Wednesday, July 1, 2009

What to do in a car accident

I've always asked myself, "What to do in a car accident?"

Here's some info, catered more towards smaller accidents.

First of all, don't panic. Second remain calm. Accidents are something we try to avoid, it could be dangerous, takes up a lot of time and requires a lot of running around. So why do we still drive like hooligans or Formula 1 drivers? I don't know...

I think if it is not a bad accident, i.e. no major damage, it would probably be best to move your car carefully away from the main road and to the road shoulder. Indicate to the other party also to do the same. Try to memorize the other person's license plate number, just in case they decide to drive away, even jot it down on a paper. Having a paper and pen in your car is a good practice.

Carefully alight from your car. So now it would come to 2 possible solutions. First is settlement, i.e. the person responsible for knocking to settle based on an estimate for knocking, repairs and paint. If you do agree for a settlement it would be best if you know a car workshop and get a quotation based on the accident, usually the panel workshops of insurance charge rather high. (even higher if they claim from the insurance, even up to 2x??). Remember though if you decide to claim insurance, you'll need to make a police report in 24 hours.

So for the person who's 'guilty' , usually the one who knocks from the back, probably would need to consider a couple of things before deciding going for settlement. I guess if the accident is severe, probably best to claim insurance. However if it is minor, maybe consider the 'cost' of claiming insurance.
1. Police compound, which is RM300 or RM350 I think.
2. Lost of NCD / NCB, i.e No Claim Bonus. So if your insurance policy is more then a few years, once you claim insurance you'll loose this 'rebate' upon your next renewal.
3. Whether your own car's insurance is comprehensive or just third party. If your own car is badly damaged and you have comprehensive, then it's probably best to claim insurance as otherwise you'll need to pay the person you knocked, and also for your own car - that's a Double Whammy.
4. Time running around.

So if you decide to claim insurance, first you'll have to make a police report. Even if you're the guilty party, I think it's better to make a report, not sure if the fine is more or not if you don't. For Georgetown area, the Police Office to make a report is the Patani Road police station. Yes this is another good question, how do you know, which police station to report to for car accidents, as they go by district. Even more if you're traveling outstation.
--> Anyone got a complete list of which stations cover which areas?

At the police station (Balai) to to the trafik / traffic police counter, they will give you a form (report) to fill up. An example of the report is usually posted on a wall. This does make reporting easier and more user friendly. Once you've filled up the report, go back to the counter, and they will assign a queue number. Once your turn is called, they'll set up they PC (computer) to file your report. If you're familiar with the keyboard they'll let you type it out, otherwise just tell them don't know how to use computer if you don't know. Once done, you'll be assigned an investigating officer. Wait your turn and meet the police officer. Another point to remember is to always have your car grant (geran kereta) and insurance cover letter and a copy of it at least since you'll need it in this situation and maybe during road-block inspections? The officer will record your statement and ask you to confirm it again. Then the officer will ask you (or accompany you) to your car with a police officer with a camera to take a picture of the damage.

And you're done for now. You'll be given a receipt and if it's during office hours you can purchase the report. Otherwise you'll have to come back next time. Anyway you'll have to come back to get a copy of the investigation result report (keputusan siasatan) for you insurance claim. In your receipt usually it'll have the investigating officer's name, if not, ask or write it down as it'll be easier to follow up for the 'keputusan siasatan'.

Ok now for getting your car fixed (based on someone knocking you) . Not sure what's the difference if you're on the other side. The car knock company will usually ask you to provide copies of your driver's license, IC, car grant (geran kereta), 2x copies of police report of the each car involved in the accident (i.e. the knocker and the knockee :) ), 2x copies of the investigation report, insurance cover note. If someone else was driving your car, then the persons Identity Card and Driver's license.

It seems insurance companies usually charge 'excess' for
1. New drivers, usually below 2 years experience (P drivers I guess) So if you have 'graduated' to full, it's best to keep a copy of your P license to prove your number of years driving.
2.Not named driver. So if the person is not named in your insurace policy, there would be excess as well I believe.
3. Also most insurance company have a policy like for claims, you will have to pay e.g. first RM200 of the claim. For my Takaful Malaysia, since I took the additional wind-screen coverage, they do not apply this excess to me.

So for the person knocked (non guilty party) according to the workshop, if you meet any of the above criteria, you will have to pay first and them claim back from the third part (knocker) insurance party.

For your geran, if your car is still under hire purchase, you probably would not have the latest copy. So you'll have to call the hirer purchase company and request them to fax it to you (or your claim workshop) however they usually required a written authorization from you, which you could send by fax.

Few things to note, it is best to negotiate and clarify your expectations with the workshop BEFORE you commit to give them the car for claims. ( I guess this depends also how bad your car is hit, i.e whether you can drive away or have to leave your car at the workshop I guess, or negotiate before authorizing the tow??). Among items
1. If a replacement / temporary car is provided. Any charges ?
2. How many days you need to leave your car. Better try to talk to both the person in charge 'outside' and the 'clerk' in charge in-side.
3. Whether you need to pay any charges?
4. Whether you need to leave the car for the adjuster to come over. It seems for minor claims, they can just snap photos and submit online. Not bad!

Also if you are the 'knockee' (yg kena langgar), you can claim 'Lost of Use', which the workshop told me is RM30 per day, i.e for your taxi charges etc. Don't know if this covers weekends. Best to keep all your receipts until you get the payment. Not sure if you are the knocker (yg melanggar) you can still claim or not.

So as precaution, here's a summary
1. Keep a pen and paper around in the car.
2. Keep a copy of your geran (Car Registration / Pendaftaran Kereta, i.e.the JPJ geran) and cover note (or the original I guess)
3. Keep a copy of authorized workshops that your insuran has published (usually available from their websites). I'm not sure what's the difference or additional difference if you go thru a non-panel, or even if you're allowed to do it. For Takaful Malaysia, they even have a 1800 number you can call during emergencies for support and towing, Takaful Malaysia's 1800 is 1800-888-788. Seems like a 'lucky number.
5. Don't Panic
6. Call someone if you're worried.
7. Be aware of where to make your police report.

And most importantly, DRIVE SAFELY. I remember what my cousin Samir says, BETTER LATE then MR LATE!.

Ok take care. This is just my understanding of the procedure, might have someerrors.

p.s I know knockee and knocker probably aren't correct English, but it gets the message thru. And well if Google can become a work, why not knockee and knocker. But maybe for another meaning?? See, here BM would be nicer, Si Pelanggar and Si Kena Langgar. haha.


Anonymous said...

I think it's better to report than to take a settlement. A colleague told me that if someone knock you from behind, if you don't report, the story my took a turn that you reverse and knock the car behind instead. In short the problems would be endless if you don't report.

A man knocked my car from behind, he refused to pay for the damaged done. Told him that I will report to the police. Then I called 999 and the police came to the accident spot and helped me settle.


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