Last updated: 27/08/2021 | Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes
If you're involved in a car accident that's not your fault, you need to let your insurer know, even though you're not liable for the damage caused.
Read this guide to find out exactly what you do need to to in the event of a non-fault accident, and what you can expect from your insurance.
In This Guide:
- What is a non-fault claim?
- How can I tell who is to blame for an accident?
- Do I have to declare a non-fault claim?
- How does declaring a non-fault claim affect my premium?
- Should I tell my insurance company about a non-fault accident?
- How do non-fault claims work?
What is a non-fault claim?
You can make a non-fault claim when you're involved in a car accident that another driver is to blame for. In such cases, the other drivers' insurance will pay out for any repairs that need to be made to your vehicle.
How can I tell who is to blame for an accident?
Identifying the at fault party in the event of an accident is ultimately the responsibility of the insurance companies covering the drivers involved. In some cases, it will be pretty obvious that you're not to blame - if a car shunts into the back of yours, for example, or otherwise breaks a road traffic law - but in other cases it might be a bit trickier to work out.
Do I have to declare a non-fault claim?
If you've been involved in an incident that wasn't your fault, you must still declare it to your automotive insurance provider. That remains the case even if the other driver offers to pay for the damage themselves, rather than going through their insurer. Check out our guide to making a car insurance claim for full details of the process.
What if there's no identifiable third party?
It's possible to be involved in an accident that's not your fault, and still have to register an at-fault claim. If no third party can be identified - if an animal runs into the road and hits your car, for example - this would count as an at-fault claim.
How does declaring a non-fault claim affect my premium?
Ideally, when another party is at fault, they or their insurance company pay for any damages. However, animals and objects can also be the cause of vehicle damage, and unfortunately when this happens you become liable and claims are assessed as at-fault. This will increase your premium.
Yet even simply declaring – not claiming – the non-fault incident can still push up your premium when you come to renew. That's because your insurer may deem the circumstances in which it arose likely to happen again, for example, parking your vehicle on a busy street.
Should I tell my insurance company about a non-fault accident?
With the potential for a premium increase if you report a non-fault claim, any reluctance to do so is understandable. Why notify your insurer about something that wasn't your fault and could be settled externally, when doing so will ultimately cost you money?
The simple answer is that it can result in you invalidating your policy. When agreeing your car insurance policy, there will likely be a clause that requires you to inform your provider of any non-fault incidents or accidents. Therefore, not doing so could be considered a breach of contract, resulting in you losing your cover and all no claims bonuses you have accrued.
How do non-fault claims work?
When you make a claim, it's first considered to be an at-fault claim by your insurer until any and all evidence is investigated – that's the standard claims process. If your premium is due for renewal during this period, you may see an increase to reflect this.
Once your claim is determined to be non-fault, your premium should be reduced and you'll be refunded any money owed.
You may also be required to pay excess in the interim for any damages. Once your claim is determined to be non-fault, you should be able to recover this cost from your insurer.