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Will a non-fault accident affect my insurance?

If you’re involved in an accident that wasn’t your fault, you might assume that your insurance costs won’t be affected. After all, it wasn’t your fault a careless driver ran the red light and wrecked your car.

But unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way and accidents in which you’re blameless can have an impact on your car insurance premiums in the future.

First, you need to understand the difference between non-fault and at-fault claims. At-fault claims are claims in which you accept - or are found to hold - at least partial responsibility for the event.

Non-fault claims are filed when you’re not to blame for the accident and, crucially, your insurer was able to recover the total cost of the claim from the person whose fault it was. If your vehicle is struck in a hit-and-run, by an uninsured driver, or by a wild animal and your insurer can’t recoup the costs of the claim, you’ll become liable and the claim may be classed as at-fault. That’s how a non-fault accident can lead to an at-fault claim.

At-fault claims result in the biggest hit on your car insurance costs. You’ll usually see your claims rise 30-50% at renewal and also lose your no-claims discount. 

However, non-fault claims can also impact your insurance costs. At first, this might not make sense: you’re a safe driver who was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. But insurers have found that drivers who make one non-fault claim are more likely to make another.

This may be because that wrong place at the wrong time is a busy junction during rush hour and it’s part of your commute. Or maybe it’s your work car park, where your parked vehicle was rear-ended or stolen. Either way, your driving habits are putting you in places where insurable events are happening, even if they’re not your fault.

Insurers will therefore likely increase your premiums following a non-fault accident, although not by as much as they would after an at-fault claim. But fortunately, most insurers will let you keep your no-claims discount following a non-fault claim.

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