What do you do about vehicle insurance if the accident wasn’t your fault?

  • It's easy to assume that, when your vehicle has been damaged in an accident, getting a payout from insurance would be straightforward. After all, your insurer will have, at their disposal, a huge amount of information about you. With this information, they can assess how often you may need to claim and the type of claims you might make.

    However, the picture isn't always so clear-cut if you are involved in an accident and convinced that you weren't at fault for it. Here are examples of how the waters can be muddied.

    A question of... questions

    When you first applied for your insurance, the insurer probably asked you a broad array of questions. Those might have included not only relatively rudimentary queries, like about the type of car you have and the number of miles you drive, but also more obscure lines of questioning.

    For instance, your insurer may have sought to know your job and whether you have resided in your current country for your entire life. Insurers want an accurate picture of how careful a driver you are - and, if someone else's recklessness leads you to suffer an accident, you might deem this not to reflect the standard of your own driving and so not produce any hike in your premiums.

    Where an accident could be your fault after all

    Unfortunately, though, insurers can actually frown upon policyholders who have suffered such an accident, as they are statistically likelier to end up in another one. That's not merely speculation, but instead a fact, The Telegraph explains.

    The reason for this rather sobering fact is that, in most car accidents, there isn't just one person who is entirely at fault. Often, it would be more accurate to say that both parties were at fault, albeit probably to widely different degrees.

    Imagine that you have an accident and several witnesses testify that it was caused by the other driver. In that situation, their insurer and not yours would foot the bill. However, this might not leave your own driving record entirely unblemished in your insurer's eyes - especially if high-definition video footage of the incident shows you could have avoided it by driving more carefully.

    Can you save money by switching policy?

    Therefore, after a no-fault accident or at least what you thought was one, you probably shouldn't be surprised if, when the time comes for you to renew your insurance, your premiums would be higher for the coming year. If this happens, should you shop around for a different insurer?

    You could, but we have a word of warning if you are hoping to make big savings in doing so. All UK insurers have access to a database known as the Claims and Underwriting Exchange (CUE). Millions of consumer claims records are recorded here, and insurers use this system to set premiums.

    Depending on whether or not you claimed following a no-fault accident, your record on the CUE would be blighted with either a non-fault claim or notification, Mirror reports. Either of these would, with the majority of insurers, likely lead to your premiums being increased.

    Nonetheless, there at least remains the potential to make savings if you decide to look for a new policy. If you live in the UK, you can get valuable assistance from the insurance broker Call Wiser, which can take account of your specific needs as it compares policies from different insurers.

    The company might then provide a quote for a new policy for cheap car insurance with a no claims bonus. However, check the policy to discern how the bonus could be lost, advises This is MONEY.co.uk.

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