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Not at fault car accident

Here’s what you need to know if you’re involved in a not at fault car accident

What this guide includes:

  • Tips on what to do after a not at fault accident
  • Steps to take if you don't have insurance
  • What to do if the other driver is uninsured

What to do after a car accident that wasn't your fault

Number 1

Safety first

Check everyone is okay, call for emergency services if required and, if it's safe and necessary to do so, move your vehicle to prevent further accidents.

Number 2

Contact the police

Generally, it's advised that anyone involved in a car accident contact the police and file a report. This can be crucial when settling insurance claims.

Number 3

Exchange information

Collect the other driver's information, including name, contact details, licence number, and insurance information.

Number 4

Collect evidence

Take lots of photos of the accident scene, damage to any vehicles or property involved, and licence plates for documentation.

Number 5

Speak to witnesses

If there are witnesses to the accident, collect their contact information. Their statements may be valuable in case nobody admits fault.

Number 6

Notify your insurance

Even when you're not at fault, you should inform your insurance company. They can guide you through next steps, help recover damages from the other driver's insurer, or cover your costs if the other driver isn't insured.

These tips were compiled with the help of Nathan McCullum, Director of McCullum Advisory.

Should I claim on my insurance if I'm not at fault?

It depends. If the other driver has insurance, their policy should cover your damage and you don't need to claim on your own policy. If they don't have insurance, or if they prefer not to involve their insurer, they may agree to pay you out of their own pocket.

However, if the other driver isn't insured or won't pay for the damage, you may need to claim on your own insurance - particularly if the repair bill is expensive.

Regardless of whether you make a claim or not, you should always inform your insurer of an accident. They will be able to help guide you through the best steps to take.

Finder survey: How many Australians have been involved in car accidents where they were not at fault?

Response
Yes50.1%
No48.11%
I have never driven before1.79%
Source: Finder survey by Pure Profile of 1006 Australians, December 2023

Will a not at fault accident claim affect my car insurance premium?

If you have to claim on your own insurance because the other driver was uninsured or you were unable to get their details, it's likely your premium will be impacted.

However, if the matter is handled by the other driver or their insurer, and they cover the cost to repair any damage, your car insurance premium is unlikely to be impacted.

Read your product disclosure statement (PDS) and certificate of insurance carefully to avoid any nasty surprises.

Expert tips

What if you don't have car insurance?

It doesn't matter. If the other driver is at fault, they should cover the cost of your repairs. They can either cover the cost themselves, or have their insurance cover the cost.

If you're having trouble hearing back from the other person, you can send a letter of demand, involve a lawyer, lodge a complaint with the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) or take the matter to court.

What if the other driver doesn't have insurance?

If the at-fault driver doesn't have insurance, they may pay you out of their own pocket. However, if the repair bill is extensive, it can be difficult to recoup the costs.

Depending on the amount owed, you may need to lodge a complaint with the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) or take the matter to court.

Completely at fault vs partly at fault

Completely at fault: It's clear the other driver is solely to blame for the accident. They may be intoxicated, they may have been texting, or they may have run a red light while meanwhile you were following all of the road rules.

Partly at fault: Even if you didn't cause the accident, you may be partly to blame. For example, you may have admitted liability at the scene, you may have been distracted, or you may have misjudged another driver's intentions.

Compare car insurance

Name Product Roadside assistance Accidental damage Storm Choice of repairer Agreed or Market Value
Budget Direct Comprehensive
Optional
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: The 2024 winner of our Best Value Car Insurance award. It's cheaper than most, plus you can lower costs by adding age restrictions.

⭐ Current offer: 15% off your first year's premium when you take out a policy online. T&Cs apply.

Who it might be good for: Anyone who wants a good value policy.
Youi Comprehensive
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Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: The 2023 winner of our Best Features Car Insurance award. Plus, it's one of the only insurers to automatically include roadside assistance.

Who it might be good for: Those who want good customer service with lots of inclusions.
Australia Post Comprehensive
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Covers a little more than other insurers. You don’t need to pay an excess for windscreen repairs and cover applies to anyone who uses your car.

⭐ Current offer: Get $100 off your first year's comprehensive car insurance premium when you buy online. T&Cs apply.

Who it might be good for: Multiple people using one car.
ROLLiN' Comprehensive
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Finder's summary: One of the most cost-effective insurers for under 25s, according to Finder research, with no aged-based excess.

Who it might be good for: Young drivers looking to keep costs down and anyone who’d like to get more flexibility from their car insurance.
Bingle Comprehensive
Market
Finder's summary: Our data shows it’s the cheapest comprehensive policy. It just covers the basics such as damage to your car, theft and storms – it doesn’t go in for add-ons and extras.

Who it might be good for: Those wanting a low-cost, no-frills policy.
Qantas Comprehensive
Optional
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Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: You need car insurance so why not get one that lets you earn Qantas Points? It's good value too (it's underwritten by the same insurer as Budget Direct).

⭐ Current offer: Earn up to 30,000 Qantas Points with every Qantas Car Insurance policy you take out by 28 May. T&Cs apply.

Who it might be good for: People who want more bang for their buck with Qantas Points.
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