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

Your car insurance can be a godsend if your vehicle is damaged in a traffic accident or stolen, covering its repair or replacement and getting you back on the road. But much will this affect your premiums in the future?

Unfortunately, a car insurance claim will have a lasting impact on your premiums, with insurers now viewing you as riskier to cover and your no-claims bonus reduced or wiped.

When you take out any new insurance policy or renew one, you’ll have to disclose if you’ve been involved in an accident or made a claim within the past few years (usually five), regardless of who was at fault in them.

If you have claimed on your car insurance, you can expect to pay 20% to 50% more for cover in the future. However, the amount varies depending on who is to blame for the claim, the severity and expense of the accident, and your overall driving record.

The claims with the largest impact on your future premiums at at-fault claims. These are accidents you’re responsible for and which cause damage to your vehicle and the vehicles and property of other people. Following one of these claims, insurers may suspect you’re a careless, or at least inattentive, driver and worry you’ll be involved in another costly collision.

However, your premiums will rise even if you’re the blameless victim of a collision or theft. This hardly seems fair, but insurers have found from their data that drivers who make non-fault claims are more likely to claim again in the future. A non-fault claim may not suggest you’re a poor driver but may indicate you’re on the road at times and in places where accidents are more likely, such as busy junctions at rush hour, or that you’re parking your vehicle somewhere it’s more likely to be struck or stolen.

Unfortunately, some claims in which you’re blameless can be recorded as at-fault claims if your insurer can’t recover costs from the guilty party. This may happen if your vehicle is struck by a driver who speeds off and can’t be traced or by a driver without insurance.

Part of the increase in your premiums following a claim will be from the loss of your no-claims discount. These are discounts you accumulate over years of claims-free driving. Typically, you’ll earn a 30% discount from one year without a claim and 60% for five years of clean driving. 

But fortunately, insurers typically won’t wipe your no-claims bonus for a non-fault claim and some promise to keep your discount intact if you’re involved in a collision with an uninsured or unknown driver and your claim was by default classified as ‘at-fault.’ 

You can also pay extra to protect your no-claims bonus and prevent a limited number of claims from affecting your no-claims bonus. The maximum is usually two or three claims over a three-year period. This protection will add around £60 to your annual insurance premiums so you’ll have to weigh how much you stand to lose from losing your no-claims discount.

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