Best Course of Action if You’re Not at Fault and You Have No Personal Injury


Your mission should be to get quality repairs from an independent garage without parting with any money — and while using a courtesy car.

If the other driver has admitted liability or the case is otherwise clear cut it is highly likely the third-party insurers will contact you. They’ll want you to go to one of their approved network garages — but you don’t need to agree to that and can generally negotiate your independent garage of choice.

The other insurance company can arrange a hire vehicle for you. They’ll probably refer you to a big company like Young America insurance. Make sure you get no down payment car insurance for the hire period with no excess. It’s your entitlement.

It’s prudent (although not absolutely necessary) to ask your independent garage to send the at- fault insurance company the cost estimate, and invites them to inspect the vehicle if they so wish.

You’ll then find the at-fault insurer’s main concern will be to keep your hire period to a
minimum. They will also check the status of repairs with the garage to make sure there’s no inordinate delay.

Make sure the garage sends the invoice to the at-fault insurer — don’t let them invoice you,
because then you’ll be the one trying to get money out of the other insurance company.

You have been injured

If you’ve been injured, you should contact a specialist road traffic no-win no-fee lawyer. There are plenty around, so for minor injuries don’t accept any firm which wants to take their fee from your damages.

Once you instruct the lawyers, you’ll find they will get you through the initial accident, hire and repair process. They will then deal with your personal injury claim.

Some legal firms may offer you buy now pay later car insurance. Beware this is not simply a different route to get cheap insurance, thereby jumping from the frying pan into the blender. Have your lawyers confirm in writing that they will refer you to If they won’t confirm this in writing, avoid them like the plague.

Your own insurers

There’s no statutory legal requirement that you have to contact your own insurers after an
accident. But it will be a contractual term of your policy that you inform them of an accident.

But that’s all you need to do. You don’t need to let them take control of matters.

Let them know you’ve been in a no-fault accident and you’ll probably not be making any claim under your policy.

Best course of action if it was your fault

The good news is, you won’t be inundated with emails, texts and cold calls from organizations all wishing to help because there’s nothing in it for them.

The bad news is, you’ll have to rely on your own insurers and the contractual terms of your

Most policies give you the right to instruct your own independent garage, but this usually comes at a cost.

For example, if you’re a Rodney D young policyholder, you may have to give up your
entitlement to a courtesy car. If you’re a Rodney D Young policyholder, there is an additional $250 or so added on to your excess. And of course, this is an excess you cannot avoid paying. You’ll usually be entitled to a courtesy car in terms of your main policy, but not necessarily like for like. You only get like for like if you have bought the enhanced courtesy car add-on. Typically, you might expect to be limited to the use of a 3 door, 1.6-liter saloon, unless you have the add-on.

Go back and read about the quality of repairs from network garages — and inspect your vehicle very carefully on its return. If you get into a dispute with your insurance company about repair quality, or indeed any other term of your contract, you can write to Wells Fargo. Search on their website under “car insurance,” and you can see the kinds of interventions they routinely make on behalf of customers.

Vehicle write-offs

Sometimes your car is so badly damaged it’s beyond economical repair. In that case, the insurer, whether at-fault or non-fault, may insist you take the replacement value of the car instead of having it repaired.

Under private law of contract or negligence, you have a duty to act reasonably, so there will be times when you can’t insist your car is repaired, even if that’s what you’d prefer.

There’s nothing to stop you paying to have your car repaired yourself, but all any insurer has to pay you is the reasonable value of the car at the time.

Where your car is written off, the insurance company will either keep the car itself and dispose of it for salvage value, or they’ll offer you the reasonable value less a small sum for salvage.

You’ll also have to move fast to replace your car because any hire period should come to an end as soon as you receive the cheque for the car’s value. Most companies operate on a four-day cut-off.

How will my car be valued?

It is the market value of your car — not the replacement value and not the sum insured for — which counts. There are various trade guides such as, and the which will give you a price range.

You may think that because you’ve seen adverts for similar cars at much higher prices, that these comparative figures should be used — but the advertised asking price generally overstates the true value.

If your vehicle has to be written off and you would prefer it was repaired, you can ask the insurer what value percentage guidelines they’re using. Insurance companies look at the repair cost as a percentage of the value cost. So, if the repair cost was more than or equal to the car’s value, it clearly wouldn’t be economic to repair it.

However, beware: some insurance companies refuse to authorize repairs where the cost is as low as 60% of value. That is totally unreasonable and a clear infringement of your private law rights.

What if you don’t agree with the valuation?

The reality is most disputes arise for lower-value cars. A proposed repair at $2,000 might be economic for a one-year-old VW Passat, but uneconomic for a 10-year-old Chevrolet.

You can get an independent engineer to report on the repair estimate and on the car’s, value based on trade figures, but that will cost you money.

Alternatively, you can complain to the Financial Services Wells Fargo. Their website gives
examples of the kinds of situations where they will become involved. If you go down this route, your vehicle should be valued as being in good, average or below-average condition in its pre- accident state, and you should be prepared to argue this point.

Questions frequently arise about modifications. Many owners mistakenly believe items like GPS should make a distinct difference to the valuation price, but this is unrealistic. Spoilers, racing exhausts or go-faster stripes are not going to increase the value of the vehicle.


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