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Media Release

Smash and dash: 5 million Australians have fallen victim to a hit-and-run

        • One in four people have had their car damaged by a fleeing driver
        • A quarter of drivers (24%) don't have comprehensive car insurance
        • Five steps to follow after a minor car accident

24 August 2020, Sydney, Australia – Millions of Aussies have been left high and dry after a hit-and-run incident according to new research by Finder, Australia's most visited comparison site.

A recent Finder survey of 1,006 respondents revealed that more than a quarter of Aussies – equivalent to 5 million people – have had their car damaged by a driver who fled the scene without exchanging details.

According to the survey, 1 in 5 (20%) hit-and-run victims do not have comprehensive car insurance, meaning they're responsible for their own repair costs regardless of who was at fault.

The average cost of fixing a small scratch or dent is between $400 and $650, but can be as much as $6,000 in extreme cases.

Taylor Blackburn, insurance specialist at Finder, said that comprehensive car insurance can be a saving grace for hit-and-run victims.

"If you're the victim of a hit-and-run and have comprehensive car insurance, your insurer should cover all damages.

"Depending on the circumstances of the accident, you may need to pay an excess fee, but this will still cost you less overall.

"Without comprehensive cover you'll need to get the police involved to track down the culprit or pay for the repairs yourself," Blackburn warned.

Despite the high number of hit-and-run cases in Australia, Finder research shows a large proportion of drivers are without adequate protection.

Finder's Consumer Sentiment Tracker, a nationally representative survey of more than 15,000 respondents, shows that almost 1 in 4 (24%) Australians don't have comprehensive car insurance.

Blackburn said that all drivers should know the correct protocol to follow after an accident.

"Refusing to give your details after an accident is against the law – if the offender isn't complying, phone the police.

"Safety should always come first. Before exchanging information with other drivers, make sure that no one is injured and any cars involved are safely out of the way of oncoming traffic.

"If you're unsure whether your current policy covers hit-and-run incidents, contact your insurer. Remember to check your inclusions and upgrade your policy if needed," he said.

You can compare comprehensive car insurance at Finder: https://www.finder.com.au/car-insurance/comprehensive-car-insurance

Have you ever had your car damaged and the offending driver didn't hang around?

Response% of drivers
No, I've never had my car damaged45%
Yes31%
No, the offending driver stayed24%

Source: Finder, July 2020 survey

5 steps to follow after a minor car accident:

  • Ensure others are safe. Check yourself first, followed by your passengers. Call an ambulance if there are any injuries. If your car can be driven, move it to the side of the road if possible.
  • Document the scene. Get pictures of the other driver's licence plates, as well as the make and model of the car. You also want to get a picture of any damage caused to either vehicle.
  • Alert the police. Even for a minor incident, the police need to be called. This doesn't necessarily mean that anyone is at fault – a police report can provide valuable information to your insurance company if you need to lodge a claim following the incident.
  • Exchange information. This should include drivers' names, licence numbers and states, insurance information of drivers involved, make and model of vehicles involved, contact information of any witnesses, the date, time and location of the accident and name badge of any police officers present.
  • Contact your insurer. You should aim to do this as soon as possible following a road accident. Your insurer will be able to help you lodge your claim and offer further guidance about the process.

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Disclaimer

The information in this release is accurate as of the date published, but rates, fees and other product features may have changed. Please see updated product information on finder.com.au's review pages for the current correct values.

About us

Every month 2.2 million unique visitors turn to Finder to save money and time, and to make important life choices. We compare virtually everything from credit cards, phone plans, health insurance, travel deals and much more.

Our free service is 100% independently-owned by two Australians: Fred Schebesta and Frank Restuccia. Since launching in 2006, Finder has helped Aussies find what they need from 1,800+ brands across 100+ categories.

We continue to expand and launch around the globe, and now operate in the United States and the United Kingdom. For further information visit www.finder.com.au.

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