My Insurance Has Written off My Car (Not at Fault) - Is There Anything Else I Can Do as I'm out of Pocket?

Hi everyone,

This is solely to get some advice, opinions and experiences as I've never been in this situation before and hardly ever need to claim on my insurance. OzBargain was helpful last time I had a weird insurance question I had no experience with.

Long story short, I own a Hyundai i30 that has just turned 12 years old. It was top of the range with lots of extras, in immaculate condition and only 90,000kms (I don't drive much, lol). I have not looked at my insurance much over the years as it's actually an addition to my Dad's policy with AAMI.

A scumbag of a useless driver was in a parallel park on a 60km road. As I was about to pull in line with his boot I saw his indicator flick on to pull out…. and then he did straight away without checking at all and slammed into my front passenger side and front wheel arch. My whole front side was wrecked and my car has now been written off.

My insurance will pay Redbook value which is around $5400 according to them. A quick look on Carsales showed that same model cars with equivalent kms (worse TBH) are around $10k - $11k and even cars with much worse kms are about the same.

I am super pissed off with myself for not checking my insurance and what value I was insured at. That is on me, I know. Prices are probably up due to COVID as well.

Having said that, is there any way to make this less painful? A number of friends have said to sue the other driver or his insurance for the difference. I honestly don't know if this is a thing? I also don't have dash cam and it was peak hour so the one witness who came to help me get my car off the road ran off straight away to get his own car out of the way and I don't have his details. All I have are the details of the offending driver and whatever details AAMI may have gotten from him, if they share them.

Am I screwed? I honestly don't need this. I'm not working ATM due to a workplace injury and the loss plus not having a car could honestly ruin me. I am having a super bad year :(

Help or experiences appreciated.

PS: Don't use AAMI. They wrote my car off a week ago apparently and never bothered to tell me. Only know coz I called for an update. I was also in shock when the tow truck came and can't remember how much I removed from the car. I had only just been released from hospital and was probably a bit more shaken than the average person. All I know is I took the expensive stuff out but there's probably things in there I can't recall. AAMI won't play ball on letting us check the vehicle to see what's left.

EDIT: Going through my paperwork it looks like I was on agreed value so no negotiation. I don't know why the guy on the phone said Redbook.

Tbh I was in hospital last time my policy was renewed and a family member handling my mail and bills just paid it for me. It dropped over $1000 from the year before FML and I never bothered to check. Very expensive lesson. Having said that, has anyone ever sued the at fault driver? Is this a thing? Yeah my insurance was not optimum but my loss is still this dude's fault. Feeling very sorry for myself atm haha.

SMALL UPDATE: For those interested, whilst the process with AAMI is still not over and overall this has not been the best experience with them so far, some positive things have happened. The yard where my car is stored cleared my car out and posted everything to me, which is great and I'm very thankful for that and how accomodating they were. AAMI have now also agreed to claim against the at fault driver's policy and have begun that. It's honestly been more hoops than it should have been considering last time I claimed not at fault it was really simple and a good experience with them… but maybe that's just what happens when your car gets written off? Ball is still in their court and we'll see what happens. For anyone considering them though, the assessor has clearly stated they use Redbook to value cars. Considering how off Redbook is for market value, esp atm due to Covid, if that's an issue for you don't go with AAMI.


  • +2

    Not so… lucky, you're with AAMI.

    Take care mate.

  • If you're in SA you cannot claim any motor vehicle accident damages IFF YOU HAVE ALREADY BEEN AWARDED DAMAGES (aka payout from insurance i.e. AAMI)
    So if that was SA your only hope to claim higher damages is to

    A. Fight with AAMI independently
    B. Sue AAMI and the faulty driver both (when you decide to refuse 5400 $ AAMI offer)
    C(sort of). Buy your car back from AAMI after they give you payout and try to use it for repairs

    • Curious to see the damage. Front passenger side and wheel arch doesn't sound too bad..

  • Ask insurance company to resolve the issue for you and make the payout fairer due to condition of vehicle and km,
    if no resolution complain to the insurance ombudsman,
    you can make complaints regarding the value of an assessed loss see the link above. Simply just mentioning this will normally get some traction i recommended this to a work colleague whom was deemed at fault when they were clearly not and insurance wasn't budging, they had made a complaint to ombudsman and notified the insurance company, within 2 weeks they were then deemed not at fault anymore and not required to pay the excess on claim.

  • I got $6500 for Yaris 2008 by Budget and 5 weeks of rental car. As well as wrecked car which I sold. Yaris had 190k+km on clock. Is about 8 months ago.

  • Agreed value = amount AAMI will pay

    If you want the car fixed, and if you have the other drivers details try and ask them for the insurance company name and the claim number. If they provide it to you:
    1) Call AAMI and tell them you wish to withdraw your claim and deal directly with the other parties insurance
    2) get the quote from the repairer AAMI was going to use
    3) call the other insurance company, Tell them you are a third party, give them the claim number, tell them you have one quote but are happy to get another from another one of THEIR choice but they will need to arrange towing… give them all the other receipts that AAMI will expect you to fit the bill for too cancel the claim (e.g. tow company) and that you need them to arrange a hire car.

    If there is a doubt as to liability, you might want to do 3 first.

    You have far more chances of getting a fair outcome dealing directly with the other insurance company, because AAMI will only worry about YOUR policy with them, not about putting you back in the pre accident position. If you can’t get a claim number out of the order person, you got pretty limited chances though.

  • The amount on your agreed value policy should not matter, in fact your insurance status should not matter at all, as you are not at fault

    You should be able to claim against the other party's policy, you are the 'third party' on his policy and you should be entitled to be 'made whole'

    I would be fighting with the liable party's insurer to receive an appropriate payout - you should be able to replace your vehicle like for like

  • Maybe they could replace the car instead of paying you cash, then it's up to them to find the replacement at market value".

    • That only works for near new cars

  • +1

    Do a lot of research on what similar cars are worth on etc and argue your case for a higher valuation. I was able to raise my pay out from $8000 to $9990 by doing this. Someone rammed me from behind.

  • +1

    Why does your insurance matter? This should be paid off by the insurance who caused the problem, so it shouldn't matter what is your agreed value, but you should get paid a market value from the opposite party insurance.

    • Maybe it's worthwhile calling AAMI, speaking to the claims officer representing the at fault driver and asking them to cover the $$ gap between the agreed value and the market value of the vehicle?

      Worst case scenario is that they say no, best case scenario is that the OP is slightly better off??

      Never seen if this worked so have NFI, just a random suggestion.

      The other thing I recall is, call often and try to escalate if you don't get the result you want.

  • I had a great experience with AAMI. Rear ended on Tuesday, written-off Thursday, money in my bank Friday. Even got more than I thought I would.

    Insurance companies are like motorhome/car rentals. They all get crap reviews, and it's really pot luck as to the experience.

  • +1

    PS: Don't use AAMI.
    Agreed value.

    You can't blame AAMI for what you agreed to… I had no issues with AAMI and I had a write-off with no issues and they processed the agreed amount within a week. They have been reliable and cheap and been with my family for many years.

    • Spot on! You chose a lesser agreed value and paying less insurance. You can’t blame Aami for that. Next time just insure your car for more

  • +1

    I was in a similar situation myself just 4 weeks ago. A guy turned directly in front of me from the other side of the road. Wrote my Rav4 off. I was (And indeed still am!) insured with Suncorp. The other guy wasn't insured, so I imagined all kinds of trouble over getting my money from my Insurance company (After a very bad experience with APIA!) The accident happened on a Friday and exactly 7 days later I was paid out in full for the amount on my policy (In actual fact it was a couple of grand more than the "market value" of my car (I hadn't specified this amount, Suncorp told me I could insure it for that much!) I had dash cam footage of the accident (Not needed, but I would advise anyone to get a dash cam!) So I assume that Suncorp is now chasing the other guy for the cost of my car and the cost of a hire car I had for 10 days…about $12,000 in all. Well good luck to them because this guy didn't look like he had 12 cents! But as for my suggestions. Get a dash cam, it is evidence of exactly what happened. And ALWAYS make sure you know exactly what amount you are covered fi\or, with ANY insurance policy! Cheers, Doons

    • +1

      Wow, to have it all sorted within a week is amazing. I wish my experience had been like that. I'm at about 6 weeks and counting and still not sorted. AAMI don't seem to care, won't proactively contact me or even provide paperwork to confirm things and when called for updates say they need to check some things and will call back, then never call back! I've tried giving them the benefit of the doubt and have only called a couple of times instead of chasing, but it is so frustrating!

      I just don't get what's gone so majorly wrong. First off there was a heap of confusion because the first phone call kept referring to my agreed value and they were basically trying to convince me that was all I was entitled to despite them KNOWING I was not at fault and having the other driver's details and policy number… then when I checked here with Ozbargain if that was normal and found out that, no, they should be offering market value and I told them that's what I expect the whole process seems to have stopped. The car has been assessed and the "independent assessor" (that's what he claimed anyway) decided an amount which I indicated was too low and he was like, cool, AAMI have to actually offer it to you I'm just giving you my figure. Then nothing has happened. No contact, no offers, no info, NOTHING.

      Sorry for the rant! I'm just over it and tbh a bit jealous you had such a good experience with Suncorp hahaha.

      • +1

        Katykat….no worries about the "Rant"! If we could get together for a coffee, between us we could give a new definition to Rant with regard to insurance companies! But yes, exactly 7 days from lodging claim (Over the phone) to full payout in my bank account! As I was not at fault I did not have to pay any excess. My total contact with Suncorp was 1 phone call and 3 or 4 online sessions with reps, done & dusted! I barely had time to get any much on the rental car carpets!

        But my APIA experience? Even thought I was not at fault, I still had to pay me excess (Which I thought you didn't have to do if you were not at fault) I had to do all the leg work…constant phone calls back and forth, with representatives that mostly spoke very broken English. My car was insured for the grand sum of $2,600 and it took APIA 5 weeks to pay out that amount (Even though the other driver was insured!) THEN it took me another 2 weeks of almost daily phone calls before they would refund my excess! Nope, never again with APIA…and from your experience it sounds like AAMI (Such a nice lady who does everything for the customer!) is not much better! I think a big plus for me with Suncorp was that I could deal with representatives online….up till about 9-30pm weekdays! When you come to insure again, at least get a quote off Suncorp…you have nothing l\to lose katykat (Love that nic name!) but the bad service you have been receiving! Cheers, Doons

        • +1

          Aami, Suncorp and APIA are all brands of AAI LTD.

          So you should theoretically get the same level of assistance because these are all different car insurance sub-brands of aai ltd.

          However I think aai ltd have been offshoring their contact centres for motor accident claims for near to a decade now?

          Lastly, if you have a good claims experience with someone, make sure you write in so they get rewarded!! Call centre work is sometimes a soul sucking experience, for the worker.

          • @ankor: Hi ankor, yes! Interesting that Suncorp and APIA work out of the same office space where I get my insurance! I guess that AAI Ltd just lets each division run it's own race, so to speak. Yes indeed! I made sure that I left very favorable 'Feedback" for each Rep that I talked with because they were all so professional and so damn helpful! I also went into the local Suncorp branch and gave the young lady there 2 boxes of chocolates (I knew they would get shared!) for helping me out with starting my claim on the phone, even to the extent of letting me use an office and a phone for making the claim. When someone goes out of their way to help me out, I go out of my way to let them know just how much their help was appreciated! Customer service, true customer service is so rare now days. Know what you mean about call center work, I used to work in telesales….as you said, not for the fainthearted! Cheers, Doons