It’s a case of he said, she said —a battle of words, when there are no eyes on the road. It’s almost agonising enough to justify a bout of fisticuffs. Thankfully, with the advent of the dashboard cameras and action cameras, getting a high definition picture of how aggravating road situations unfold in slow motion has become inseparable to the driving experience,
Aside from being great Internet click bait material with shock appeal, dramatic dash cam videos make very compelling evidence in vehicle insurance or subsequent litigation cases. As the most shocking of these videos have demonstrated, the severity and potential liability to involved parties can be quite high.
Car insurance is mandatory in Singapore, typically, coverage comes in three forms: third party liability, third party with fire and theft coverage, and comprehensive coverage.
Affording the driver least coverage is third party liability. It covers the driver’s liability for damaging property belonging to other persons and public property. These would include vehicles in the vicinity affected by the accident, fences, street lights, and other similar property. More importantly, this insurance policy covers death or injury to passengers and third parties caused by the driver’s negligence. Third party, fire and theft policies further covers damage or total loss of the car by fire or theft.
Comprehensive coverage plans include the aforementioned as well as accidental damage to the driver’s own vehicle, accessories and spare parts within Singapore, West Malaysia and even 50 km within Thailand. This policy also covers the driver in the event of death and medical expenses arising from the accident. As with most policies, the usual exclusions of natural disasters, civil disturbances and terrorism do not apply.
Naturally, being savvy to the types of vehicle insurance, what’s covered, what’s excluded and rider options can protect divers from the catalogue of car catastrophes one sees from dash cam footage so often these days.
Driving in Asia is fraught with difficulties, not least of all the reputation of inconsiderate driving. Side swiping, abrupt lane changing, beating red lights, failing to signal, the list stretches as long as Trans-American highway.
In a recent video, a vehicle, after colliding with the one in front of it decided to reverse into the vehicle behind it. This split second, premeditated action is especially heinous and especially difficult to prove without video-graphic evidence. The errant driver had intended to spin a false story that the car behind his initiated the pile up by first hitting into his car’s rear.
Whether or not the truth was uncovered, there are several points within insurance contracts to consider. The first is the excess amount or deductible which, is a co-pay for repair and other liability costs that is shared with the insurer. Within this clause, there are three variables, a co-pay for individual claims, third party claims or total claims.
For individual excess clause, if the insured person has an excess of $500 and the total repair costs $3,000, then the insured has to pay $500 while the insurer pays the remaining $2,500 and all of the third party claims. If the policy states an excess for third party claims, then the insured has to pay a portion of third party claims. In some cases there is a clause where an excess applies to “all claims”. This is where the insured pays a portion of the combined cost of individual repairs and all claims.
Since drivers ultimately have to bear some percentage of repair and/or claims costs, it pays to have a dashboard cam to verify facts and avoid as much liability as possible.
Road Killed Pets
Pets are frequent, unfortunate victims of road accidents. It can be an emotionally charged incident for both the pet owner and owner of the vehicle as the vehicle will also incur some damage.
From an insurer’s point of view, accidents involving animals are comprehensive coverage claims, not collision claims. This portion of vehicle insurance covers damages to one’s vehicle not caused by a collision. This includes items not within the driver’s control such as natural disasters, falling objects, vandalism, amongst other things. For this reason, it is worth being crystal clear on the terms mentioned in your insurance contract.
When pedestrians are involved in an accident, the burden of proof is on the driver, because of the heightened risk of severe injury to the pedestrian. As a result of this, many scams have arisen where people have intentionally thrown themselves in front of moving vehicles, feigning injury in an attempt to receive compensation.
In most cases, though, pedestrians being relatively slow-moving can be avoided by seasoned drivers. A pertinent point to note in the insurance policy would be named drivers and their ages. Generally, excess amounts are higher for drivers not named in the insurance contract, if the driver is younger and if more drivers are named. Named drivers should, in the best case, be the one who uses the vehicle the most. Level of experience in driving and operating the specific vehicle has been empirically proven to make a difference in reaction time which, can make all the difference when attempting to averting an accident.
The flagrant lack of respect and responsibility inherent of a hit-and-run incident is bound to incense the most serene of souls. There have been some of the most exaggerated examples put online. One can almost feel the seething rage at returning to their parked car to find it damaged and no culprit in sight.
Although it isn’t the victim’s fault, the bitter pill might have to be swallowed and repairs paid out of one’s own pocket instead of making an insurance claim. This all comes down to the NO CLAIM BONUS (NCD). This is a reduction in vehicle insurance premiums if no claims have been made over a period of time. The reduction would be quite significant and could be as high as 50% off the original premium if no claims were made in five years.
It is also pertinent to note that making a claim does not automatically mean that the NCD would be revoked. Insurance companies Barometer of Liability Agreement (BOLA) to determine how much each party is liable in an accident. In general, if the claim amount is less than the absolute amount saved, then it might be better to foot the bill on one’s own.
As with every contract, the devil is in the details. Do your due diligence, know what is being paid for, what will be received for the price and not every vehicle accident has to be a painful experience.