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Car insurance: will a non-fault claim affect my premiums?
Published 10 April 2016 by Emily Bancroft
Fault or non-fault – what’s the difference?
One of the main ways for drivers to keep the cost of their car insurance low is to stay away from accidents and making claims. Of course, this is easier said than done – if you crash into another driver and damage your car, you’ll need to claim on your insurance. This is likely to mean your car insurance premiums will go up.
But what if you make a claim for an accident that isn’t your fault? This is known as a ‘non-fault’ claim and it can sometimes mean an increase in the cost of your car insurance.
Fault or non-fault claims?
A fault claim happens when you accept responsibility for a car accident with another driver. For example, this could be if you drove into the back of someone else’s car while they were waiting at traffic or you weren’t paying attention and came out of a junction while another vehicle was passing.
Non-fault claims are those where the other driver caused the accident. When this happens, your insurer will usually reclaim any repair costs from the other driver’s insurance.
If the other driver doesn’t have insurance or you’re in a hit and run accident, your claim might be treated as a fault claim because your insurer can’t recover its costs. However, this depends on the insurer so check your policy for details.
Will insurance cost more?
Non-fault claims can mean that your car insurance premiums increase – but it shouldn’t go up by as much as if you had a fault claim. This is because some insurers will consider you more likely to have another accident if you’ve already been in one crash, meaning they view you as more of a risk.
It’s possible that a non-fault claim could affect any no claims discount you hold. This is likely to mean that your premiums will increase when you come to renew as you’re no longer getting a discount on your insurance.
Don’t be tempted to not tell your insurer about an accident to try and save on your car insurance. If you look in the terms and conditions of your insurance policy, you’ll probably see that you have to report any accidents to your insurer. If you don’t and then you want to make a claim in the future, your insurer is unlikely to pay out if they find out about the previous accident.
Even if your insurer reclaims the costs from the other driver’s insurance, they could still hike the cost of your premiums. This might seem unfair but they base their decision on their data so if you think your insurance has increased by too much, it’s worth seeing if you can get a better price by switching. You could use a comparison website or an insurance broker to compare quotes and find out what deals are available for you.