Should you tell your insurer about a minor car accident?

Should i tell my insurer about a minor car accident?

YES! When it comes to car insurance, honesty is always the best policy and you should always tell your car insurer about any accident you have, no matter how big or small. This article will help you understand what to do if you have a minor car accident, and reveal how to minimise its impact on your premium. 

Highlights include:

What should you do after a minor car accident?

  1. Don't admit it was your fault (not at the scene anyway).
  2. Note the exact date and time of the accident.
  3. Get the name, address, vehicle registration number and insurance details of anyone else involved.
  4. Call your insurer immediately. Even if you don't want to make a claim.
  5. If someone is injured, show your insurance certificate to the police. If you don't have it with you, take it to the police station within 7 days.
  6. Make note of what happened while it's fresh in your mind. Include where you were, the speed you were travelling, who was involved, whether you were manoeuvring, turning at a junction... It's also a good idea to make note of the weather.
  7. Take photos for evidence in case you or the other party make a claim (this is when having legal protection really pays off).
  8. Get details from witnesses. An unbiased account will prove really valuable if a claim is made against you.
  9. Write to your insurer to confirm what happened.

How to write to your insurer to explain what happened

When you write to your insurer, if you don't want to make a claim, make sure you clarify that you're telling them for 'information only'. This will stop them settling anything with the other party (if another party is involved) without telling you. You don't need to tell the police unless someone is injured in the accident.

In your letter or email, include all the useful from '9 things to do after a minor accident' above.

Check how car insurers are rated for their claim experience on ClaimScore

Frequent questions on minor car accidents

Could you simply not tell your insurer about an accident?

If you don't tell your insurer about an accident and they somehow find out, you may face legal action, your insurance premium will be certain to rise and you may even struggle to find an insurance provider in future. So it's not a good idea.

Do you still need to tell your car insurer about an accident if you don't want to make a claim?

Even if you're not planning on making a claim, you should still tell your insurer. Informing them about an accident will be a condition of your insurance policy. And, if they discover you've had an accident and not told them, there's a high chance you will be penalised when it comes to renewing your policy.

Will you lose your no claims discount?

If you end up making a claim and you have protected No Claims Discount, then your No Claim Discount won't be affected. However your overall premium will probably rise.
If you don't have protected No Claims Discount then you will lose your No Claims.
If you decide to pay the repairs yourself to protect your No Claims Discount, you don't have to submit a claim to insurer and your premium shouldn't be affected at renewal.

Will your car insurance premium increase?

Not necessarily. Your insurer will take a number of things in to account before raising your premium. Factors such as who was at fault, whether it was your first accident, or if you have any points or other driving convictions on your license will be considered before your premium goes up.

Statistically; it's more likely to go up than stay the same, or go down. If it rises by what you deem to be an unreasonable amount, shop around and consider switching to an alternative provider.

Sometimes just threatening to leave your insurer will be enough for them to reduce your premium. After all, it costs them a lot less to keep you than attract a new customer.

Remember to think of the type of insurance you really need. Don't pay for more than is necessary, and suitable for your car and budget.

How can I stop my insurance rising after a minor accident?

How you might be able to lower you car insurance premium after an accident

Haggle! Did you know there's an 80% success rate in haggling with insurance companies? (according to Money Saving Experts - Nov 2017)

There's almost always something you can do to minimise the effect of a car accident on your insurance premium. Speak to your insurer for their recommendations, and try these ideas below too:

  1. Don't accept their first renewal quote. Ideally, compare it with other insurers and tell them if you've found a like for like cheaper option elsewhere.
  2. Take an advanced driving course - Driving courses including Pass Plus, Iam RoadSmart, ROSPA Advanced drivers and Riders and the AA Advanced driving course are great options. They vary in cost and time, but the right one might just pay off
  3. Shop around for a cheaper provider - MoneySupermarket, GoCompare or CompareTheMarket are great places to start.
  4. Ask whether increasing your excess could help
  5. Ask to cap your annual mileage - Did you know that some insurers let you add an annual mileage cap to your insurance policy? The average top premium for 12,001 to 14,000 miles is £829. For 14,001 to 16,000 it increases to £1,076.97. Based on Compare The Market data from 1st October to 31 st December 2018.
  6. Check whether you really need Comprehensive insurance - If your car is old and not worth much, you could be better off with third party cover. But always check both options. Sometimes comprehensive actually works out cheaper.
  7. Can you add any ‘favourable' named drivers to your policy? - Insurers particularly like middle-aged women, who don't drive very far and have years and years of no claims. If they own a Nissan Micra as well, they're pretty much an insurer's dream. If you can add one or two friends or relatives with impeccable driving history, they may well bring your premium down. However, don't add too many drivers. This can actually have the opposite effect.
  8. Look for multicar discount offers - If there are other vehicles in your household, insuring them with the same provider could pay off for all of you.
  9. Park clever - Why do insurers ask where you park? The location can reduce or increase the risk of your vehicle being broken into or stolen, which in turn has an impact on your premium. If possible, try to park your car off the street, either on a private driveway or in a locked garage. No garage? No problem. Try apps like Just park to find a garage to rent locally.
  10. Get a Black Box fitted - Otherwise known as a telematics policy, a black box involves getting a smart phone-sized box fitted to your car to track your speed, distance travelled and the time of day you travel. They're most effective for young or new drivers.
  11. Don't pay by Direct Debit - Paying for your car insurance on a monthly basis can increase your premium by up to 20%. Consider choosing an annual payment option if you can afford it.

We hope you now feel a little more clued up about what to do after a minor car accident.

There's no denying accidents can be more than a little inconvenient, but they won't necessarily impact your insurance premium

Just remember:

  1. Inform your insurer of the facts as soon as possible.
  2. Be very clear if you don't want to make a claim.
  3. Research the ways you can reduce your premium at renewal - just in case it goes up.

Tell us: Have you ever had had a minor car accident? Did you tell your insurer and did your premium increase at renewal? Is there anything else about minor car accident you'd like to know? 

NEXT: Improve your driving and save money with LightFoot in-car solution (not a BlackBox)


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