Will my car insurance go up after an accident?

First comes the crunch and the realisation, then the check that everyone’s OK. But after you’ve had a car accident, attention quickly turns to insurance - and not just the awkward swapping of details. Unfortunately, you can’t assume that there’ll be no impact on next year’s premium if the accident wasn’t your fault. Here’s our guide to what you need to know.

First comes the crunch and the realisation, then the check that everyone’s OK. But after you’ve had a car accident, attention quickly turns to insurance - and not just the awkward swapping of details. Unfortunately, you can’t assume that there’ll be no impact on next year’s premium if the accident wasn’t your fault. Here’s our guide to what you need to know.

Kate Hughes
Insurance expert
4
minute read
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Last Updated 11 FEBRUARY 2022

Will my car insurance increase after an accident?

The short answer unfortunately is yes. Regardless of whose fault it 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. 

Even if you don’t make a claim after an accident, you could still see an increase in your insurance premium. 

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. So 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 claim is when the liability (or fault) 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. 

But an at-fault claim could also be attributed to you if your insurance provider can’t find anyone else to blame for an accident that 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?

Be warned, if you’re involved in an accident with an uninsured driver, your insurance provider may deal with the cost of the damage and the impact on your premiums differently to other providers. 

If you have a 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 fire and theft, not only could you face a bill for the damage to your car - no matter who’s fault it was - you may also lose your no claims discount.  

But not all insurance providers deal with these circumstances in the same way, and there are more uninsured drivers out there than you might think. In fact, because uninsured drivers cost the industry hundreds of millions of pounds each year, that cost is already being passed on to policyholders - adding more than £30 a year to every premium. But help is at hand. Here’s our all-important guide to making car insurance claims against uninsured drivers

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

If you’ve protected your no claims discount, 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 discount 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 all vehicle accidents 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. 

You’ll have to tell your insurance provider about these accidents even if you didn’t make an insurance claim at the time, or if you weren’t at fault in any way. 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 do so is known as non-disclosure.

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 it’s highly likely that any non-disclosure will be identified. If you fail to tell your insurance provider about an accident, your policy could be declared void and invalidated.

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 they decline your complaint, you can then refer it to the independent Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS). 

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

The FOS will consider whether the insurance provider was right to reject your complaint. Its services are free and any decisions it makes are legally binding on a company. 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 that you deliberately failed to disclose an incident or where it’s extremely unlikely that you overlooked the relevant information. 

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If you’re concerned about the cost of your insurance increasing after an accident, it pays to shop around

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