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Is it worth making a claim on my car insurance?

Read our guide to help you decide whether this is the best decision to take.

Last updated: 03/09/2021 | Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes

Whether to claim on your car insurance or not isn’t always a clear-cut decision. While repair costs are a driving factor, you shouldn’t disregard the impact claiming could have on your future premiums. To help you decide, we’ve concentrated all our advice into this neat little guide.

In This Guide:

How does claiming affect my premium?

If you need to make a claim on your car insurance, in almost every instance it’ll affect your premium.

This is the case whether you were at fault or not, although non-fault claims will see smaller increases.

The only exception may be if you’ve had to claim on your windscreen or lost keys, as these are often regarded as separate from your main policy, but it will depend on your insurer’s terms.

Is my premium affected even if I don’t make a claim?

Even if you don’t make a claim, you could well see your premium rise. This is because any driving event moulds your risk profile.

As a result, insurers will think you’re more likely to be involved in another incident further down the line – even if you’re not requesting a pay-out!

But what if it’s just a minor bump or scrape? Could it be worth just not telling the company you insure your vehicle with in order to avoid losing access to cheap car insurance deals in the future? We’d recommend caution…

How can my insurance provider find out?

Imagine a scenario: you’re reversing out of a parking spot and have a minor scrape with your neighbour. It should cost very little to fix (it’s just a small scratch, after all!) so you can just swap contact details and agree you’ll pay for the damage.

Surely the insurer will never know? 

In a way, you’re right. But there are two things to be concerned with here.

First, the other party may call their own insurance provider who in turn will get in touch with yours to settle and discuss. Therefore, it’s likely they’ll find out anyway so you ought to be the one to tell them.  

But secondly, and more significantly, car insurance contracts are essentially bound by honesty. The trade-off is your insurer will pay out provided you’ve given them an accurate representation of yourself – that includes the bad as well as the good.

If you choose not to disclose information, you risk invalidating your insurance policy altogether. Better safe than sorry!

It’s worth knowing that while you should notify your insurer of any incident in which you’re involved, you’re not obliged to make a claim for it.

Considerations Before Claiming

If you’re wondering when you should claim on your car insurance, mull over the following:

  1. Do you have a No Claims Discount you risk losing? Weigh up how much you currently save on your premiums by having your no-claims bonus and calculate whether it’s worth it.
  2. Take a look at your excess. One way we get cheap car insurance is by increasing our voluntary excess, which is the sum we’re happy to contribute ourselves towards a claim. It may well be that repair costs are less than your excess, meaning you’ll have to pay for them anyway. In that case, you’ve made a claim (thus making you higher risk) but not received any financial benefit. When you compare car insurance deals you can filter results by voluntary excess, which is something to consider if your policy is up for renewal.
  3. Think about the hassle of claiming. Claims processes can be extensive and complicated, so you must decide whether doing so is of value.

Should I claim on my car insurance?

Refer to our list of considerations above to determine whether claiming is worth it, in terms of upfront cost as well as long-term impact on your ability to access the best car insurance premiums.

Should you choose not to claim, you should still contact your provider to let them know of any incidents, however stress that it’s for their information only.

Whether you choose to make a claim or not is ultimately up to you. Typically, it’ll depend on whether you can front the cost yourself without a pay-out from your provider.  

As an example, you may find a minor scratch or a broken window is cheaper to fix yourself, and preferable to an arduous claims process which may not be cost-effective.

How do I make a claim on my car insurance?

On the other hand, car theft or major collisions will almost always lead to a claim – it’s unavoidable.

If you need to make a claim, simply call your insurance provider to let them know.

Each provider will have their own process, but generally you’ll need to determine the nature of the incident – which might be theft, collision or personal injury to name a few – and supply details, including any other parties is involved.

Bear in mind, too, that the terms and conditions of your policy will specify if you have a set period in which to make a claim, and each policy will be different.

For more information on this, read our guide on making a claim on your insurance.

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