Tuesday, March 04, 2014
What to Do If You Have a Car Accident in Qatar
Well more specifically, what do you do if you have a minor car accident and it wasn't your fault.
It's minor so you don't need to wait around for a police officer to show up. Assuming you and the other driver have both exchanged phone numbers, and you probably have taken down their name and the license plate number of their car, here’s my advice for the next steps.
1) Get a friend to come with you who knows Arabic (this is crucial)
2) Make an arrangement with the other driver to meet at the police station. There are a number of Traffic Police Stations in the city (Google for locations, this site might help), you should meet at the one closest to the site of the accident. Bring the following:
your Arabic-speaking friend
your car of course so the officer can see the damage
a copy of your insurance (they didn't ask me for it but just in case)
3) After explaining to the officer in Arabic what happened he will inspect the cars. If the other driver speaks Arabic and you do not then you will have a difficult time understanding what is going on. But that's okay because you have your Arabic-speaking friend with you, right?
4) Then the officer will do up a report explaining what happened and which driver is at fault. This report is entirely in Arabic so you will need your Arabic-speaking friend to review it to see that it is accurate. Both you and the other driver will be given a copy.
5) If you are not at fault then find out from the other driver which insurance company his car is insured with. You will probably need to go to their offices but you can call your insurance company to see if you can file the claim with them instead. Who knows, maybe you can.
6) Photocopy the police report in case something happens to your original. While I was driving I had the windows partially opened and the report nearly flew out the window! I almost had a heart attack. I doubt the insurance company will accept a photocopy but at least you can then go back to the police station and show them your photocopy to get another original.
7) If your car is relatively new or maybe a couple years old and you want it to be repaired at garages certified by your car dealership I suggest contacting the dealership to explain the situation and see which garages they recommend and if they have an arrangement with the insurance company [you might need to have this information handy for step 9].
8) Go online to check to see where the motor claims office for the insurance company is (sometimes the claims office might be in a different location from where they sell policies). Bring your car to the claims office of the insurance company with the police report, registration, Qatar ID, etc. You can then file a claim. They will then send someone out to inspect your car and take photos for their file. I still recommend having your Arabic-speaking friend with you as you will likely be dealing with Arab staff but most people at the insurance companies can also discuss things in English.
9) The insurance company will then likely tell you which garage you can take the car to. This is where you may get into a debate as they might want you to take it to some tiny garage that you have never heard of in the Industrial Area rather than to garages certified by your car dealership. I didn't debate this because my car is inexpensive and 8 years old but you might have a problem with this -- at which point you may need your Arabic-speaking friend to help you. The insurance company will give you a piece of paper to give to the garage so that you will not have to pay for the repairs.
10) If your garage is some small operator in the Industrial Area they might only speak Arabic. You brought your Arabic-speaking friend with you, right? Hopefully they're driving their car so that you can drop your car off at the garage and then hop in their car so you can leave the Industrial Area. Of course you should bring your friend with you as well when you go to pick up your newly-fixed car in case there is anything to discuss.
11) Treat that Arabic-speaking friend to a nice dinner for all of their help.
Feel free to leave any other advice in the comments.