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Does a Non-Fault Accident Affect Your Insurance?

November 7, 2023

When it comes to car insurance, one of the most frequent concerns drivers express is the potential impact of an accident on their premium - even if it wasn’t their fault. To put it plainly, yes, a non-fault accident can affect your insurance, however, it’s not as simple as a straightforward 'yes' or 'no.' In the following article, we're going to take a closer look into understanding the nuances of this topic, and why the answer isn't always black and white. Let’s get started!

What is considered a non-fault accident?

In the context of car insurance, a non-fault accident refers to an incident in which you (aka the policyholder) is not deemed to be at fault; in short, this typically means that another party (for example, another driver or a pedestrian) was responsible for causing the accident.

In many of these cases, your insurance company will seek to recover costs from the at-fault party's insurer. It’s crucial to note, however, that the distinction of “non-fault” doesn’t necessarily absolve you of all responsibility in the eyes of your insurer. While you may not be financially responsible, the accident can still have ramifications, especially when it comes to non-fault accident claims and the cost of your car insurance premium.

How do you know the accident is your fault?

Determining fault in an accident can sometimes be a complex process; generally, fault is assigned based on the rules of the road, witness statements, police reports, and any other evidence gathered at the scene. Common scenarios where you might be deemed at fault include:

  • Rear-ending another vehicle
  • Failing to yield the right of way
  • Running a stop sign or red light
  • Making an illegal turn
  • Not adhering to the highway code
  • Being inebriated in any way behind the wheel

In some situations, multiple parties might share fault; in these cases, an insurer will typically assign a percentage of blame to each party involved.

Do you need to declare a car accident if it wasn’t your fault?

Yes, it's crucial to declare any car accident to your insurance company, even if you believe that it wasn't your fault. Failing to do so can lead to complications later on, especially if the other party involved chooses to make a claim; informing your insurer right away gives them the opportunity to defend your position and potentially recover costs from the at-fault party. Additionally, if injuries occur after the fact or property damage becomes apparent later on, you'll be in a better position having already notified your insurer of the incident.

Will your car insurance increase after a non-fault accident?

It's a common misconception that your car insurance won't increase if you're not at fault in an accident. While the accident itself might not be the direct cause of a rate increase, insurers often consider various factors when determining premiums, and these can include the frequency of claims, the area where you live (and its associated accident rate), and your overall driving history.

A single non-fault accident might not necessarily spike your premiums, however, if you have a history of multiple accidents - even if they weren't your fault - insurers might deem you a higher risk. This is because, statistically, certain driving patterns or behaviours can lead to increased accident exposure, regardless of fault. The principle is similar to why someone living in a high-crime area might pay more for home insurance, even if they've never been burgled.

In short, whether or not a car accident was your fault, you’re likely to see an increase in your car insurance premium once the accident has been reported. That being said, your car insurance is unlikely to rise as significantly as it would with an at-fault claim.

How much does insurance go up after a no fault claim?

The impact on your insurance premium after a no-fault claim varies depending on several factors, such as the insurer's policies, the specifics of the accident, and your previous driving history. According to a study by, a driver isn’t likely to see a rise in cost superior to an extra £10 per month, however, it’s essential to note that these numbers can fluctuate greatly.

For instance, if you have a long history of safe driving and this is your first non-fault accident in many years, your insurer might offer more leniency. Conversely, if you've had several non-fault accidents in a short timeframe, the cumulative effect might result in a more substantial premium increase; this is because you may be perceived as being more prone to accidents, even if they aren't your fault.

How long does a non-fault claim stay on your car insurance?

Typically, a non-fault claim will stay on your car insurance record for about three to five years, depending on your insurer and jurisdiction. However, while the claim remains on your record, its influence on your premiums may diminish over time, especially if you maintain a clean driving record moving forward.

For example, while an accident might lead to an increased premium in the first year after the incident, this surcharge may reduce in the subsequent years if you avoid further accidents or claims. As always, it’s advisable to check with your insurer for specifics, as policies and practices can vary.