You probably don't think twice about buying car insurance each year. A policy can cover you and other drivers in the event of an accident that results in damage or injury – plus, you must have car insurance to drive on UK roads.
You might be familiar with claiming on your insurance if you’ve had an accident before. But what happens when someone claims on your car insurance policy? We take you through what to do if you're at fault.
I've had an accident – what now?
One of the first things you should do when you've had a car accident is call the police. Even if no one is injured and you've only been involved in a minor collision, you should tell the police within 24 hours.
Exchange information such as your name and address with the other driver. You should also ask for their car insurance details and find out whether they are the registered driver of the vehicle. If not, get the details of the main driver.
Make sure to get the registration number (and a description of the car), the time and date of the crash, a description of the weather at the time and a list of the damage to vehicles and any injuries of drivers, passengers and witnesses.
Don't forget to inform your insurer that you've been in an accident. Send a letter telling them what's happened and say that this is for 'information only' to make sure they know you don't want to make a claim at this point. You will need to do this within "a reasonable amount of time" – check your policy for more details.
What if the other driver makes a claim?
The other driver might make a claim to your insurance company if they believe you're at fault. Both insurers will look into each claim and decide which driver is to blame.
If the insurers decide you're the at-fault driver, they will note this on your claim. You do have the right to contest this but keep in mind that their decision might not change. If your insurer decides you're at fault, this will probably impact your insurance premiums.
Your premiums are likely to rise as statistically drivers with at-fault claims are more likely to make another claim that will cost the insurer. As a result, you're likely to lose some or all of any no-claims bonus you have built up. Keep in mind that your premiums can go up even if you protect your no claims bonus.
Remember, you'll need to declare this claim every time you renew your insurance for the next three to five years. It is likely to affect your premiums but this should fall off with each year you rebuild your no-claims bonuses.
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