Car Insurance After an Accident or Claim

Will your car insurance go up after an accident?

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By Cai Bradley
Updated on Thursday 30 July 2020

Car damaged on a road

If you have a car accident, road traffic collision or make any sort of claim on your insurance policy, it’s highly likely that your premiums will rise when your renewal date comes around.

The calculation of your car insurance premiums is complex and it can sometimes be difficult to understand why they have increased or decreased. If you have an accident or make a claim, it’s important that you know what might happen to your insurance, why that is, and how you might be able to cut the cost of your premiums thereafter. 

Here, we explain everything you need to know about the impact an accident or claim can have on your car insurance.

The affect an accident has on your car insurance

If you have a car accident in the UK, it’s almost certain that your premiums will increase somewhat, regardless of whether or not you were the at-fault party.

How much your car insurance is affected depends on a variety of factors, including whether you caused the accident and the seriousness of it.

Both at-fault and non-fault accidents are likely to have an impact on your car insurance premiums, but accidents that were not your fault will usually have less of an impact on the cost of your cover, when compared to at-fault collisions.

Remember that you must declare all accidents to your insurance provider, so even if you don’t make a claim, your premiums may still increase.

Why being involved in an accident has an impact on the cost of your car insurance is quite simple – if you have an accident or make a claim (regardless of who was at-fault), statistics show that you are more likely to have another accident or make another claim in the future.

Insurers then deem you as a higher-risk policyholder as they are more likely to be required to provide you with a pay-out at some point down the line.

Non-fault claims

Non-fault claims refer to claims you make on your car insurance where you did not cause the accident.

Despite the accident not being your fault, your premiums could still increase after making a non-fault claim through your insurance company, as they will still see you as a higher risk.

At-fault claims

At-fault claims are car insurance claims made where you (the policyholder) caused the accident in question. This is likely to increase your premiums, as you were at-fault and show signs of being an unsafe driver.

In short, your car insurance premiums are likely to increase after a claim, irrespective of whether the accident was your fault or not, but how much they rise by depends on the type of accident it is.

How much will my car insurance go up after a claim in the UK?

How much your car insurance increases by after a car accident or claim depends on a range of factors, including (but not limited to):

  • The seriousness of the accident
  • The severity of its outcome
  • What or who caused the accident
  • Your driving history (previous accidents)

Generally speaking, the amount your car insurance rises after an accident can range from as little as a few pounds to as much as hundreds of pounds.

Your car insurance premiums could go up by as much as 20% to 40%, depending on the severity of the accident and its circumstances. However, less serious accidents could lead to an increase of just 5% or even less, especially if you were not at-fault, the damage was minimal and nobody was injured.

For example, a Which? study recently found that:

  • An at-fault claim where the policyholder collided with someone else’s car led to an average increase of 23% over three years.
  • A policyholder having a minor collision with their own wall resulted in a 20% increase over three years.
  • A third-party colliding with the policyholder’s car (causing no injury) only increased premiums by 6% over three years.

In the UK, at-fault accidents that result in a significant personal injury can increase car insurance premiums by as much as 40%.

Read more: Convicted Driver Insurance Explained

How much does a minor accident affect your car insurance?

The severity and type of accident you have – for example, an accident involving another vehicle resulting in bodily injury or a collision with a wall leading to only minor injuries – impacts how much your premiums will be affected when you make a claim.

Minor accidents shouldn’t have a significant impact on your car insurance premiums, but you may notice a slight increase if the insurer has had to provide a pay out to cover damages to your vehicle or any injuries, such as whiplash.

If you have a fully comprehensive policy and make a claim for something relatively insignificant like a damaged wing mirror, for example, the cost of your premiums may not increase at all.

On the contrary, accidents that result in serious injury or death will lead to the most drastic car insurance increases, for obvious reasons.

Ultimately, how much an accident affects your car insurance premiums depends on the provider and the circumstances surrounding the claim.

Why does your car insurance increase after an accident?

Once you have an accident, you are statistically more likely to be involved in another one in the future, which in turn leads to higher premiums.

You are reassessed by the insurer as a higher risk policyholder, you will no longer be eligible for safe driver discounts, and you may lose some – if not all – of your no-claims bonus.

Read more: Why Has My Car Insurance Gone Up?

Do you lose all of your no-claims bonus after an accident?

When you have an accident, you will usually lose some – if not all – of your no claims discount, as mentioned. How much your no-claims bonus is affected depends on a variety of factors, including the severity of the accident.

If you have protected your no-claims bonus with an additional insurance policy, it should not be affected if you have an accident or make a claim. There is, however, usually a maximum number of accidents that your no-claims bonus protection will cover, and the insurance will lapse if you exceed that limit.

Note that, even with a no-claims bonus protection policy in place, you may still see your overall car insurance premiums rise after an accident.

How long after a car accident can you claim on insurance?

If you have a car accident and want to claim on your insurance policy, you have up to three years after the accident has occurred, or up to three years after your injuries were discovered, to apply for compensation.

If you fail to make a claim within this timescale, it’s unlikely that your insurance provider will pay-out.

Can I get cheap car insurance after an accident?

While you may see a slight increase in your premiums after a car accident or claim, there are many ways to reduce the cost of cover, including:

Read more: How to Get Cheaper Car Insurance

Here at Compare UK Quotes, we are consistently providing articles and guides to help you get cheaper car insurance premiums in the UK.

Get a quote today by tapping the button above, or for more information on motor insurance and reducing the cost of your cover, check out our related guides:

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