Our guide explains how a previous claim can affect the price of your car insurance premiums.
Car insurance can be a minefield for drivers who have previously made a claim on their insurance. Read on and find out how to save on your car insurance if you have a claims history.
Not all car insurance claims are the same
When it comes to car insurance, every claim is unique. However, most drivers who have made a claim will have one thing in common — their car insurance premiums will be affected.
Claims can range from very minor (e.g. a broken wing mirror or dented bumper) to very serious (written-off vehicles and fatalities). These have different costs for the insurer, so will have differing effects on your car insurance premiums in the future.
In terms of the impact on your car insurance premium, the main deciding factor will be whether you’re deemed to have a “fault” or “non-fault” claim. Simply put, your insurer will consider the circumstances of your claim and determine whether you were to blame, but this will be more complex if your car was broken into or vandalised, for example.
How will a previous claim affect the price of my car insurance?
In most cases when you make a claim on your car insurance, you will lose some or all of the no claims discount you’ve accrued (many insurers will reduce your no claims by two years for each incident).
You may even lose your no claims discount where you are not to blame — for example if you were hit by an uninsured driver or your car was vandalised, as your insurer will be unable to recover its costs from the guilty party. It’s important to remember it’s a no claims discount, not a no blame discount, and it’s earned for every year you drive without making a claim.
Fortunately more insurers are introducing uninsured driver clauses, meaning your no claims bonus is protected in the event you are hit by a driver without insurance. You can also pay to protect your no claims bonus so it will stay in place even if you make an at-fault claim. However, your insurance premium could still go up even if your no claims bonus remains intact. Insurers will calculate your premium based on your risk profile, and any no claims discount will be applied to that amount.
Depending on the insurer, you will be asked to state whether you have made any claims in the last three to five years. You are likely to notice the biggest price rise in the first year after making a claim, as you will have started to rebuild your no claims discount in the following years.
How to save money on car insurance if you have previous claims
There are many things you can do to reduce the cost of your car insurance if you’ve previously made a claim. You can reduce your premium by raising your voluntary excess (but make sure you can afford the payment if you need to make another claim), or keeping your car in a more secure place. You could even trade in your car for a one in a lower insurance group.
You might also consider a telematics box, which adjusts your insurance premium based on how carefully you drive. Many young drivers can benefit from it, but it’s also proving popular with drivers with previous claims as they rebuild their no claims bonus.
If you get an initial car insurance quote online, be sure to call the insurer to discuss the details of your previous claim. Some insurance providers may be willing to reconsider your premium in light of any additional information you can give them.
And as ever, shopping around for car insurance quotes is likely to get you the best deal. Get a quick car insurance quote using the tool below: