You've caused a car accident. Who pays?

Even though you parked your car carefully, the gap was narrower than you expected. At a red light, the car behind you sets off too early and leaves a dent in your bumper. Car accidents can happen in a flash, and they can become very expensive just as quickly, too. But who actually pays in the event of a car accident? Our guide provides clarity.
To answer the question of who pays after a car accident, the type of accident must first be distinguished. Did you cause the claim yourself or did someone else damage your car? Is it purely property damage or was someone injured? A different insurance company will pay depending on the answers to these questions. 

Information on the calculation basis: *Person: Born 1 June 1986, female, resident in 8400 Winterthur, nationality: Switzerland

Car: Fiat 500 Electric mod. 2022 type certificate 01xx664 / 0 damage last 5 years / no leasing / catalogue price CHF 44 490

Coverage modules: Compulsory third-party liability and partial casco.

Start of insurance 01.03.2024, annual payment method, offer date 01.02.2024, price rounded.

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Damage to your own car is covered by your comprehensive insurance. As a rule, a distinction is drawn between partially and fully comprehensive insurance. Partially comprehensive cover pays for damage to your car that neither you nor anyone else caused, such as dummy hail or marten damage. By contrast, fully comprehensive cover pays for damage to your own car that you caused yourself in a collision. That is why it is also called collision insurance. For example, collision coverage pays for scratches and dents in your paintwork if you hit a pole while parking or damage to your own car if you crash into the vehicle in front of you while driving off. The prerequisite is, of course, that you have taken out comprehensive insurance, which is voluntary in Switzerland. More information about comprehensive insurance is provided on dummy our car insurance page. And if you want to know what comprehensive insurance will cost you, our premium calculator will tell you in just a few clicks.

You can find more tips on the topic of damage to your own car in our dummy guides to mobility. The guides answer such questions as which insurance pays out in the event of dummy parking damage, how to dummy properly insure a rental car, and whether dummy partially or fully comprehensive insurance is the right choice for you.

Damage that you cause to someone else in a car accident is paid for by your third-party liability insurance. This includes, for example, damage to the paintwork of another person's vehicle. Unlike comprehensive insurance, third-party liability insurance is compulsory in Switzerland and is a prerequisite for being allowed on the road with your car in the first place.

It also differs from comprehensive insurance in that a direct right of claim applies in the event of liability claims. This means that the aggrieved party may contact the other party's insurer directly and report the claim. By the way, our third-party liability insurance also includes what is known as passive legal protection – we check whether claims are justified at all and fend off unjustified ones on your behalf. This is definitely worthwhile for you because, as with comprehensive insurance, your third-party liability premium increases if you cause a claim that the insurance company pays for.

For all other traffic-related disputes, by the way, it is also worth taking out dummy motor legal protection cover.

When a car accident causes personal injury, the third-party liability insurance of the person who caused the accident usually pays. The loss amount can quickly become very expensive with personal injury – for example, if someone is unable to work for a long time or even becomes disabled. For that reason, the statutory sum insured for third-party liability in Switzerland is 100 million Swiss francs. Although that sounds like a lot of money at first, it is important to remember that multiple people can be injured in an accident. 

If you cause a car accident yourself and are injured, your own third-party liability cover does not pay. If you are injured in a car accident that is your fault, your accident insurance will usually pay instead. Depending on your situation, this may be your employer's accident insurance under the UVG or the supplementary accident component of your health insurance

By the way, what frequently gets forgotten is that children, adolescents and people who are not in employment are often inadequately insured against accidents. For families in particular, it is therefore worth taking out passenger accident insurance. The same is true if you regularly have visitors from abroad, because many foreign accident insurance policies provide lower benefits than Swiss ones. Passenger accident insurance covers all passengers in your car in the event of an accident for which you are at fault and pays for such things as medical expenses or one-off costs in the event of disability. Incidentally, our passenger accident insurance includes an upgrade. If you or your passengers are insured against accidents in general, we will pay the additional costs of a semi-private ward in the event of a car accident. Passenger accident insurance is a supplementary option that can be added on to our car insurance. You can find more information about this on dummy our car insurance page.

  • Damage to your own car is usually paid for by your comprehensive insurance.
  • Third-party liability insurance covers damage that you cause to others.
  • If you are injured in a car accident for which you are at fault, your accident insurance will pay the claim.
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