Will my car insurance go up after an accident?

Attention quickly turns to insurance after an accident. Unfortunately, you can’t assume that there’ll be no impact on next year’s premium, even if the accident wasn’t your fault. Our guide explains why.

Attention quickly turns to insurance after an accident. Unfortunately, you can’t assume that there’ll be no impact on next year’s premium, even if the accident wasn’t your fault. Our guide explains why.

Written by
Kate Hughes
Insurance expert
Last Updated
27 FEBRUARY 2023
6 min read
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How much does car insurance increase after a claim?

Although the amount will depend on who’s to blame, the severity of the accident, and your own driving record, you should expect your car insurance to increase by about 20-50% after making a claim.

Will my car insurance always increase after an accident?

Unfortunately, the short answer is yes. Regardless of whose fault the accident was, making a claim will almost always lead to an increase in your car insurance premium. Luckily a non-fault claim won’t affect it as much as an at-fault claim will.

In fact, even if you don’t make a claim after an accident, you could still see an increase in your insurance premium. This may be because your provider needs to recoup the costs of a claim made by the other driver or because they now consider you to be at risk of another accident.

Why does having an accident impact my car insurance?

Insurance providers will want to recoup the cost of any pay-out after an accident, hence a hike in premiums.

It seems a bit unfair, but that’s down to some insurance providers believing that drivers who’ve had an accident (even if it wasn’t their fault and they didn’t claim for it) are more likely to be involved in another accident later on. As a result, your premium will rise to cover the greater risk of them having to pay out.

See more about how car insurance premiums are calculated.

What’s a non-fault car insurance claim?

A non-fault car insurance claim is when the liability (or fault) for the accident lies completely with someone else. For example, if your car was stationary and another driver backed into it, then that driver was at fault.

After an accident, your insurance provider will try to recoup the costs of any repairs to your vehicle from the person whose fault it was. If they’re successful in getting back all of the costs, your claim will be recorded as a non-fault claim on your insurance history.

What’s an at-fault insurance claim?

If an accident is completely your fault, your claim will be recorded as an at-fault claim on your insurance history. 

Unfortunately, you’ll also be considered at fault if your insurance provider can’t find anyone else to blame for an accident you were involved in. So if your car is vandalised and the culprits aren’t caught or your insurance provider can’t recover all the costs associated with the repairs, you could find yourself footing the bill.

Am I covered if I get hit by an uninsured driver?

It depends, as not all insurance providers deal with claims against uninsured drivers in the same way.

If you have a fully comprehensive policy, it could include an uninsured driver promise that protects your no-claims discount and reimburses your excess.

If your cover is third-party only or third-party, fire and theft, you won’t be able to make a claim on your insurance. However, you can try and claim compensation through the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB). The MIB is a non-profit organisation working in partnership with the police and DVLA to tackle uninsured driving and help those affected by this crime.

Did you know?

The Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB) estimates that uninsured drivers cost the insurance industry nearly £500 million each year. That cost is added to the premiums of honest, law-abiding motorists, pushing up the price of UK car insurance every single year.

Will making a claim affect my no claims discount (NCD)?

If you’ve protected your no claims discount (NCD), then making a claim shouldn’t affect the number of years that contribute to your NCD.

But if you’ve had an accident, the basic cost of your premium is likely to go up. So although your NCD remains the same, it’s applied after your premium is calculated, resulting in an overall increase.

If you haven’t protected your NCD, making an at-fault claim for an accident will almost certainly affect your NCD years.

Do I need to tell an insurance provider about previous car accidents?

Yes. When you apply for car insurance, you’re expected to disclose details of all previous vehicle accidents you’ve been involved in as a driver in the past five years, even if they weren’t your fault or no claim was made.

This includes accidents in all vehicles, from cars to motorbikes, trucks to vans and everything in between. You’ll also need to mention if you’ve been involved in any accidents while driving a company car.

Honesty is always the best policy and will give you the best chance of being able to claim in future if you have an accident. Failing to tell your insurance provider about previous accidents is known as non-disclosure and could invalidate your cover.

What will happen if I don’t inform my insurance provider about an accident?

Insurance providers carry out cross-reference checks between different vehicle insurance databases, including the Claims and Underwriting Exchange (CUE), so they’ll see anything you have or haven’t disclosed.

If you fail to tell your insurance provider about an accident, your policy could be declared void and invalidated, leaving you without cover.

What can I do if my insurance claim is declined because of non-disclosure?

Your first step should be to make a formal complaint if you believe your insurance provider has acted unreasonably in rejecting a claim on the grounds of non-disclosure.

If you’re not happy with the outcome of your complaint and you want to take it further, you can then refer your case to the independent Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS).

You must make the referral to the FOS within six months of the date the insurance provider sends you its final decision letter.

The FOS will consider whether the insurance provider was right to reject your complaint. Its services are free and insurance providers are legally bound to accept any decision it makes.

So, if the FOS finds in your favour, it will instruct the insurance provider to pay your claim and may also award you an extra payment for interest on the value of the claim.

The FOS may not uphold your complaint if it feels you deliberately failed to disclose an incident or where it’s extremely unlikely that you overlooked the relevant information. In this case, you won’t get any money back from your car insurance claim.

How to lower your car insurance premium after an accident

While you should expect to pay more for your car insurance after an accident, there are some ways to help lower the cost of your premium.

  • Consider buying a less powerful car – economical cars with a smaller engine size tend to be in the lowest car insurance groups and are typically cheaper to insure.
  • Reduce your annual mileage – limiting the number of miles you drive could reduce your risk of having another accident, and it could lower your premium.
  • Consider a black box policy – a small telematics device installed in your car can show insurance providers how you’re driving. If you drive safely, you may be rewarded with a cheaper premium.
  • Add a named driver – if someone with experience and a clean driving record is willing to drive your car occasionally, it could help to bring down the cost of your premium.
  • Shop around – comparing quotes from a range of different providers is one of the best ways to find a cheaper car insurance deal.

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Frequently asked questions

How many years will a claim affect my insurance for?

Insurance providers will want to know about any claims you’ve made within the last five years.

Do I need to tell my partner’s insurance provider if I’m a named driver on their policy and I make a claim on my own insurance?

It’s probably best to check with their insurance provider. If you’re a named driver on your partner’s policy, it could affect the cost of their premium too. But it’s always best to be honest.

Do I need to tell my insurance provider if I have an accident in a company or rental car?

Yes, you should. Even if don’t own the car yourself, not saying anything just to protect your no-claims bonus could be viewed as non-disclosure. If your insurance provider finds out you’ve withheld information, they could cancel your policy, and it will be harder to find insurance in the future.

How do I check my car insurance claims history?

The quickest way to find out your claims history is to contact your insurance provider.

You can also request information about your claims history held on the CUE database at the MIB website. Just be aware that requests can take up to a month, so try your insurance provider first.

Do I still need to pay the excess if an accident wasn’t my fault?

In most cases, yes, you’ll still need to pay the excess if you make a claim – even if it wasn’t your fault. However, some providers might waive the excess if the third party admits liability or if you’re hit by an uninsured driver.

Check your policy to be sure.

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