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How accidents affect insurance

Being involved in a car accident is tough for anyone. Even if you’re fortunate enough to avoid any physical damage yourself, your car might not be so lucky – and your car insurance could be affected too.
 
Unfortunately, making a claim is almost always going to lead to an increase in your car insurance premium, although the impact can be a lot less if the accident wasn’t your fault.
 
Here’s a look at just how much being in an accident could affect your premium and how much this could change when the accident is your fault.

Will my car insurance go up after an accident?

Unfortunately, the simple answer to this is yes. Whether the accident was your fault or not, making a claim will usually lead to an increase in your car insurance premium the next year and you could see an increase even if you don’t make a claim.
 
This is because it’s the job of an insurance provider to decide whether you’re at risk of being in an accident further down the line. If you’ve already had an accident they might consider you to be a greater risk even if you weren’t at fault, whether you were at fault or not, although this can make a difference to your premium.

What if it wasn’t my fault?

If the accident wasn’t your fault at all, for example, if your car was stationary or if another driver backed into you, then you can make a non-fault claim. This means the person who is at fault for the accident will be liable to pay the costs of any repairs to your vehicle.
 
However, if the accident was your fault, then you will be liable for the costs. This could even be the case if your insurer simply can’t find anyone else to blame for the accident.

How much more might I have to pay?

To get an idea of how much your insurance could go up when you’ve had an accident, we simulated 150 quotes through our comparison system:

  • 50 where the driver had not had an accident
  • 50 where the driver had had an accident which wasn’t their fault
  • 50 where the driver had had an accident which was their fault.

How accidents affect insurance

We found that the average insurance quote when the driver had not had an accident (with ten years of no claims discount) was £678.73.
 
When the driver had been involved in an accident, this went up by £63.37 to £742.10. However, where things really started to stack up is where the accident was the driver’s fault.
 
On average, we found insurance quotes for drivers with an ‘at-fault’ claim to be £1,240.70, which is £561.96 more than if you hadn’t had an accident at all – a huge difference of 83%.

How can I pay less?

These increases can be pretty steep, so is there anything you can do to stop your premium skyrocketing after you’ve had an accident?

Make sure to tell your insurer

No matter how small an accident may seem, it’s vital that you tell your insurer about it. It can be tempting to keep quiet, especially if you think it might save you from a price hike.
 
However, if your insurer finds out about the accident further down the line from the other driver or another party, then they could refuse to honour your policy for failing to report it.
 

Accident forgiveness clauses

Many car insurance policies now offer an ‘accident forgiveness clause’, which means that they’ll allow you to have one accident without raising your premium. The specifics vary from policy to policy, but it’s worth checking to see if it’s something your provider offers.

Brought to you by our car insurance experts.

Methodology

We gathered three insurance quotes in each of the UK’s 50 most populated towns and cities, using identical details, with the only difference being whether the driver had had an accident and whether or not the accident was their fault.
 
For the purposes of this research, we used a 26-year-old male driving a Ford Fiesta, seeking comprehensive cover, with ten years no claims bonus, and took an average figure across the 50 towns and cities to estimate how much  insurance could go up in the case of an accident.

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