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What to do if you get into a traffic accident with a foreign vehicle

If you get into a traffic accident with a foreign or Malaysian vehicle and want to claim damages for your loss, you have three options:

  1. Opt for a private settlement;
  2. Claim against your own insurance policy; or
  3. Claim against the other party’s insurers in Malaysia

1) Opt for a private settlement

  • If there are minimal injuries and the cost of repair is low, you may choose to settle the matter privately with the owner of the other vehicle.
  • In a private settlement, no authorities need to be involved, and the affected parties negotiate on a fair amount of compensation to be paid.
  • Parties can choose to negotiate to receive payment on cash terms only and that the affected vehicles are not allowed to leave until the payment is made in full and an agreement letter is signed.
  • However, the downside is that the parties have to bear any unforeseen costs or liabilities that might arise in the future.

2) Claim against your own insurance policy

  • If you have a comprehensive policy, it may be more convenient to claim against your own policy in instances of accidents with foreign motorists in either Singapore or Malaysia.
  • However, claiming against your own insurance policy may affect your NCD (No Claims Discount) and possibly increase your future insurance premiums.

3) Claim against the other party’s Malaysian insurers, with the aid of a lawyer

  • If you think the other party was to blame, you may also claim damages from the other party’s Malaysian insurers.
  • You will require the aid of a lawyer, as legal suits against Malaysian insurers have to be filed in the Singapore High Court.
  • Your claim process may take some time, as the matter will involve identifying and locating a foreign party. However, once the other party has been located and the Malaysian insurers have been identified, the matter will proceed more smoothly.
  • If you wish to make a claim against the other party’s Malaysian insurers, prepare and submit the following documents to your lawyers:
    (a) Vehicle registration card (photocopy)
    (b) Certificate of Insurance, Cover Note, or policy schedule (photocopy)
    (c) Identity card (photocopy)
    (d) Police report
    (e) Proof of losses incurred
    (f) A vehicle surveyor / adjuster’s report with original photographs
    (g) Repair bill & proof of payment
    (h) Rental car bill (if the car was rented)
    (i) All other bills and receipts for expenses incurred due to the accident
    (j) A police sketch plan and key (if available)
    (k) Results of the police investigation (if available)

How to gather evidence, after a traffic accident with a Malaysian vehicle

  1. Firstly, always remember to take a photograph of the road tax disc of the Malaysian vehicle.
    • Malaysian insurers will always ask for a picture of the road tax disc when the claim is filed against the Malaysian vehicle. Even if a police report is submitted, the insurers will still ask for the picture of the road tax disc to prove the involvement of the related party.
  2. Take photographs of the damage caused by the traffic accident.
  3. Take a photograph of the other parties’ insurance certificate (if available).
  4. Immediately make a police report.
    • Regardless of the severity of the accident, a police report should be filed at once, to allow the police to gauge the severity of the accident. If any foul play is suspected, the police may arrest the foreign vehicle at Singapore Customs and prevent it from leaving the country.
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