You’ve had the misfortune of being involved in an accident. After surveying the damage, you realise that the damage is fairly minor, and neither party is keen on bringing it up to the respective insurers to previous that precious NCD.
With the consistent downpour of late, a momentary lapse of concentration is really all it takes to end up in the bumper of the car ahead of you.
The risk of collision increases if your tyres (you should really check them regularly to ensure they aren’t overly worn, or have other issues that can lead to structural failures) are not up to scratch. If they aren’t, get them replaced as soon as you can!
If the collision is minor, both parties may not be willing to get their cars repaired via the insurance route. For starters, the downtime is longer going down this avenue, and that precious NCD that you’ve built up over the years would have had taken a hit.
Many insurance companies offer an NCD protector as an add-on for your policy. These can be worth having, as a big value repair will cost you more than what you will pay for the add-on.
Again, keep this ‘get out of jail free’ card for instances where you’ll probably need it more. For accidents that result in the cars needing minor repair works, consider entertaining the private settlement option.
You are supposed to report the accident to your insurance company regardless if you intend to claim or not. Legally, insurers are allowed to nullify your policy, or perhaps even dock your NCD for failing to do so.
Take photos of the vehicles at the scene of the collision. If no party is gravely injured, and the vehicles are driveable, you can proceed to shift the vehicles to a slower lane, or a road shoulder if you are on the expressway.
Exchange your details, and arrange for a tow if necessary to a workshop authorised by your insurer. This allows you to have a tangible figure on the cost of repairs. You can also see if it is worth claiming with your insurance, or if it is a figure that can be attributed to the at-fault party. This ensures compensation is agreed upon by both sides, and is fair.
A walkthrough of the private settlement letter
Once the repair costs have been agreed upon, the next step is for both parties to sign a private settlement form. This is a legal binding agreement, in which both parties agree to settle the issue that has arisen without involving the law.
This letter should include:
Details of the accident
This should cover the location, date and time of the incident, as well as the parties involved. The registration numbers of each of the involved vehicles, the drivers’ full names, and NRIC will have to be included.
Terms of the agreement
This should clearly state that:
1) There was no personal injury or death that has arisen as a result of the accident;
2) Both parties are willing to settle the incident amicably;
3) The repair costs, and if it was to be borne by the at-fault driver, or if both parties are to pair for their own repairs;
4) Both parties will not elevate the case to the police; and
5) Both parties will not file a claim for damage with insurance as a consequence of the accident.
This section should include details such as the repair costs, and that both parties are willing to settle it without involving the insurance company, the authorities and without further pursuing restitution.
Do note that these documents are legally binding, and failure to adhere to the terms stipulated can lead to legal repercussions!
When the dust settles...
Ultimately, should you be involved in a fender-bender, it doesn't hurt to remain calm, take multiple steps back to access the situation, and try and resolve the situation, at least from a paperwork standpoint.
Our handy guide will ensure that you are legally covered in the event both parties would like to pursue a private settlement.
These steps can be a bit confusing to follow and to piece together to form a coherent document. But we are Motorist pride ourselves in simplifying the ownership experience.
This is why we have compiled the steps into an easily accessible online document.
This article was first published in Motorist.