Your cookie preferences

We use cookies and similar technologies. You can use the settings below to accept all cookies (which we recommend to give you the best experience) or to enable specific categories of cookies as explained below. Find out more by reading our Cookie Policy.

Select cookie preferences

Skip to main content

Car insurance for drivers with at-fault insurance claims

If you have to make a claim on your car insurance, the impact on your future premiums will partly depend on whether your claim was considered to be your fault. Find out more about at-fault car insurance claims and the effects they can have on your insurance over the next few years.
Share this guide

Get a car insurance quote

See a range of car insurance quotes in just a few minutes when you compare with Uswitch

What is an at-fault car insurance claim?

Sometimes there is no avoiding the fact an accident was your fault. If you hit another driver from behind or hit a stationary object, it’s hard to argue that you were not to blame.

But – perhaps confusingly – fault is not always the same as blame. Even in an incident where you are not to blame, such as if somebody vandalises your car or you’re hit by an uninsured driver, your insurer might treat your claim as an at-fault one.

This is because they will be unable to recover their costs from the guilty party.

If you are deemed to be the at-fault driver, this will be noted on your claim.

How does an at-fault claim affect car insurance costs?

At-fault claims tend to affect insurance premiums more than non-fault claims, as drivers with at-fault claims are statistically more likely to make future claims.

Each case is different, and it depends on factors such as the size of any claim and whether you have a protected no-claims bonus. B ut you might find your premiums initially rise by as much as 50% when you come to renew your annual insurance policy.

You’ll need to declare your claim every time you renew your insurance for up to the next 5 years, depending on your insurer, although your premiums might fall again each year unless you make another claim.

How can I save money on my car insurance if I have an at-fault claim?

Although car insurance premiums tend to rise following an at-fault claim, you can mitigate the price increase by taking a few basic steps.

Compare insurers to see if there’s another provider who can offer you a cheaper deal than your renewal quote.

You could also consider switching to a black-box (or telematics) insurance policy, which will reward you for careful driving by cutting premiums.

Reducing the distance you drive each year can also cut your costs, as fewer miles means less chance of an accident, which means your insurer will consider you to be less of a risk.

If you are an inexperienced or young driver, consider adding a more experienced, safe driver to your policy as this can also bring down the annual cost of your car insurance.

How long will an at-fault claim affect my insurance for?

When you apply for a quote from an insurer, you should expect to be asked for details of any previous claims you’ve made within the past 5 years – although some insurers are interested in a shorter claims history.

How do insurers decide who is at fault?

Insurers will investigate each claim.

If it’s clear that another party was at fault – for example, they drove into the back of your car while you were waiting at a traffic light – they will be deemed to be at-fault and you won’t have an at-fault claim on your insurance file (unless the other driver was uninsured).

But if all or some of the incident that led to the claim was down to you – for example, you were driving too fast or drove into a lamppost – your insurer will consider your claim to be an at-fault one.

It will also be considered an at-fault claim if your insurer cannot recover any money from the person who caused the claim – if your claim is a result of vandalism, for example.

Do you lose your no-claims bonus if you’re at fault?

It depends on whether your no-claims bonus is protected or not.

If you pay to protect it, it shouldn’t be affected by an at-fault claim (although you should still expect your premiums to rise).

But if you hadn’t protected your no-claims bonus, you’ll lose it next time you renew your insurance policy, and you’ll have to build it up again over the next few years.

Read more:

Car overturned, emergency services

How to make a car insurance claim - Uswitch

How do you make a car insurance claim if you have an accident? Find out how long you have to make the claim, what the process is and more here.

Learn more
Car accident two men on their phones

Car insurance for drivers with previous claims - Uswitch

Car insurance can be more expensive for drivers with previous claims. Read our guide for tips on reducing your car insurance costs if you've made a claim.

Learn more

No claims bonus explained - Uswitch

A no-claims bonus can mean a big discount on your car insurance. Find out how a no claims bonus works and how you can protect it in the event of a claim.

Learn more