Car accident overseas

Overseas Car Accidents and Travel Insurance Claims for Australians

I just got into a car accident ... in a foreign country. What do I do now?

If you're involved a car accident overseas, don't panic. There’s plenty you can do following an accident to minimise the stress and potential expense of the situation. Follow these steps:

  1. Safety first. The first thing you should do is check on the safety and wellbeing of everyone involved in the accident. Call the appropriate emergency services.
  2. Check your surroundings. Is the area surrounding the accident safe? What can you do to minimise the risk of another accident occurring? Are there any dangers to be avoided, such as fuel leaking from a car? Do the vehicles need to be moved off a major road?
  3. Collect details. Now it’s time to get the information of other drivers involved in an accident and any witnesses.
  4. Take photos. Take photos of the accident scene and of the damage to all of the vehicles involved. This could be very useful when it comes time to make a claim.
  5. Phone your insurer. The next step is to get in touch with your insurance provider to let them know what has happened and find out what you need to do to make a claim.
  6. Check your vehicle. Give your vehicle a thorough inspection to determine whether or not it is safe to drive away from the accident scene. If in doubt, don’t drive it anywhere.
  7. Get the necessary documentation. This will include police reports and itemised list of damage from the repair shop.
  8. Make a claim. Make sure to provide all the information and documentation your insurance provider needs to be able to process your claim.

Information to take down in a foreign country

Make sure to obtain the following information from each driver involved in the accident:

  • Their full name
  • Their residential address
  • Their contact details
  • Their driver’s licence number
  • The registration details of their vehicle
  • Their insurance information (You will need to find out the name of their insurer and their insurance policy number)

It’s also recommended that you try to obtain the names and contact details of anyone who witnessed the accident.

Get in touch your travel insurer

Make sure that you have your insurers contact details handy wherever you are on your trip. Most Australian travel insurers provide 24/7 emergency assistance lines that you can contact from anywhere in the world, and it’s essential that you call the relevant hotline for your insurer as soon as possible.

Travel Insurance Brands 24/7 emergency assistance contact numbers

BrandReverse charge numberMore information
1Cover​+61 2 8016 9222​ Details
American Express+61 2 8907 5666​ Details
AIG​+60 3 2772 5592​Details
Blue Monkey+61 2 8907 5666Details
Budget Direct​+61 2 9333 3915​Details
Citibank​+61 2 8907 5666Details
Columbus​+44 20 7902 7405Details
Cover-More​+61 2 8907 5619Details
Down Under Insure​+61 7 3305 7499Details
Easy Travel Insurance+61 3 8523 2800Details
Fast Cover​+61 7 3305 7499Details
Go Insurance​+61 (0) 7 3481 9880Details
Insure and Go+61 2 9333 3999Details
itrek​+61 7 3305 7499Details
Multitrip.com.au​+61 (0)2 9333 3918Details
No Worries+61 7 3005 1705Details
Online Travel Insurance+61 7 3305 7499Details
Over Sixty+61 7 3305 7499Details
Simply Travel Insurance​+61 7 3305 7499Details
Skiinsurance.com.au+61 2 8016 9222Details
STA Travel+44 151 559 3930Details
Tick Travel Insurance​+61 2 9333 3963 Details
Travel Insurance Direct​+61 2 9234 3123Details
Travel Insurance Saver​+61 3 8523 2800Details
Travel Insuranz​+61 (0) 2 8907 5953Details
Virgin​+61 7 3305 7499Details
Woolworths+61 2 9333 3903Details
Worldcare​+61 7 3305 7499Details
youGo​+61 (0) 2 8907 5619Details

If you (or anyone else covered on your policy) needs medical treatment, the call centre operators will be able to advise you on how you can receive the immediate medical assistance you need. In many countries around the world, hospitals will also require upfront payment or confirmation that your travel insurer will cover all your medical costs before offering you any treatment.

Your travel insurer to can also give you advice on what to do next. For example, your insurer can let you know the specific information you need to collect from other drivers, and any other information they will require to process your claim.

Making a claim

Once you have taken down driver information and have made initial contact with your travel insurer you will need to gather any extra information requested by your insurer. This could include:

  • Police reports
  • Medical reports
  • Details of those involved in the accident
  • Photographs of vehicle damage
  • Itemised list of damage/repairs

You will usually have to submit a claim form along with these documents to your insurance provider. Remember, there is typically a 30 day timeframe whereby you must submit your claim within. If you're physically unable to make the claim, make sure you have your travelling partner or someone else make the claim on your behalf.

Depending on the insurer you may be able to do this online, via email, by fax or by post.

Most dangerous countries to drive based on where finder users travel

We looked at the most frequented destinations for our users and then contrast that with recent Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE) data, which analysed the road deaths per 100,000 population for all 32 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries. Below is how Australia faired compared with the top 10 most visited OECD nations by our users. The second tab contains the full list of all 32 countries and how they faired over the last 25 years.

Top 10 most dangerous driving destinations

Road deaths per 100,000 since 1990 by OECD nation

Country199020002002200320042005200620072008200920102011201220132014
Iceland9.511.510.187.96.510.34.93.85.32.53.82.84.71.2
Sweden9.16.765.95.34.94.95.24.33.92.83.432.72.8
Netherlands9.26.86.16.34.94.64.54.34.13.93.23.33.42.82.8
United Kingdom9.46.166.15.65.55.454.33.833.12.82.82.9
Norway7.87.66.96.25.64.85.255.44.44.33.42.93.72.9
Switzerland13.98.37.17.56.95.555.14.74.54.24.14.33.33
Denmark12.39.38.686.86.15.67.57.45.54.6433.43.2
Israel8.77.17.86.66.86.35.75.35.64.24.64.43.33.43.4
Spain23.314.41312.911.110.39.38.56.85.95.34.44.13.63.6
Japan11.88.27.676.76.35.75.24.84.64.64.34.14.13.8
Finland137.787.37.27.26.47.26.55.25.15.44.74.84.1
Germany-9.18.387.16.56.265.45.14.54.94.54.14.2
Ireland13.6119.68.59.39.68.77.86.35.34.74.13.54.14.2
Australia13.79.58.88.27.98.17.87.76.86.96.15.75.75.14.9
Austria20.412.211.911.510.89.48.88.38.27.66.66.26.35.45.1
Canada14.39.59.38.88.698.88.47.36.66.65.95.95.45.2
Slovenia25.915.813.512.113.712.913.114.610.68.46.76.96.36.15.2
France19.813.712.810.19.28.77.77.56.96.86.46.35.85.15.3
Italy12.612.412.211.510.610.19.88.88.17.276.56.35.75.6
Portugal29.32017.816.413.713.110.210.29.38.88.98.46.86.16.1
Hungary23.411.71413.112.812.712.912.29.98.27.46.46.166.3
Luxembourg18.717.51411.81110.29.29.57.29.76.46.46.58.46.4
Belgium19.914.413.111.711.210.410.210.18.88.87.77.86.96.56.5
New Zealand21.41210.311.510.79.89.5108.68.98.66.46.95.76.5
Czech Republic12.514.51414.213.612.610.411.910.48.67.77.47.16.26.5
Greece20.318.714.914.615.11514.914.513.91311.210.38.987.3
Poland19.316.415.214.81514.313.714.614.31210.210.99.38.78.4
Lithuania29.318.320.220.722.12323.122.815.511.69.59.7108.79
Korea33.121.815.215.113.613.21312.712.11211.310.510.810.19.4
United States17.914.91514.814.614.714.313.712.31110.710.410.810.410.2
Chile--12.91414.313.113.21313.911.612.111.911.41211.9
Argentina---------1312.612.312.312.312.4

What if my accident involves a rental vehicle?

If you’re driving a rental vehicle overseas and involved in an accident, make sure to follow all the same steps as above. Not only will this ensure that the accident scene remains safe and that everyone receives the medical attention they need, but it will also give you the best chance of any insurance claims being paid.

Rental excess charges

Rental vehicle companies usually require that you pay what is known as rental excess if you're involved in an accident. Luckily, the vast majority of comprehensive travel insurance policies include rental vehicle excess cover. This provides financial protection when your rental vehicle is maliciously damaged, stolen or involved in a collision. This benefit provides cover for the insurance excess you would otherwise have to pay in these circumstances, which could be several thousands of dollars.

If you’re involved in an accident and then medically unfit to return the rental vehicle to your nearest depot, travel insurance will also often cover the cost of having the car returned to the rental company. However, you’ll need written evidence from your treating doctor that you are unfit to get behind the wheel.

How does travel insurance cover me for accidents?

Travel insurance can help you with covering any medical expenses you incur and any cancellations that need to made as a result of the crash. Damage to the vehicle and third party property is the responsibility of the motor insurance in the name of the vehicle or rental vehicle.

Compare travel insurance policies to cover you medically in car accidents overseas

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Maurice Thach

Maurice is a publisher for finder.com.au. Daily research of Australia's insurance offerings allows him to breakthrough the noise of the many policies out there to uncover what can (and can't) be covered. Maurice hopes to make finding the right insurance easier for all.

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