5 Ways Singaporean Motor Insurers Reject Your Claim

2 Nov 2015

How To Be Neighbourly

From November 1, motorists caught with illegally modified engines or exhaust systems in their vehicles for a second or subsequent time will be subjected to more frequent mandatory vehicle inspections. This bodes ill for motorheads here, but it is bad news for their wallets as well.

Most of you will be familiar with widely-circulated rumours that some motor insurers will reject first or third party claims, if the cars they insured have been modified.  But even if you’ve never modified your car, a rejected claim could still happen to you. A rejected claim is every driver’s worst nightmare. Here’s 5 ways it could happen.


1.         Your claim might be rejected if it involves a foreign-registered car

An estimated 300,000 commuters, out of which more than two-thirds were Malaysians and permanent residents of Malaysia cross the Johor-Singapore Causeway and the Tuas Second Link daily.

By law, these commuters, which include those in Malaysian registered private cars, motorbikes as well as goods vehicles, are only allowed on our roads if their vehicles are insured, and are expected to obey the same traffic rules and regulations as we do.

Inevitably, however, some of these vehicles will get into accidents with our local vehicles – specifically, you. If you are involved in an accident with a foreign vehicle, will your insurance claim be rejected?

Well, according to the General Insurance Association of Singapore, motorists are advised to “claim against their own policies, if they have a comprehensive policy, in instances of accidents with foreign motorists in either Singapore or Malaysia. This would save them the inconvenience of making a claim against motorists from another country.”

The reason for this, as I understand it, has to do with a High Court ruling in 2009. That year, Justice Kan Ting Chiu made a precedential judgement in High Court that the relevant Singapore law for third-party risks and claims applies only to insurers of Singapore-registered vehicles for collisions on roads here.

That means that, in the event of an accident, you can pursue the claim only against the offending motorist, not against his insurer.

However, that doesn’t mean that the insurer is free to walk away from your claim. The General Insurance Association asserts that the offensive party’s insurer is still bound by contract to cover for accidents and third-party claims that occur in Singapore, or for up to 160km beyond the Thai border 

It’s just that, you know, getting your claim heard and fully paid up from the Malaysian counterpart would be, for want of a better word, damn leh-cheh.

You would need, for a start, to engage a lawyer to represent you in Malaysian courts and to liase with the Malaysian insurer. But be warned: the claim process against the Malaysian insurer can take up to a good four years – by the time you tote up the lawyer’s bills, your own car’s damage, and the likelihood that you'd probably have a new car by then, you’d be better off settling it on your own with your insurer.


How To Claim Against Foreign-Insured Vehicle

But let’s say you still want to go down that route, report the accident details to your insurer, as per any accident, with the following details:

-       Drivers’ particulars
-       Registration plate numbers
-       Clear photos of the accident scene and damage to vehicles

 Then, a police report needs to be made for claims against a foreign insurer.

The General Insurance Association of Singapore says, “if motorists wish to make a third-party motor claim against insurers in Malaysia, motorists are advised to seek recourse directly with the insurer concerned by submitting the following documents:

-       The claimant’s vehicle registration card (photocopy);

-       Certificate of Insurance, cover note or policy schedule (photocopy);
-       Identity card (photocopy);

-       police report;

-       a police sketch plan and key (if available);

-       result of police investigation (if available);
-       and
proof of losses incurred”

In addition, an adjuster’s report with original photographs, a repair bill and proof of payment, a rental-car bill (if the car was rented) and proof of payment and bills and receipt for other expenses incurred.

Registered post should be used when sending any original document.

If the action taken by a claimant against the motorist in Malaysia is unsuccessful after all avenues have been exhausted, the claimant can approach GIA’s Malaysian counterpart, Persatuan Insuran Am Malaysia (PIAM) or GIA at the following addresses: 

Persatuan Insuran Am Malaysia (PIAM)
3rd Floor, Wisma Piam

150 Jalan Tun Sambanthan
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Tel No: 0203-274 7399
Fax No: 0203-274 5910

General Insurance Association of Singapore
180 Cecil Street
 Bangkok Bank Building

Singapore 069546
Tel No: (65) 62218788
Fax No: (65) 62272051

The PIAM and GIA will assist only after evidence is produced that all necessary actions have been taken to pursue the matter."



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