What To Do If You Get into an Accident With a Foreign-registered Vehicle

Alevin Chan

Alevin Chan

Last updated 26 October, 2022

Should you get into an accident with a foreign-registered vehicle, making a claim likely won’t be easy. Here’s how you better navigate such a situation and alternative courses of action to consider.

Given the close social and geographical ties we share with Malaysia, and our love for road trips up north, getting into a traffic accident with a Malaysia-registered car is not completely outside of the realm of possibility.

Should this happen, you may find making a claim against a foreign-registered driver to be more complicated than you like, even though the process is still largely the same. Well, you may thank cross-border administrative challenges for adding this new wrinkle to an already vexing event.

Good thing, then, that claiming against the other driver’s insurance isn’t your only option – but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Let’s first have a look at what you need to do should you get into a fender bender with a foreign-registered car.  

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What to do in an accident with a foreign-registered vehicle

Should you get into an accident with a Malaysian driver, the things you need to do aren’t any different than for any other road accident.

You should still follow the recovery practices as recommended by your insurer, but you’ll need to pay extra attention when gathering the required documents and evidence.

Here’s a rundown of what you should do, as per the General Insurance Association’s (GIA) webpage: 

  1. Make a police report as soon as possible, and no later than 24 hours. You are required to approach any Neighbourhood Police Post or police centre to submit your report in writing.
  2. If you wish to make a third-party motor claim against an insurer in Malaysia, you will have to initiate contact with the relevant insurer, and submit copies of the following:
    • Your 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)
    • Proof of losses incurred

    Additional documents relevant to your claim should also be submitted; such documents may include:
    • Adjuster’s report with original photographs
    • Repair bill and proof of payment
    • Rental-car bill (if a car was rented) and proof of payment
    • Bills and receipts for other expenses incurred
  3. Note that claiming against a foreign-registered car is likely to take longer compared to claiming against a locally-registered vehicle. Patience will help you last the distance.

It must be emphasised that this entire arduous process only applies if you decide to make a claim against the other driver’s motor insurance.

If all that sounds like too much trouble, the following two options may be more palatable.

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Option 1: Claim against your own insurance policy

Yes, you can make a claim against your own insurance policy to cover the cost of repairing your vehicle. (This is, of course, provided that your motor insurance plan offers such benefits. In other words, if you only have a Third-party, Fire and Theft cover, this option won’t be available to you.)

Doing so will essentially pass the case over into the hands of your insurer, who then has to liaise with the relevant insurer in Malaysia to recover the claim amount.

This means that you can avoid the hassle of making a claim against a driver from a foreign country, and need only focus on getting your car restored.

However, do be aware that your No-claims Discount may be affected, until your insurer settles up with the corresponding party. But in exchange, you’ll have more peace of mind.  

Option 2: Enter into a private settlement

Another alternative is to enter into a private settlement with the other driver. In other words, both parties agree to a legally-binding arrangement to make good on the estimated costs of repairing their vehicles.

While a private settlement precludes the need for insurance papers to be filed, that doesn't mean there’s no paperwork altogether. The accident still has to be reported to the police, damages and evidence still need to be documented, and your insurer will likely want to be informed.

Also, there is the risk that the actual costs come up to a significantly higher sum than expected, which could cause one or both parties to back out of the private settlement and attempt to make an insurance claim instead.

As you can imagine, such a development will only make a gnarly situation even more difficult to deal with. Hence, this option should not be chosen lightly, and should only be considered if:

  • Damage to vehicles is minor or negligible
  • There are minimal or no injuries
  • The agreed sum can be settled on the spot

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If all else fails

Even after trying everything in your power, you may still fail to get your claim settled by a driver registered in Malaysia. There is one more thing you can try.

Approach the GIA’s counterpart in Malaysia – Persatuan Insurans Am Malaysia (PIAM) – to ask for assistance with your claim. Be sure to include a copy of all necessary documents and evidence to facilitate your request.

You may reach out to the PIAM via:

  • Email: pic@piam.org.my
  • Phone: 03-2274 7399
  • Website:https://piam.org.my/

An ex-Financial Planner with a curiosity about what makes people tick, Alevin’s mission is to help readers understand the psychology of money. He’s also on an ongoing quest to optimise happiness and enjoyment in his life.

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