a person documenting a car's damage by taking a picture

Can You Claim on Your Insurance if You Damage Your Own Car?

December 14, 2023

If you’re a car owner in the UK with a valid insurance policy, you’ll likely already know how your coverage works: if you get into an accident - either with another vehicle or due to environmental factors - you’ll make a claim and your policy will - if you’re not found liable - cover the cost of the damages. But what about if you damage your own car? And if you do sustain damage to your car, can you still claim the cost of the repairs on your insurance? There’s no one fixed answer to this question, so let’s take a look at some key issues that might impact a claim.

Understanding the Types of Vehicle Insurance

In the UK, there are various types of vehicle insurance policies, and each type typically offers a different level of coverage at varying prices. Generally speaking, these types of insurance usually include third-party, third-party fire and theft, and comprehensive insurance, and the type of policy you hold will determine whether you can claim for damages to your own vehicle:

Comprehensive Insurance

If you hold a comprehensive insurance policy, this will typically cover self-inflicted damage, meaning that if you accidentally damage your own car, your insurer will usually be able to cover the repair costs. However, the specific terms and coverage limits vary between policies, so always check with your insurance provider.

Third-Party Policies

Third-party or third-party fire and theft policies, on the other hand, do not usually cover damage to your own vehicle if you are at fault; these policies are designed to cover damage or injury to others and their property.

Claims Process for Self-Inflicted Damage

So, if you’re planning on making an insurance accident claim for self-inflicted damage, the process is pretty much the same as any other claim: you’ll need to first contact your insurer, provide details of the incident, and submit any required documentation such as photos, witness accounts, and dashcam footage. In some cases, an assessor may be appointed to evaluate the damage.

Assessing the Severity of Damage

Before making a claim, it’s important to assess the extent of the damage; this is because for minor damages, it may be more cost-effective to pay for the repairs yourself, especially considering the potential increase in insurance premiums after a claim, as well as a potential impact on your No Claims Bonus. You should also consider the fact that you’ll have to also pay the cost of your excess, which you pay every time you make a claim, no matter who’s at fault.

Reporting the Incident

a woman inspecting the damage on the right side of her car while holding her phone to her ear

If you’ve sustained damage to your car, it's crucial to report the incident to your insurer as soon as possible, even if you're unsure about making a claim. A delay in reporting the incident can affect the validity of a claim, so always provide an honest and accurate account of the events leading to the damage in a prompt manner.

Impact on Premiums

As we mentioned above, you should also be aware that making a claim for self-inflicted damage can impact your future insurance premiums: this is because insurers may view you as a higher risk, resulting in increased costs for your policy.

Self-Paying for Minor Repairs

For minor repairs, especially if the cost is close to or below your policy excess, it may be more economical to pay out of pocket; not only does this prevent you from paying any potential premium increases but it also preserves your no-claims bonus.

The Bottom Line

Overall, whether or not you can claim on your insurance for damaging your own car will usually depend on the type of policy you have: while comprehensive policies generally cover such scenarios, whereas third-party policies do not, meaning an out-of-pocket expense might be required. And as we mentioned, always weigh the cost of the repair against the potential impact on your insurance premiums and no-claims bonus; in some cases, forking out for the repair yourself might just be the most cost-effective option in the long term.


Will my insurance cover all types of self-inflicted damage?

Comprehensive insurance typically covers a wide range of self-inflicted damages, however it may not cover damages resulting from illegal activities or due to lack of maintenance. Always check your policy for specific exclusions.

How does a self-inflicted damage claim affect my no-claims bonus?

Making a claim for self-inflicted damage usually affects your no-claims bonus, as it indicates a claim within your policy period. Some insurers offer no-claims bonus protection as an add-on, which can safeguard your bonus in such instances.

Should I always claim for self-inflicted damage?

Not necessarily: if the repair cost is lower than or close to your excess amount, or if claiming could significantly increase your future premiums, it might be more economical to pay for the repairs yourself.

Can I still drive my car after self-inflicting damage?

If the damage to your car affects the safety or legality of driving the car (like broken lights or mirrors), it should not be driven until repairs are made. For cosmetic damages, it's usually safe to continue driving.