One of my biggest fear while living in Germany is having a car accident. Apart from the risk of physical injury to the drivers and passengers, there is also the hassel of dealing with the bureaucracy that is the German car insurance system.
I won't go into the details of the actual accident as it is not relevant to what I want to write about.
Coming from Australia, I am accustomed to the way it worked there. When an accident occurs, the drivers would exchange their details (including the details of insurance providers), and then we proceed to the mechanics to get the quotes for the repair work. After submitting the quotes to the insurance company, they would sort the details between themselves. If it is your fault, you pay the access and the insurance company pay the rest.
In Germany, things are a little bit different. It all comes down to the person who is at fault. When the police attended our accident, they advise us that all we have to do for repairing our car is to take our car the mechanic and tell the mechanic the insurance company of the at fault driver, that is it.
Having said that, there are a few things that we did that made it a little easier to deal with.
- Always call the police and get a police report. For an accident with no injury, the police will tell you that they don't need to be present. However, having a police report provides concrete proof who is the at fault driver and a clear description of what happened during the accident.
- Exchange the details with the other driver. Make sure that you get as much verifiable details as you can, including their driver's license details, their phone number and their address.
- Go to see a mechanic as soon as you can to start the paper work.
- Take photos of the accident scene. Use the camera on your mobile phone.
However, drive safely and avoid accident as best as you can. The disruption to your daily life is just not worth it.