Table of contents
What to do after a traffic accident in Hong KongThings to know about traffic accident settlement Car crash/traffic accident insurance claims Which insurances may cover traffic accidents?
insurance-claims-process-in-hong-kong

Car insurance claims: A guide to car accident claims procedures - Kwiksure

Here, you'll find a comprehensive guide by Kwiksure's team of experts on what to do in the aftermath of a traffic accident, things to note on settlements, and the car insurance claims process. 

What to do after a traffic accident in Hong Kong

"Tailing the car in front too closely", "speeding", "losing control of your vehicle", and "changing lanes or turning at inopportune/the wrong times" are the top 4 most common causes of traffic accidents. Having said that, different scenarios require a different handling procedure:

1. Vehicle breaks down in the middle of the road

  • If possible, maneuver your car away from the traffic lanes. Park at the roadside and switch on your hazard warning lights. Call the police as soon as you can. 

  • Leave behind your vehicle only when it's safe to do so. Otherwise, wait for help and assistance in your car. 

  • If there is little traffic or the road condition isn't dangerous, stand near your trunk and wait for rescue. 

  • Do not stand in front of your vehicle or attempt to fix it. 

2. Car crash that results in injury or death 

  • You must stop your car and switch on the hazard warning lights.

  • Call the police as soon as possible, and tell them two things: how many people are injured, and the severity of their injuries. 

  • Do not move or disturb the vehicle in any way unless otherwise allowed by the police. An exception can be made in emergency situations, such as if you are trying to rescue someone or put out a fire, etc. 

3. Accident that involves an animal getting injured or dying

  • Stop the car and turn on the hazard warning lights. 

  • Call the police for help.

4. Accident in which the car(s) involved carry/contain dangerous items 

  • Move away immediately after stopping your vehicle and turning on the hazard warning lights. 

  • Notify the police and firefighters. 

5. Accident that occurs on a highway

  • Park your vehicle at a safe spot (e.g. the curb or the left side of the road). Light up your hazard warning lights. 

  • Don't stay inside your car. Head to a safe area like a nearby roadside crash barrier and wait for rescue.

  • When reporting to the cops, state clearly the route number and mileage mark. 

  • Don't stay on the road or move around. 

6.  Accident that occurs inside a car tunnel

  • Turn off the engine after stopping your vehicle. Leave your car keys behind and switch on the warning lights. 

  • Use the emergency phone inside the tunnel to notify the car tunnel control room. Wait for help from the tunnel patrol team or tunnel officer. 

  • If there's a fire, ring the fire alarm and use the fire extinguisher next to the tunnel pipe. 

7. Crashing into government or public property  

  • Stop the car and switch on the hazard warning lights.

  • Move the car to a safe area and call the police for help.

Government property compensation fees

Government property

Compensation fees

Fence

Around HKD $400/mile

Road signs

Around HKD $500

Bollard lights

Around HKD $1,000

Fire hydrant

Around HKD $8,000 to HKD $9,000

Crash barriers, crash cushions

Around HKD $90,000

Parking meter, meter pole

Around HKD $310 to HKD $1,400

Traffic lights, lamp post

Around HKD $15,000


All drivers should still stop their car immediately and drive it to safety even if the accident didn't cause any injuries, deaths, or serious damages. To prevent starting a fire after a traffic accident, you should remove all flammable items from your car and turn off the engine. If your oil tank is leaking, unplug the car battery only when it's safe to do so.

Remember to video-tape the site of the accident and note down car license numbers, the exact location of the accident, damaged property, and your eye witness's contact information. Also, record the personal and contact details of your passengers as well as the injured for record and claims to file. 

Things to know about traffic accident settlement 

Vehicle repair fees are usually less than HKD $15,000 in most traffic accidents that occur in Hong Kong. As a result, a mild accident that causes neither injuries nor death, and doesn't involve any third-party property damage (aside from scratches or a light bumping into), you can certainly consider asking for a settlement. Contact the involved party directly and negotiate for a small compensation. 

Risk of a private settlement in a car accident

Before going through the process of settling privately with the other driver, get to know the risks involved. 

Your insurance company has the right to refuse the claim if you did not notify it to intervene in handling the accident, however, the other party decides to ask for further compensation in the future, such as a personal injury claim. 

Your negligence caused an accident

It's incredibly common for both parties involved to handle the settlement in private, especially if it's a small sum. This approach can save the other party's (or your) insurer from getting involved in the accident. With that said, you may be responsible for the repair costs of your own car, as well as compensation for the other driver's vehicle repair costs.

As mentioned, there are considerable risks in dealing with traffic accidents in this way. Due to your negligence causing a traffic accident, a third party has the opportunity to continually demand additional compensation, particularly when it comes to claims involving personal injury.

Still decided to settle the matter privately without the need for the insurers' intervention? You should ask the other party to sign a legally binding statement stating that they are willing to waive all rights to claim compensation for the accident, and the responsibility for the accident has also been "completely and formally" resolved.

The other party's negligence caused an accident

If a third-party's mistake caused the traffic accident, but the indemnity amount involved is not high, both drivers are usually willing to resolve the incident as soon as possible through compensation.

Even if it is not you who caused the accident, you should still ask the other party to sign a statement of responsibility to prevent them from continuing to demand compensation from you.

For minor collisions, a private reimbursement is definitely straightforward and effective. It eliminates the need for a lengthy claim process in the future. Best of all, it will not affect your "No Claim Discount" (NCD).

Car crash/traffic accident insurance claims 

Judgment of negligence

As an independent third-party, the police will need to get involved and investigate to determine which party is responsible for the accident if both parties in a car accident cannot reach a consensus, or if it involves a large amount of insurance compensation (more than HKD $15,000).

Hopefully, the claimant will take the initiative in asking the police to conduct a formal investigation. After the investigations are completed, in most cases, one of the involved parties will prosecute against the other. Unless someone in the accident seriously violated the traffic rules, generally speaking, they will only be charged with relatively minor charges such as "careless driving". The police will prosecute those involved in traffic accidents based on the nature of the accidents, then hand them over to the court who makes the final judgment on who is responsible for the collision.

After the court has made a formal judgment, the claimant can contact the other party for compensation, and let the other driver contact his insurance company to deal with it. Generally, it may take as long as 6 to 9 months from the date of the traffic accident until the court's decision. However, if no one is found to be liable for the accident, the claims process may be affected.

The NCD will usually be temporarily deducted if the policyholder needs to renew their insurance during the claim process. With that said, both the NCD and the overpaid premium can be refunded after the other party’s insurance company resolves the dispute over the liability for the accident.

Which insurances may cover traffic accidents?

1. Car insurance

Hong Kong law stipulates that any vehicle driving on the road must have car insurance to protect all road users. This is divided into "third-party" and "comprehensive". Third-party insurance compensates for the third party’s property damage and personal injury in the accident, but does not extend this protection to the policyholder's car. Comprehensive plans, on the other hand, cover third-parties in addition to the policyholder's car.

2. Accident insurance

Usually, it's possible to claim compensation for your medical expenses from the other party and their car insurance company in a crash if they were the cause of it.

However, you will not be able to claim compensation from a third party's car insurance under these circumstances:

  • If you caused the car accident 

  • If your car broke down because it collided into an object

  • If the other party drove off after the collision, 

Moreover, if your car insurance will not compensate you for your personal injury or death, then personal accident insurance becomes particularly important.

To claim for accident insurance, you must submit accident-related information to the insurer. This includes the vehicle license plate numbers involved, how the accident happened, the location where it happened, witness or injured person's personal and contact information, both the driver’s Hong Kong ID cards and driver's license copies, passenger information, vehicle registration documents copies, related photos, etc. If either of you has already called the cops, you must also provide a copy of the confession at the police station, the police case number, the "breath test report" and the "notice of proposed charge."

3. Voluntary health insurance (VHIS)

Divided into a standard plan and a flexible plan, voluntary health insurance (VHIS) can also help you out if you are unfortunately injured in a traffic accident.

*** Disclaimer: The information mentioned in this article does not constitute advice for handling traffic accidents under any circumstances. The information contained on this webpage is intended to explain the traffic accidents and claims process that usually occurs in Hong Kong. It does not involve any personal views, responsibilities, and claim handling procedures by Kwiksure or Pacific Prime Insurance Brokers.

 

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The above information is for reference only. Kwiksure takes no responsibility for the accuracy and timeliness of the information. For the coverage, mode of compensation, benefit limit and premium levels of any specific insurance plan, please refer to the relevant policy terms.