Accidents happen no matter how careful you are. In the unfortunate event that you have been in a car accident, you may opt to settle privately or make a claim with your insurance company. We have previously mentioned how you can make a claim for car accidents. In this article, we will be discussing the option for private settlement in the event of an accident.
What is private settlement?
Private settlement is to resolve a car accident without involving their respective motor vehicle insurance. In a private settlement, the party at fault may compensate the other party and they will typically agree not to pursue further legal action.
Even though it is a private settlement, both parties must inform their insurers about the settlement.
What are the benefits of private settlement?
Rather than getting the insurers involved, a private settlement preserves your No-Claims Discount (NCD).
The NCD is an entitlement provided by the current insurer to you. In case you do not make any claims with the current insurer for a year or more, you will be eligible for a reduced renewal premium for the following year.
When should you enter a private settlement?
You may opt to settle it privately in the event of a minor accident where your vehicle has little or no damage and there is no bodily harm to anyone involved.
When is it impossible to enter a private settlement?
In a car accident, the parties involved CANNOT agree to a private settlement if:
- Anyone suffers death or bodily harm, including pedestrians, cyclists, or any other kind of non-driving party;
- Property damage, including damage to government property;
- Hit-and-run accidents
What to do if you want to settle it privately?
First of all, send your car to your insurer’s authorised workshops and get an estimated cost of repairing your car. This allows the at-fault party to know how much he should compensate and also ensures the value of compensation to be fair for all the parties.
Next, both drivers must complete and sign a private settlement form or letter that includes the following details:
- Details of the accident (location, date and time of the accident);
- Particulars of parties involved and their vehicles, (drivers’ full names, identification numbers and vehicle registration numbers);
- Terms of the agreement, which may include:
- A statement that no personal injury or death was involved in the accident,
- A statement that the parties agree to settle the matter amicably;
- The amount to be paid by one party to the other, or if both parties mutually decided to shoulder their own costs for repair;
- A statement that both parties will not make a police report of the accident;
- A statement that neither party will subsequently file a claim for damages based on the accident;
- Acknowledgement of receipt of compensation, if any;
- Signatures of parties entering into settlement
If you decide to settle your accident privately, make sure you report to your insurer within 24 hours even if there is no visible damage. Failure to do so may result in:
- Rejection of your future insurance claim, should the making of such a claim be more viable than a settlement;
- Loss of NCD when renewing your policy; or
- The insurer declining to renew your policy altogether