Claims

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This is the amount of each claim that you pay yourself.

There are no hard and fast rules as to the minimum or maximum amount of excess which an insurance company may apply. There might be different excesses for third party liability or own damage claims. If the driver is below the age of 25, the excess is normally higher

You may also choose to increase the excess in return for a discount on your premium. However, in the event of a claim, you would be required to pay such higher excess.

When you purchase motor insurance you may choose to restrict driving to yourself and certain specified people such as your husband/wife or people beyond a certain age. In return you will get a discount. These are normally referred to as “Authorised Drivers”.

If you choose to allow other drivers under the age of 25 to drive your car, your premium will increase substantially. When buying insurance make sure you restrict the cover to the people you need to allow to drive your car. Remember their accident record and age may also influence your premium.

Do not allow anyone to drive your car unless they are covered by your insurance policy.

Some policies may automatically extend cover if your car is being serviced or repaired by a motor repairer.

Knowing what to do if you are involved in an accident can save lives and also make the claims process easier. Stop your car.
  • In the case of a front to rear collision proceed to complete the “Bumper to Bumper Form”. DO NOT LEAVE WITHOUT FILLING THE FORM. Do not block traffic, as it may be unsafe and you also risk being fined. You should move the vehicles to a safer location in order to complete the form. If there are two vehicles involved in the accident you only need to complete one form. If there are more vehicles you will need more forms. Make sure you fill in the correct details, and describe the accident as accurately as possible. Do not forget to do a rough sketch of the accident there and then. Sign your section of the form. Then ensure that the other party fills in his part correctly and signs it. Check his vehicle registration plate number and any possible details. All parts must be completed in ink to ensure that no information is easily changed after you leave each other. The form is in duplicate. So you should each take a copy and give it to your insurer or insurance intermediary. Keep a photocopy for your own records.

  • If you are involved in any other type of collision or in a front to rear collision of a very severe nature call the Local Wardens Central Office on 21320202. This telephone line is solely dedicated to collision reports.

  • Once you call the Wardens’ Office, you will be asked as series of questions namely whether there are injuries involved or whether there has been damage to government property. In accordance with the replies which you will provide, the Wardens’ Office will provide to summon the police or to call an ambulance as the case may be. They will also call the tow truck if you need.

  • In the case where you have called the Warden’s Office, you must wait till they arrive on the scene of the accident. DO NOT MOVE THE VEHICLES UNLESS INSTRUCTED TO DO SO.

  • Take reasonable steps to protect your car from further damage, such as putting on hazard lights.

  • The Warden will report on the accident, draw a sketch, take photographs and obtain statements from the drivers involved and from any witnesses.

  • When giving your statement, do not admit liability for the accident because this may severely prejudice your situation. The insurance companies will decide about that.

  • If you do not have a camera with you, use the camera in your mobile phone to take photographs of the accident. Take photos from different angles. Give a copy of the photos to your claims handler.

Remember to keep a copy of the “Bumper to Bumper” form in your car. These forms are available from Local Councils and from insurance companies.

Follow these steps:

  • Call your insurance representative as soon as possible after the accident, regardless of who is at fault and the size of the loss. You may eventually decide not to make a claim under your insurance policy, but still notify them immediately.

  • In the case of a front to rear collision submit the copy of the front to rear collision form to your insurer. Give copies of any photos you may have taken following the accident.

  • In any other accident, you will be required to complete a claim form. Fill in the details as accurately as possible and ask your insurer or insurance intermediary for any assistance you may need to complete the form. Sign it and keep a copy. Give copies of any photos you may have taken at the accident scene. Give any additional information you collected at the accident scene that was not requested on the claim form. Ask your insurer or insurance intermediary how to proceed and what other forms or documents will be needed to support your claim. Keep a copy of everything you provide/give to your insurer or insurance intermediary.

  • Ask your insurer or insurance intermediary:
    • Does my policy contain a time limit for filing claims and submitting bills?
    • Is there a time limit for resolving claims disputes?
    • If I need to submit additional information, is there a time limit?
    • When can I expect the insurance company to contact me?
    • Do I need to get repair estimates for the damage to my car?
    • Will my policy pay for a rental car while my car is being repaired? If so, how much?

Remember that once you make a claim, you will be required to pay the agreed excess to the insurance company.

Each company may have its own procedures governing the claims process. If you have any questions, call your insurer or insurance intermediary.

All insurance companies in Malta adhere to a Handbook of Best Practice for Third Party Motor Liability Claims issued by the Malta Insurance Association. This handbook applies when an insurer deals with a third party who claims damages against its customer (claimant). It does not specifically regulate an insurer who deals with a claim by its own customer for own damage (under a Third Party Fire & Theft policy, or a Comprehensive policy).

The wardens’ report will be automatically sent to the insurance companies of the parties involved in the motor accident. Although the report is property of the insurance company, it may give you a copy of the report on request. Charging you for the report is at the discretion of the insurance company.

The police report is normally sourced directly from the police authorities. If you have comprehensive cover, the cost of the report is refunded to you if you obtain it yourself.

In the case of a traffic accident, the insured must inform the insurance company as soon as possible and in any case by not later than two weeks by notice in writing of the occurrence of the event together with such particulars of the event of which he/she may be aware.

Where the insurer has reasonable grounds to believe that an event has occurred in relation to motor vehicle as a consequence of which the insurer may have to pay a claim to an injured party but the insured fails or delays to lodge a claim, the insurer is bound by law to treat that event as if a claim had been made.

In the event that a third party fails to inform his insurer of the event which may result in a claim, there is a process which needs to be followed. This process is described below:

a) eTARS Reports (i.e. the wardens’ report) are normally sent to insurance companies after 3 or 4 working days from the day of the accident.

b) The insurer of the party who is likely to be at fault will treat any notification received as a claim. The insurer would not normally accept liability before it can discuss the circumstances of the accident with its insured. That is the reason why the insurer would send a surveyor to inspect the victim’s vehicle on a “without prejudice basis”. The insurer would also normally discuss the case with the innocent party. One has to appreciate that it is a basic principle of natural justice that both sides should, at least, be given an opportunity to be heard within a reasonable time.

c) There are instances where the party who allegedly is at fault queries the accuracy of the eTARS Report and refuses to accept liability. At that point, his/her insurer can do either of two things (i) if fault is not totally clear, propose to his policyholder the option of going to voluntary arbitration so that an independent arbiter can determine fault, or (ii) if the insurer is convinced that fault lays with his policyholder, formally inform him/her that he/she should accept liability or else be prepared to bear the cost of any legal action taken against him/her.

d) Whichever way the recommendation is given, the third party cannot refuse to lodge a claim. If the errant third party refuses to take the insurer’s suggestion to accept liability, there is yet another process to go through. This requires the insurer to write formally to the policyholder informing him/her of the intention to pay compensation to the third party unless the policyholder, in writing, gives specific instructions to the insurer not to proceed with payment. Presumed innocent third parties may complain about this fact - however, whilst every insured is bound to lodge a claim, they have a legal right not to accept liability. An insurer cannot legally accept liability against the policyholder’s express wish.

e) Some insurers recommend to the presumed innocent party to send a legal letter so that there would be a formal claim registered against their policyholder. Although there is nothing which should preclude the third party from doing so (especially if he wants to expedite matters), this may be an additional (and in some cases unrecoverable) expense. A legal letter may not be required if the insurer intends to process the claim. It is only necessary if the policyholder has disagreed (in writing) with his insurer’s opinion that he is to blame. If the third party wants to start legal proceedings he has a choice as to whether to proceed directly against the insurer or the responsible party.

f) A legal letter or some similar form of written communication is the minimum necessary to prove to the third party’s insurer that there is a claim by the third party.

g) The law is quite clear on this aspect. Article 15 of Chapter 104 of the Laws of Malta provides that a registered or judicial letter be sent by the third party insurer to their client granting him notice of the claim and the intention to accept liability. Only after the requisite 10-day period has lapsed can the insurer proceed to pay the innocent third party. It is to be noted that the law (and the handbook of Best Practice for Third Party Motor Liability Claims issues by the Malta Insurance Association)requires that the insured be given an indication of the amount to be paid - which would, strictly speaking require the third party to submit bills regarding repairs or an approximate indication of the total amount due as resulting from the survey report.

h) As soon as the insured is notified with the insurer’s registered or judicial letter sent in terms of law, the 10 days required according to law would start running, and should the insured fail to lodge an objection within that time-frame, the insurer shall be entitled, according to law, to pay the innocent third party.

i) If a vehicle has been declared beyond economic repair, this means that it is not financially feasible for the insurer to repair it as in doing so might very well exceed the vehicle’s market value.

The process mentioned above can take from a few days to several weeks, depending on the circumstances of the case.

Whilst one naturally sympathises with third parties who are involved in accidents and suffer unnecessarily, one must also appreciate that the law must be respected.

Finally, there is also another important aspect which should be borne in mind. The innocent third party might argue that his vehicle is not in a good state to be road worthy as a result of the accident (until it is repaired). Thus he/she is deprived from its use during the time until a decision is taken by the insurer to accept liability and authorise repairs. One must remember that it may be possible for temporary repairs to be undertaken so that the vehicle may be driven without the risk of contravening any traffic regulations. Such situations may however complicate themselves if the financial outlay for repair works is high. This too might appear as an additional financial burden for the innocent third party, but repair works would nevertheless have to be carried out sometime or other, whether reimbursable or not (especially if the case is referred to arbitration and the presumption of innocence is not upheld).

If you are involved in a collision involving vehicles of the Armed Forces of Malta, the police and Maltese Government-owned get in touch contact the police rather than the wardens. If you contact the latter, they will contact the police themselves once they arrive on the spot.

Claims involving vehicles of the Armed Forces of Malta, the police and Maltese Government-owned are handled by the Protection and Compensation Fund (address: c/o Malta Financial Services Authority, Notabile Road, Attard BKR 3000) and the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (43A/2 St. Paul's Buildings, West Street, Valletta VLT 1532 Tel: (+356) 21232640; email: mia@maltainsurance.org).

The handling of such claims is governed by LN 189 of 2008 [Motor vehicles Insurance (Third Party Risks) (Insurance Exempt vehicles) Regulations, 2008] and an agreement between the Fund and the Government.

If you are insured on Third Party or Third Party Fire and Theft basis, it might be best if you seek the assistance of a lawyer to assist you with formulating your claim. If you are fully insured, your policy may also cover you for any limited legal assistance. It is in your best interest to verify this with your insurer as legal assistance may be at the discretion of the insurer.

The claims process involving a vehicle of the Armed Forces of Malta, the police and Maltese Government-owned may take some time to conclude.

The MFSA cannot determine cases where liability is being disputed. However, in terms of law, a case involving collision may be referred to arbitration at the Malta arbitration Centre. Arbitration is a means of settling a dispute between two or more parties without resorting to the formalities of a court or a tribunal.

Generally speaking, there are two types of arbitration “voluntary” and “mandatory”. .

A contract of insurance be it motor, travel, health or any type of insurance, may include what is usually known as an “arbitration clause”. Such clause would state that, in the event of a dispute between the policyholder and the insurance company, the matter would be referred to arbitration. For example, a policyholder may object to the interpretation by the insurance company of a particular insurance provision in the contract, or refutes to a decision by the company to honour a claim. The policyholder can refer the matter to arbitration. This is usually referred to as voluntary arbitration. The policyholder should therefore make sure that, before he can refer a dispute to arbitration, there is an arbitration clause in the contract of insurance. If such clause is absent, the policyholder, in agreement with the insurance company, may still agree to refer the matter to arbitration. Decisions from voluntary arbitrations are not made public and only the parties concerned would know of the final outcome.

Voluntary arbitration is also used to resolve disputes on responsibility in a traffic collision. This is subject to all parties involved agreeing to this form of dispute resolution. To confirm this, consent all parties need to sign an Arbitration Agreement. Keep in mind that once a decision is given there is no appeal. Also, such an arrangement is not regulated by arbitration legislation and parties might not have the same rights as those enjoyed by parties who refer their case to the Malta Arbitration Centre.

Arbitration is mandatory in the event of (a) any collision between vehicles, or (b) any involuntary damage to property involving vehicles, or (c) any such claim against an authorised insurer who in accordance with the Motor Vehicles Insurance (Third-Party Risks) Ordinance (Cap. 104) or any policy of insurance may be liable therefor, and (d) the value whereof does not exceed €11,646.87. A dispute for damages for personal injuries cannot be referred to arbitration.

Therefore, two parties which are locked in a dispute as to who is at fault in a collision, where damages are less than €11,646.87 and none of the parties had been injured are required to refer their case to arbitration at the Malta Arbitration Centre. Decisions taken in respect of mandatory arbitration are public.

The arbitration award is final and binding and cannot be appealed, except for points of law. This means that the parties cannot refer the case to the courts for the merits of the case to be reassessed.


More information is available from the Malta arbitration Centre’s website www.mac.com.mt

If you have purchased a comprehensive motor policy, you may claim under your own policy and avoid the hassle of chasing third parties. This means you will have to pay the excess and lose your No Claims Discount. Your insurer will then proceed to recover the amounts paid to you from the insurers of the guilty party. Once they achieve this, your insurers will refund you in full. Therefore your No Claims Discount will be restored and your excess recovered.

If you have Third Party Only or Third Party Fire & Theft cover and are involved in an accident which is the fault of the third party, your insurer can only offer you advice on how you may proceed.

1.    Inform your insurer or insurance intermediary of the situation.

 If the person handling your claim is unable to solve your problem, contact the head of the insurer’s claims department. Inform him that you have a complaint and ask for the procedure you need to follow to lodge your complaint. 

    2.    Be prepared to support your case.

Send any documents and a letter explaining why you are not satisfied. Make sure you have the facts and figures to back up your argument. Be certain to include your address, claim number, day and evening phone numbers, and any other important identifying information. 

  3.    Contact the Consumer Complaints Manager at MFSA.

Explain the reasons for the disagreement by contacting the MFSA on Freephone 80074924. It would be wise to access the MFSA’s consumer website: http://mymoneybox.mfsa.com.mt for more information about the role of the Complaints Manager.

  4.    Consult a lawyer

A complainant must bear in mind that any recommendations which the Consumer Complaints Manager may make are not binding on the insurance company and the latter may choose to ignore them. For this reason, if you do feel the need for legal assistance, consult a lawyer who specialises in motor insurance. You can follow the progress of your claim by asking your lawyer to provide you with copies of all correspondence. Your lawyer must have your agreement before committing to any settlement.

After your claim has been settled, take time to re-evaluate your motor insurance coverage to make sure you have adequate protection to cover you against any future damage or liability claims arising from the use of your car.



Last updated: Sep 07, 2016

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