Who pays what when you have an accident
It’s important to know what has to be done if you have a car accident and you do not have insurance.
If you caused the accident you will need to pay for the repairs to the other car/s. If the other driver is insured, their insurer is likely to pay for their repairs. The insurer will then ask you to pay them back for the repair costs. When you receive a bill from the insurer:
• If you agree with it — pay the insurer, not the other driver. If you can’t pay it, contact the insurer to discuss options.
• If you don’t agree — ask the insurer for copies of the pre-repair photos, assessment and repair costs. You will need your own repair estimate, from a panel beater or mechanic, to challenge it.
If the other driver caused the accident they must pay to repair any damage to your car. If the other party won’t accept responsibility, you can make a claim to the Disputes Tribunal to settle the dispute over who is liable. If the other driver has insurance, their insurer may pay for the repairs to your car.
If you disagree with the insurer’s assessment of the damage, the repair costs or the value of your car, you will need to get your own reports from a relevant expert, like a panel beater, mechanic or vehicle valuer, to help you challenge the insurer.
All contact with the insurer should be written [email or letter] to keep a record. If you remain dissatisfied with their response to your formal challenge you can take a dispute about the repair costs or the value of a car to the Disputes Tribunal providing the claim is for $15,000 or less.
If this is not the case you will need to seek legal advice about applying to the
‘If you caused the accident you will need to pay for the repairs to the other car/s. If the other driver is insured, their insurer is likely to pay for their repairs. The insurer will then ask you to pay them back for ’ the repair costs.
District Court to decide the matter.
For free and confidential advice and information on this or any other matter visit the Palmerston North Citizens Advice Bureau in Hancock Community House, 77 King St. We are open Mon-Fri from 9 am-4.30 pm, 357-0647 or 0800 367 222. We have a free legal advice service by qualified lawyers most Thursday evenings at 7.30 pm, and a JP is available on Tuesdays from noon — 2.30 p.m. No appointment is necessary for either of these services.