How to check your car insurance claim history

So you’d like to know about your car-insurance claim history. How do you go about it, and are there any curveballs to watch out for? Here are the facts.

So you’d like to know about your car-insurance claim history. How do you go about it, and are there any curveballs to watch out for? Here are the facts.

Daniel Hutson
Head of Motor Insurance
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Posted 21 OCTOBER 2021

What is a car-insurance claim?

A car-insurance claim is when someone contacts an insurance provider for compensation after a road accident. Typically, this claim would be for damage caused to a car, or injury to a person – or both.

Claims range from minor mishaps, like breaking a wing mirror, to more serious incidents, including written-off vehicles or even fatalities. When you buy a new car-insurance policy, you’ll have to provide details about any previous claims.

What different types of claims are there?

The two main types of car insurance claims are ‘fault’ and 'non-fault'.

  • Non-fault – if you're in a car accident and the other driver accepts the blame, and their insurance provider pays out for any damage, it’s known as a 'non-fault' claim. Be aware that even if you have a 'non-fault' claim, your insurance premiums may still go up.
  • Fault – contrary to how it sounds, a fault claim isn’t necessarily one where you’re to blame: it’s simply one where your insurance provider has had to pay out. For example, if a car hits yours when parked and the other car drives off. It might also be classed as a fault claim, although you didn’t cause it. If an accident was your fault, then you should expect a claim to be made against you.

How does a car insurance claim affect my insurance premium?

If you make a claim, it will usually affect your car insurance premium and the likelihood is it will only go up. You’re also likely to lose some, if not all, of your No Claims Discount (NCD).

If you’ve protected your NCD, making a claim shouldn’t affect the number of years listed against it if you are under the limit (depending on how many claims you make during a set period). For example, you might be able to keep your NCD if you make no more than two claims in three years. Check what your provider says in the policy document.

How can I check my car insurance claim history?

There are a few ways to check your claim history. The easiest one may be to ask your existing car insurance provider for details of any claims you’ve made in the past. This information could include the date of any claims, the type of claims, how much was paid out, and details of any injuries.

You could also contact the Claims and Underwriting Exchange (CUE). This is a central database that holds records of every incident reported to insurance companies – even those that don’t lead to a claim. The aim of this is to prevent fraud. Most car, home and travel-insurance providers submit information to CUE, which typically stores details of insurance claims for six years.

Insurance providers use CUE to calculate the cost of your premium, based on your claims’ history, so always be accurate and honest about any past claims when you buy car insurance. If you aren’t, or you forget to disclose something, your insurance provider may well find out if they check with CUE.

Under GDPR regulation, you can find out any information that CUE holds on you. Simply visit the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB) website and complete a Subject Access Request form. If you think any information being held about you is wrong, you should contact the insurance provider who you think sent the incorrect data, or the MIB itself.

While you don’t have to make a claim on your car insurance if you’ve had an accident, you must tell your insurance provider about the accident. If you don’t let them know, you could invalidate your policy.

Frequently asked questions

I’m buying a used car – should I check its history?

Yes, if you’re buying a second-hand car, then you’ll want to know exactly what kind of condition it’s in. A reputable seller will give you a full history of the car, including details of any accidents it’s been involved in. But if you’re buying the car privately, or if the vehicle has changed hands several times, you may well find that you’re not given the complete picture.

How can I check a car’s history?

If you have the car’s registration number, you can also find out plenty of information about it through the DVLA. Among other things, you’ll be able to check its MOT history, and the log book to find out if it’s been stolen.

The RAC offers a handy vehicle-history check. How much you’ll have to pay will depend on how in-depth you want the check to be.

You should also ask to see the car’s service history.

How long do car insurance claims stay on my record?

Any claim you make will be automatically recorded with the Claims and Underwriting Exchange (CUE). This data will be held on file for six years.

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