a red car with damaged front

How to Handle a Car Accident Without Going Through Insurance

November 20, 2023

In the UK, dealing with the aftermath of a car accident can be a complex process, especially when you get insurance companies involved. While involving insurance companies is the standard approach, there are circumstances where you might consider handling the situation without going through insurance - but when is this course of action appropriate? In the following guide, we’re going to provide you with a comprehensive overview of how to manage a car accident without involving your insurance provider, and when you should absolutely contact your insurer. Let’s dive in!

Assess the Situation

The first step following any type of car accident is to assess the situation calmly: ensure that all parties involved are safe and that nobody is in immediate danger. If there are any injuries, call emergency services immediately and save the administrative tasks for later.

Exchange Information with the Other Party

Next, it's essential to exchange contact and vehicle information with the other party involved in the accident. This includes names, addresses, phone numbers, vehicle registration numbers, and any other relevant details; this information will be crucial if you decide to settle the car accident privately, rather than going through your respective insurance companies.

Consider the Severity of the Accident

Before deciding to handle the accident without insurance, you should evaluate the severity of the incident, as well as any physical injuries you might have. If the damage is minor and the cost of repairs is likely to be less than the excess on your insurance policy, settling privately might be a viable option, and will save you from an inevitable premium increase. However, for more severe accidents, especially those involving injuries, going through insurance is usually the safer choice.

Evaluate Your Options

So, how can you determine whether or not it’s worth getting your insurance involved? Here are some helpful pointers:

Self-Financing Repairs

If the damage is minor or barely noticeable, you might consider paying for the repairs yourself - even if it wasn’t your fault. This option can be more cost-effective than making a claim and potentially facing higher insurance premiums in the future.

Seeking Compensation from the At-Fault Party

If the other driver is at fault, you can seek compensation from them directly; this process requires a clear agreement on the cost of repairs and potentially other expenses related to the accident, but do note that some drivers might feel uncomfortable about doing this with a stranger.

Using a Mediator or Arbitrator

In cases where there's a dispute or a lack of agreement, using a mediator or arbitrator can be a helpful approach; professional mediators can help when it comes to reaching a fair settlement without the need for insurance claims or legal action.

Reporting to the DVLA

a person offering a hand shake

In the UK, certain types of accidents need to be reported to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), even if you decide to handle repairs and compensation privately. It's important to check the current regulations and ensure that you comply with any legal requirements regarding reporting the accident, regardless of how you settle with the other driver.

The Importance of a Settlement Agreement

If you do proceed with settling a car accident privately, it's paramount to have a written settlement agreement from both parties confirming the agreement. This document should outline the terms of the settlement, including any compensation to be paid and the conditions under which it is to be done, and both parties should sign this agreement.

For larger sums, it's also advisable to have a witness or legal advisor present during this process. At RTA Claims, our non fault claim experts can help you through the post-accident process, whether you need legal advice or need help building a strong and compelling case.

The Bottom Line

Handling a car accident without going through insurance can be a practical option in certain situations in the UK, but it isn’t without its risks. Don’t forget that surface-level damage (whether it be to your car or you as the driver) can often be deceiving, with back problems, concussions, and other issues only coming to the surface after the accident.

On the other hand, handling a car accident privately can be a way to avoid increased insurance premiums and excess fees. Just remember that it's essential to approach this option with caution and ensure that all parties are in agreement before exchanging agreements or cash. And in cases of doubt - or when dealing with significant damage or injuries - involving insurance companies remains the safest and most straightforward approach.


Can I legally settle a car accident without involving insurance in the UK?

Yes, in the UK, it's legal to settle minor car accidents privately without involving insurance companies. However, ensure that all parties agree to this and that you comply with any legal reporting requirements.

What should I do if the other party changes their mind after agreeing to settle privately?

If the other party changes their mind, it's advisable to contact your insurance company and inform them of the situation. Keep all documentation of the agreement and communications as evidence.

Is it necessary to inform my insurance company about the accident even if I don't make a claim?

It's generally a good practice to inform your insurance company about any accident you're involved in, even if you don't plan to make a claim. Check your policy terms, as some insurers require notification of any incident.

What are the risks of settling a car accident privately?

The risks include the possibility of underestimating the cost of repairs, disputes arising after the agreement, and potential legal complications if not properly documented. Always ensure that any private settlement is documented in writing.