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Car insurance for drivers with previous claims

We explain how a previous claim can affect the price of your car insurance.
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Car insurance for drivers with previous claimsCar insurance for drivers with previous claims

Will a previous claim increase my car insurance?

When it comes to car insurance, every claim is unique. However, most drivers who have made a claim have one thing in common — their car insurance premiums will be affected.

Claims can range from very minor, such as a broken wing mirror or dented bumper, to very serious, such as a vehicle being written-off and fatalities. 

Different claims involve different costs, so these costs will determine what happens to the price of your future car insurance premiums.

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Car insurance claims - fault versus no-fault claims

In terms of the impact on your car insurance premium, the deciding factor will be whether you’re deemed to have a "fault” or "no-fault” claim. 

This means your insurer will consider the circumstances of your claim and determine whether you were to blame.

This is not always clear cut, for example: if your car was broken into or vandalised.

For more information on the different types of car insurance claim, read our guides on car insurance for at-fault claims and car insurance for no-fault claims.

Car insurance for drivers with previous claims

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 built up, and 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. This will be because your insurer will be unable to recover its costs from the guilty party. 

No claim, not no blame

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 regardless of whose fault the accident was.

What happens if I have to claim because of an uninsured driver?

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 can I save money on my car insurance if I have previous claims?

There are several steps that can be taken to  reduce the cost of car insurance for drivers with claims. These include: 

  • Raise your voluntary excess - the higher it is, the lower your premiums will be, but make sure you can afford the payment if you need to make another claim

  • Keep your car in a more secure place, such as a driveway or garage

  • Consider a cheaper car - perhaps trade in your car for a one in a lower insurance group

  • Consider a telematics box - also known as a black box. This will adjust your insurance premium based on how carefully you drive. 

How long does a claim affect my car insurance? 

How long a previous claim impacts your cover will depend on the insurer. 

Most insurers will ask about any claims and accidents you've had over the past five years, and any claims made before this time won’t affect your premiums. 

Others, however, will only want to know about your three-year accident history. That means they will only look back three years for car insurance claims and any made before that won’t be factored into your insurance costs. 

Remember that it’s crucial to be honest about any previous claims. If you’re not and your insurer later finds out, your policy could be invalidated and any future claims rejected. 

How can I check my claims history?

Under GDPR regulation, you check your claims history via the Claims and Underwriting Exchange (CUE). 

This is the central database of all motor, home, personal injury and industrial illness incidents reported by insurers in the UK. This data is held for six years from the date the claim was closed.

To access this information, you’ll need to head to the Motor Insurers Bureau website and complete a Subject Access Request form. 

What to do when renewing your insurance after making a claim

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. 

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