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Will a non-fault accident affect my insurance?

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If you’ve been involved in an accident that wasn’t your fault, you may be familiar with the non-fault claims process. While it’s fair to assume that your future car insurance won’t be affected by such a claim, this is not necessarily the case. This guide outlines everything you need to know about non-fault claims, including hints and tips on how you can still get a cheap car insurance quote.

What are non-fault claims and when would you make them?

In terms of responsibility and legal liability, insurance claims are classified as being either ‘non-fault’ or ‘fault’.

A fault claim is one in which your insurance provider has made a payout in response to your insurance claim. Contrary to the name, this type of claim does not necessarily mean that the accident was your fault. If the accident was due to circumstances out of your control, such as a wild animal or a hit-and-run driver for example, the insurance claim is still classed as a fault claim.

A non-fault claim is one in which your insurance provider has recovered all costs associated with your insurance claim from a third party. The third party will have taken full financial responsibility and your insurance provider is not out of pocket. A typical example of this is when the other driver in a car accident accepts responsibility and their insurer pays for all damages.

You must declare all accidents that you have been involved in to your insurer. You must do this irrespective of whether or not they become fault or non-fault claims. Failure to do so could invalidate your insurance.

Any pending insurance claim at the point of application or renewal will be classed as a fault claim. This claim will be reclassified as a non-fault claim once all the costs have been fully recovered.

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Will a non-fault accident affect my insurance premium?

Any non-fault and fault claim made by you will be recorded as part of your claims history. It seems unfair, but in many cases, premiums do increase, even after a non-fault claim. This is because your insurance provider will see you as a higher risk going forwards, even if you were not at fault. In addition, insurers have found that drivers that have made a non-fault claim are more likely to make another.

Unfortunately, it is also likely that you will lose your no claims bonus if you make a non-fault claim. This is because, strictly speaking, you have made a claim, even if the claim results in a payment from a third party.

How can I be certain who is at fault for an accident?

When you make a claim following an accident, your insurance provider will ask for a comprehensive list of details as part of the claims process. These details will allow the insurer to make a decision on the size of the claim and who is responsible.

Insurance investigators will use evidence from a number of different sources. Typical sources and things you can do to assist in the investigation are listed below:

  • Police and medical reports (where applicable): You should make a note of any laws broken that could have caused the accident, such as someone breaking the speed limit. Take photographs of any injuries you sustained as a result of the accident if you can.
  • CCTV and dashboard cameras: Save all your dashcam footage if you have one, it will give your insurers a view of the events from your perspective.
  • Statements from any eye witnesses: If possible, get eye witness statements from anyone that saw the accident. Don’t forget to get contact details, since your insurer might need to contact them.
  • Photographs: Take photographs of any damage caused as a result of the accident. This includes damage to vehicles, trees or street furniture and skid marks on the road.

Following an investigation, the insurer will come back with a decision regarding who is at fault. If you disagree with the decision, you can submit an objection in writing. If you are still unhappy, you can file a complaint with the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS).

Will my type of insurance affect my non-fault claim?

If you have an accident and your insurer decides that you are not at fault, then you will be covered, as long as you have at least third party insurance (the legal minimum requirement in the UK). However, if your insurer decides that you are at fault, then you will need fully comprehensive cover to make a full claim on behalf of the third party and yourself.

If your insurer decides that you are at fault and you only have third party insurance, you can try and claim compensation through the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB). This is a non-profit organisation working in partnership with the police and the DVLA in an attempt to reduce and minimise the damage caused by uninsured drivers.

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Can I save money on my car insurance after an accident?

Just because you were involved in an accident, doesn’t mean you can’t get a good deal on your car insurance. There are some steps you can take to reduce your insurance premiums following an accident. 

Think twice before making another claim

If you are involved in an accident and the damage is relatively minor, it’s probably better if you pay for the cost of repairs out of your own pocket. Remember that you will have to pay your voluntary excess in any case, so it’s probably worth getting a quote for the repairs first so you can work out the potential payout before making a claim. 

This may seem like it defeats the object of having insurance in the first place, but it may be better to treat your insurance policy as protection against a major accident rather than a go-to solution for minor damage.

Be aware that you have to tell your insurer if you’ve been involved in an accident, even if you don’t intend on making a claim. The reason being that if a third party is involved, this will prevent them from attempting to settle with your insurance provider without your knowledge.

Trade down your vehicle

If your existing car is classified in a high insurance group, trading down to a lower insurance group could make a big difference to your insurance premium.

Making a decision to trade down could result in a substantial cost saving in other ways too, since cars in the lower insurance groups tend to be cheaper to buy, more economical to run and cheaper to maintain.

Choose a vehicle with safety features

Vehicles with safety features tend to be classified in the lower insurance groups and are therefore cheaper to insure. Such features include airbags, Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB), Anti-lock Braking Systems (ABS), electronic stability control, adaptive headlights and traction control.

Avoid unnecessary vehicle modifications

Modifications and upgrades, including alloy wheels, spoilers, body kits and upgraded headlights, should be avoided. They are costly to replace and make your car a more attractive proposition for potential thieves.

Secure your vehicle

Theft is one of the main reasons for an insurance claim. It is therefore worth fitting built-in security features which reduce the chance of falling prey to car thieves. Consider devices such as a car alarm, high security door locks,  immobilisers and locking wheel nuts.

Amy Reeves


Amy is a seasoned writer and editor with a special interest in home design, sustainable technology and green building methods.

She has interviewed hundreds of self-builders, extenders and renovators about their journeys towards individual, well-considered homes, as well as architects and industry experts during her five years working as Assistant Editor at Homebuilding & Renovating, part of Future plc.

Amy’s work covers topics ranging from home, interior and garden design to DIY step-by-steps, planning permission and build costs, and has been published in Period Living, Real Homes, and 25 Beautiful Homes, Homes and Gardens.

Now an Editor at the Independent Advisor, Amy manages homes-related content for the site, including solar panels, combi boilers, and windows.

Her passion for saving tired and inefficient homes also extends to her own life; Amy completed a renovation of a mid-century house in 2022 and is about to embark on an energy-efficient overhaul of a 1800s cottage in Somerset.