What if I only have third party property insurance?
Third party property insurance generally only covers damages caused to 3rd parties by your negligence. It does not cover damage to your own property. If you receive a demand for damages allegedly caused by you, you should contact your insurer and make a claim. Your insurer will decide if you were at fault, and then handle any negotiations on your behalf.
Some 3rd Party Property insurance has “Uninsured Motorist Extension” (UME) which is an additional benefit under the policy. You should read your product disclosure statement to see if you have this benefit. Some policies also have “insured motorists extension”
You need to read your policy, as the extent and conditions of cover may vary including needing to:
- Provide the name, address and contact details of the person responsible;
- limited to $3000 or $5,000 or repair costs whichever the lesser;
- proving that the 3rd party is not insured
Uninsured Motorist Extension
Your third party property policy may include a benefit called UME. You can claim if:
- the other driver was at fault,
- not insured, and
- you can identify the driver of that car including name, address and licence details.
The maximum benefit that can be claimed is $3000 or $5000 depending on your insurer. The first step is to make a claim. If your insurer refuses to pay the claim or there is a delay you should make a complaint to insurer’s Internal Dispute Resolution (IDR) department. Find your insurer’s IDR details at the Australian Financial Complaints Authority’s (AFCA’s) online member search function.
If the dispute is not resolved within 45 days you can lodge a dispute in AFCA, a free dispute resolution service, for any problems with your claim.
It is not easy to claim this benefit and if your claim is refused you should seek legal advice.
If you are unable to claim on your UME, you will need to make a claim or part claim on the other driver and/or owner of the other car. This will usually involve sending a letter of demand and commencing a claim in court.
Financial Rights advises that you seek independent legal advice in order to pursue the other party. This will involve engaging a private solicitor. To find a private solicitor, go to your state’s Law Society web page:
- ACT Law Society
- NSW Law Society
- Law Society Northern Territory
- Queensland Law Society
- Law Society of South Australia
- Law Society of Tasmania
- Law Institute of Victoria
- Law Society of Western Australia
If you have limited means, contact your State’s Legal Aid or local Community Legal Centre for advice. For contact details and links to these organisations go to the Getting Help Fact Sheet.