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How does a non-fault claim affect your insurance?

Written by Kasey Cassells, Senior content editor

Edited by Samantha Downes, Finance Writer, 24 September 2020

Find out what happens to your insurance if you have an accident that’s not your fault

Car insurance for drivers with non-fault claims

About non-fault claims

Not all car insurance claims are the same — if you've had an accident that wasn’t your fault, this could be considered a non-fault claim. 

Non-fault claims are handled differently to other car insurance claims.

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What is a non-fault claim?

A non-fault claim usually occurs where another driver is involved and has complete liability for the incident, for example, they pulled out at a junction and hit your car, or they hit you from behind while your car was waiting at traffic lights

In a non-fault claim, your insurer will attempt to recover any repair/replacement costs from the other driver’s insurance company.

But when your insurer can’t recover the costs from the guilty party, for example in the case of vandalism or a hit and run accident, these may be considered as fault claims even though you were not to blame for the incident.

How will a non-fault claim affect my car insurance?

In many cases a non-fault claim will increase the cost of your car insurance, but it shouldn’t have as much of an effect as an at-fault claim. If you make a non-fault claim, it’s possible you’ll lose some or all of any no-claims discount you’ve accrued over the years. if you have chosen to protect your no-claims bonus it won’t be affected.

How can I keep my no-claims bonus?

It may come as a surprise that you’d lose your no-claims discount for an incident that wasn’t your fault

  • but it’s important to remember it’s a no-claims discount, not a no-blame discount

  • insurers have found that drivers with non-fault claims are more likely to have an at-fault claim in the future

  • some insurers may increase your premium to reflect this increased risk

Will a non-fault claim make my insurance more expensive?

If you do lose some or all of your no-claims bonus, you will notice an increase in your car insurance premiums:

  • some providers can raise your premiums by up to 30% for one non-fault claim, and 50% for two non-fault claims

  • insurers will usually ask for your claims history 

  • this can be for around three to five years

  • but your claim will have less of an impact as time goes on and you start to rebuild your no-claims bonus

Do I have to declare a non-fault claim? 

Yes you must declare a no-fault accident, even if the other driver offers to pay for any damage in full. If you switch car insurance providers you will be asked your claims history.

What happens if my policy renews while I make a non-fault claim?

Car insurance claims can take a couple of months to process. Before your claim is settled, you will be considered to be at fault as your insurer may still be investigating the circumstances.

  • if your claim is still pending when you need to renew, you may find that your quote is higher as you have an at-fault claim on your record

  • once the claim has been settled and it’s confirmed you were not at fault, you can contact your provider and they should adjust your premium

Do I have to pay an excess for a car accident that isn’t my fault?

Yes, you may need to claim this back from the insurance company of the driver who caused the accident once the claim is settled, if you don’t have legal expenses cover to pay this for you. 

  • if you have trouble getting your money back, you can take the insurance company or driver to court

  • if your insurance company have dealt with the claim, they should claim the excess back for you

  • if you have a no-fault accident, a credit hire company can also make a claim on your behalf

Case study: Isabella, 45, Cambridge

In December 2018 I was driving home from London in the dark when my car hit something. Within a mile my oil was leaking and I realised there had been some serious damage to my car.

I had to call my insurance company’s breakdown cover to come and pick up myself and my then four year-old daughter.

We went back to the scene of the accident and found that I had gone over the base of a bollard, the bollard itself had obviously been damaged and removed otherwise I would have seen it. My husband Andrew and I could see other cars had suffered the same fate.

I called my insurance company who suggested I make a register claim with the local authority who manages the roads.

We took pictures of the site and explained what must have happened.

It’s taken two years to get my money back and get my premium reduced back to the same level. In the meantime I got a new car, and had to insure that. Even though it was a smaller car with a much smaller engine I paid £15 more a month in premiums. So £55 instead of £40 previously.

Doing the claim was worth it as I was able to get my insurer to reduce that premium, giving me back £180 a year.

How to save money on car insurance if you've made a non-fault claim

If you’ve made a non-fault claim, there are general measures you can take to reduce the cost of your car insurance when it’s time to renew your policy.

These include:

  • raising your voluntary excess

  • adding a named driver

  • or swapping your car for one in a lower insurance group

Protect your no-claims bonus

If you’ve lost some or all of your no-claims bonus as a result of a non-fault claim, consider protecting it when you take out a new policy.

  • this will prevent you from losing any no-claims discount you accrue in the future if you need to make another claim

  • remember to shop around for the best car insurance quotes

Use a credit hire company

A credit hire company pays for the cost of you hiring a replacement vehicle while yours is being fixed and pays for the cost of repairs. 

The company then claims back these costs from the insurance company of the other driver who is at fault.

Using a credit hire company means:

  • you won’t have the pay the excess on your policy

  • they liaise with your insurance company and give you replacement transport

  • they may also offer services to organise repairs and help with claiming compensation for other injuries or losses because of the accident

How to use a credit hire company after a no-fault claim

Your insurance company will need to know about the accident for their information, even if you don’t claim through them. 

The credit hire company may offer to contact your insurance company for you, or ask you to let them know.

  • make sure you check the small print before signing up to use a credit hire company. 

  • some credit hire companies may also ask for a small payment as an insurance policy which guarantees you won’t end up paying the bill if the insurance company of the other driver doesn’t pay up

  • if you’re not sure about using a credit hire company, and the other driver has admitted the accident is their fault, you can ask their insurance company to arrange car hire and repairs

  • you may be referred to a credit hire company by your insurance company or garage

  • you can also find out about credit hire companies from the Credit Hire Organisation website: www.thecho.co.uk

How to save on your car insurance if you’ve had a no-fault claim

Be experienced

Experienced drivers and have a good driving record can still get a good deal on their insurance. If you are not an experienced driver you can cut car insurance costs by adding a named driver who is older and more experienced to the policy. 

Taking a Pass Plus course if you are a new driver may also reduce your premiums but you will need to check with the insurer first.

The type of car you drive

Having a car with is the type of car you drive, with the car’s speed, security features, and value all playing a big part in increasing the cost of your insurance.

Increase your voluntary excess 

This will result in a cheaper monthly premium. Before you take out car insurance make sure you can afford any voluntary excess. This excess is in addition to the compulsory excess set by your insurance provider. This is what you would have to pay if you ever have to claim. Pay upfront 

Pay for your insurance in one go if you can. Spreading the cost of your car insurance over 12  monthly payments may seem cheaper but remember you will be paying interest on top of the amount you pay towards your car insurance premium.    Drive less

Limiting your miles makes you less of an insurance risk. Simply because you are reducing your risk of having an accident. When you take out your car insurance policy the insurer always asks for an estimate of your maximum annual mileage. You need to try and you’re your mileage low, although you need to be realistic as to how much you will drive. Extra security

Having an alarm or immobiliser is considered a theft deterrent and by deterring car thieves you can reduce your car insurance. Not all insurers will offer this, so check first.

Consider black box or telematics insurance 

Black box, or telematics, insurance can help reduce your car insurance over a period of time. 

A small device, the black box is installed in your car. 

  • this then measures how fast you driver, when you brake, what time of day you drive how fast you accelerate and how you drive around corners

  • some black boxes include an app which you can access on your phone

  • if you drive safely you may be rewarded with cheaper monthly premiums

Reduce the cost of car insurance when you don’t own a car

You don’t need to own car to get car insurance. Unlike a full car insurance policy you won’t build up a no claims bonus, but it does mean you can drive someone else’s car, as long as you have their permission. If you are only planning on borrowing a car you can also compare quotes for short-term or temporary car insurance

If you are needing to insure several cars search multi-car insurance policies.

Multi insurance might also be suitable:

  • if you own more than one car

  • if you’re a family with more than one driver

  • if you’re a couple with more than one vehicle 

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