

    You can do this

    Do we need to go to the repair shop and fix without insurance claim

    Or you can do this

    Depending on the price, pay for it yourself or claim.

    But remember the other party will be claiming on your insurance/you, so you'll be seeing a 'bill' arriving for that, so you're best to just claim everything at once via your insurance so you only pay the excess once.

    Will this increase our insurance cost next year? My wife is registered as the 2nd driver and we have had zero claim rating so far.

    Yes it will and yes you HAD a zero claim rating.

    • +1 vote

      Will the insurance company of the other party send the bill to my insurance company or myself?

      • +1 vote

        What details have you given them? If just yours, then you'll get the bill, if its your insurance companies, then they'll get the bill.

      • +3 votes

        If you have not informed your own insurance company, you will get the bill.

        If you have informed them of the accident, the two insurance companies will speak to each other amongst themselves without the other party or their insurer involving you ever again. If they contact you again, tell them to deal with your insurance.

        With my first accident I hit a chinese woman who was a learner driver who was about to do her driving test. She ended up failing the test and tried to blame me for it. I asked, how is it my fault that you failed the test? She said she was in the middle of a lesson, and she lost 15 minutes of her lesson time, and as a result failed the test. I said, if 15 minutes is the difference between passing and failing a test, then you simply weren't ready. She then claimed she was very stressed by the accident and she couldn't get her mind off it. The accident was a love tap, like yours. There's no way she could have got injured from it. The car was not even hers, and she had no liability, so I was not buying the stress.

        For the (bogus) hospital bills I told her TAC will pay for it. It's part of compulsory 3rd party insurance included in Rego. To do that she went to the police though, who then took the opportunity to fine me and give me 3 demerit points. Over the phone, the officer said the charge would be for loss of concentration. But when I received the fine, it said 'following too closely' (I wasn't following — the car in front was stationary, but I took my eye off the road to read street signs which are hard to read when you're driving. I didn't have a GPS at the time). If I get fined and demerited for being at fault for an accident, it would mean that everyone who gets into an accident should also be fined and given demerits, because you can't be at fault for an accident without either being too close to someone or losing concentration.

        She wanted me to also pay for a re-test and 6 more driving lessons for confidence which her instructor recommended for her. I don't know how losing 15 minutes of lesson time equates to 6 more lessons. If she needed 6 more lessons, then she simply wasn't ready for the test, and that extra 15 minutes would have made no difference.

        But she threatened me. Said her husband was a lawyer and they would sue me. Later she even claimed to need to go to a hospital and wanted me to pay her medical bills. She kept calling me multiple times trying to get money from me. During the time of the incident she was very aggressive towards me. But when she called me to ask for money, her tune was completely different. She was very friendly and sweet and told me she didn't blame me for anything, and wanted her instructor to just let me go, and don't be hard on me, and I'm just an innocent poor guy who was very unfortunate. That my friends is how you identify an opportunist.

        As I kept declining her threats, she got less and less friendly. Eventually she would have realised she had no case against me, or perhaps knew all along but just wanted to push her luck. She got the hint and stopped calling after a few weeks. It did stress me out though.

        The bottom line is, your liability is the damage to their car. Any other resulting loss is not your responsibility and if the other party tries to claim additional expenses out of you, tell them to go jump.

        • +1 vote

          everyone who gets into an accident should also be fined and given demerits

          Hopefully yeah - What's to stop them crashing every day if not losing their licence? Why would you want dangerous drivers on the road even if there's "no damage" or the parties don't care about the damage?

          •  

            @BobLim: Thousands of people a day get into accidents, but no fine. Because the police did not get called.

            Hopefully yeah - What's to stop them crashing every day if not losing their licence?

            Hopefully the expense? If cars were free, it might be a valid point.

        •  

          Sounds like you should have received a fine. You ran into a stationary car.

          • +1 vote

            @Euphemistic: Like thousands of people every day. Hitting a stationary car is no higher an offense than hitting a moving car. And that happens every day without fines. Everyone who is in an at-fault accident should be fined, but most of them aren't.

            •  

              @lostn: Yes. They should be fined. The recent car into Bondi shops in the news included that the police would not be charging the driver. I assume it’s becuase they think that having to cough up for insurance is enough.

              •  

                @Euphemistic: Wasn't that due to a medical condition? The police probably don't fine/charge in that case because there would be a good chance of getting it dismissed in court.

                •  

                  @ssquid: They do send a report to the RMS, though, who will generally suspend their licence on medical grounds until being cleared by a specialist.

        •  

          If I get fined and demerited for being at fault for an accident, it would mean that everyone who gets into an accident should also be fined and given demerits, because you can't be at fault for an accident without either being too close to someone or losing concentration.

          This is exactly right, cars don't crash by themselves.

          btw; If you get a psycho like this calling you up don't engage at all, just ignore all further contact.

  • +5 votes

    Regardless of making a claim or settling privately, you'll find your T&Cs require you to notify your insurance company otherwise you risk not being fully covered.

  • +1 vote

    To fix your car through insurance, you contact your insurer and submit a claim. They will instruct you on the next steps.

    To fix outside insurance, you just go straight to a repairer.

    Obviously do the math on which is more economical…but given the other driver has already contacted their insurer and nominated you at fault, you'll likely already have to pay the excess to fix their car, so you might as well fix your car through insurance also.

    Yes, your premium will increase.

  • +2 votes

    Unless you're driving an absolute beater of a car and barely graze a very cheap car and have an extremely high excess, the answer is always to contact your insurance immediately, they may not cover you if you delay and even seemingly minor damage can be thousands of dollars.

    You'll likely have to nominate that you had an at fault accident regardless of if you claim, so premiums may increase regardless. Basically if hit some one, or get hit you should be calling your insurer before COB the next business day at the latest. Note that when not at fault, you can even be covered that way with only a third party property policy depending on the insurer.

  • +2 votes

    Seriously what’s wrong with people, 2 weeks after hitting a Lexus for goodness sake and haven’t rang their insurance company lol. And worried about premium going up. HELLO that’s why you have insurance you pay the excess and let them handle it all, which will be probably be less than the 2 car repairs. /endthread

  • +4 votes

    At the traffic light, she stopped but when she turned back to watch the kids in the back, the brake was released a bit and bumped the car in front of her…

    Hahahaah… Priceless. Had to look if it was a new user post or not. A little disappointed. If only there was a law about drivers not paying attention on the road and turning about to mess with the kids in the back seat…

    Reminds me of a saying…

    Accidents in back seats cause kids. Kids in back seats cause accidents :D

  • +1 vote

    Two options I see:
    1. Go through insurance and have your car repaired under insurance.
    2. Avoid insurance, pay for the other drivers repairs. Fix your own car in the cheap. Either DIY or cheap panel repairer for cash. Buying a second hand grille and fitting it could be cheap enough.

    Option one or two depends on the cost of the repairs to the other vehicle and wether that is cheaper than an excess and any possible premium increase.

    In the past I have DIY’d repairs and claimed and had our car repaired professionally once. Had the claimed incident not involved another vehicle I would have DIYd.

  •  

    Car Accident. What to Do Next?

    Go straight to the Ozbargain forums, apparently.

  • +1 vote

    Go through your insurance. The other party's claim might also includes car rental while being repaired. Rear bumper damages are often not very visible but some internal parts are replaced as they are meant to absorb the shock.

  •  

    Old days.. get into an accident, call insurance company and let them sort it out. Nowadays get into an accident then ask for advice on the internet and receive a plethora of opinions. Then may be choose the 3rd out of 2 good options then come back and ask for more advice on how to get out of a pickle. And yea panel beaters won't get out of bed for less than $1000

  • -1 vote

    The funny thing is most Lexus for a while now have the auto hold brake feature for when stopped at lights or hill starts. Imagine if your wife had turned it on! Haha.

    It looks like a little circle that looks like a brake disc with a an A in the middle . Similar to the auto stop start button.

  •  

    Just call your insurer and give them all the details. They'll assess and fix your car as well as the other Lexus. Pretty certain your excess will be less than fixing the damage on both the cars. Sometimes it's better to not drag things out and do the obvious. Cheers!

  •  

    Please don't delay especially when hitting a 'luxury-brand' car. Act immediately

  • +1 vote

    Do we need to call the insurance company and repair via claim?

    I would suggest that, unless you think the repair costs of the Lexus AND your own repair costs will be cheaper than the excess you will pay.

    Do we need to go to the repair shop and fix without insurance claim? At this moment, we don't know how much it will cost to replace the front grille.

    You don't have to. You can go through insurance first. If the total cost of repair is less than the excess charge, you will only pay the repair cost and not the full excess. However, you'll also need to pay the repair costs of the Lexus, and a lot of people underestimate how much something costs to fix. Bumpers are actually not that cheap.

    Will this increase our insurance cost next year? My wife is registered as the 2nd driver and we have had zero claim rating so far.

    Yes, if it goes through insurance. Your premium should go up by $200 give or take. Stuff happens. Avoiding any sort of at-fault accident for an entire lifetime is unrealistic. No point stressing about it. The reason you buy insurance is to relieve your stress should something happen. Just pay it, take it as a valuable lesson and drive carefully next time. I doubt it will be your last accident.

  •  

    When someone go through insurance, most likely they will also claim for replacement car, hence it is always better if you claim your insurance too and pay excess. Otherwise you have to pay their insurance the repair cost which has been quoted more (insurance job always be quoted more) plus their rental car too.

  • +2 votes

    by the time they take out the 'little' dent from the Lexus bumper and then respray the bumper and possibly blend in to the other panels to negate colour change as much as possible, it will be over $600..
    then there is your own damage to consider, replacement grill, cost of part + installation = not cheap, even from a wreckers, it can be expensive.

    As long as you have maximum no claim bonus with 'claim protection' then you should just have to pay your excess and be hassle free.
    There may be some other hidden % in how they asses your next years insurance, but your no claim bonus may not get reduced if it is protected.

    •  

      If you have to repaint the neighboring panel to match the colour, wouldn't you also have to repaint the panel next to that one too, and eventually the whole car?

      •  

        Then you will have to replace the internal parts as it doesn't match the new color then the engine and then the driver.

  •  

    Not always, but they may, blend into the panel, not the whole panel, then redo clear coat

    •  

      Claim protection..?

      • +2 votes

        You can protect your 'No Claim Bonus', either by paying extra or by x years without a claim.

        NRMA Excerpt..

        With No Claim Bonus Protection, you can make one claim in a Policy year and your No Claim Bonus will stay at the same level. However, it won't count as a claim free year, if you have protection and make more than one claim in a policy year, your No Claim Bonus Discount level will be reduced.

  • -2 votes

    Teach your wife how to stop properly, and maintain a speed consistent with the traffic.

  • +1 vote

    Take photos of cars, file a claim with your insurer, theyll tell you what to do next

  • +1 vote

    Thank you all for your help. I contacted the insurance company today and they arranged the repair. My rating has gone from 1 to 3, not sure how much the increase will be but you can't change what happened I guess…

  • +2 votes

    OP - after having a rating 1 no claim bonus for years and continuously seeing our insurance premiums rise, we started checking the price through the online calculator for new policies and found it to be around 10-15% cheaper than renewing our rating 1 no claim bonus policy automatically. Now my OH calls and gets the renewal price matched to the online quote. Doing this might help offset some of the rise in premium from losing your rating 1.

  • +1 vote

    Car Accident. What to Do Next?

    Next?
    Well you have taken the correct initial step

    1 Post about it on OzBargain.

    Step #2 Add ms paint (or equivalent) diagram .

    Step #3 Be grateful nobody was hurt, I am glad and grateful of that .

  •  

    Good on you for having insurance, O.P. - considering that the one claim will cover damage to both vehicles, unless your excess is astronomical you would likely be far better off claiming - even taking into consideration an inflated premium next year.

    I am always concerned when I see the driver of the vehicle behind being distracted by their kids in the back seat at traffic lights - for this very reason.

    • +1 vote

      Or in front.
      Yesterday watched a woman with kids in the back stop and start in heavy traffic between using her phone that was on her lap. See this stuff everyday.

  • -2 votes

    /rant!
    Always start with: I have "third party/comprehensive Insurance" or "NO insurance".

    Then Ms paint

    <our judges & specialist will make a judgement and consider your endless story>

    Then tell your endless story.

    /rant!

  •  

    If your kids in the back were in car seats, please have the seats checked out. Most need to be discarded/replaced after even mild accidents as the structural integrity is easily compromised. They lose some or most of their protection capability even though the shell may look undamaged.

    Not sure if this applies to your situation or whether anyone else has mentioned it, so apologies in advance if irrelevant.

  •  

    Um.. if this happenned two weeks ago and you are insured.. why on earth is this still an issue??

    With my insurance company (Suncorp) you ring up straight away, the car is fixed within 2-3 days and it's all over with (plus you get a hirecar). This is such a non issue, after two weeks you've definitely moved on with your life and forgotten all about it.

    Can't believe you'd sit and think about it all this time. You've got a good car, get it fixed properly and safely.

  • -1 vote

    I have no idea why people buy comprehensive insurance then won't contact their insurance company immediately when they have a problem. I guess they think they can save the excess and/or hike to insurance, but even a cosmetic scratch these days costs a bomb to fix.

  •  

    Teach your wife about hand brakes and park gear.

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