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Does a Non Fault Accident Affect No Claims Bonuses?

November 9, 2023

As anyone with car insurance knows, having an NCB (No Claims Bonus) or NCD (No Claims Discount) as part of your insurance plan allows policyholders to be rewarded for a claim-free record with reduced premium prices. But what happens if you get into a car or road accident that wasn’t your fault?

While the most straightforward - and fair - response would be to say no, this won’t impact your NCB or NCD, insurance claims and policies tend to be slightly more complex, and can vary depending on the circumstances of the accident.

In the following blog, we're going to take a closer look at some factors that may be at play during a no-fault claim, answer whether or not a non-fault accident can affect your NCB and explain how you can attempt to safeguard this valuable discount in the future. Let’s take a look!

What is a Non-Fault Accident?

A non-fault accident is an incident where the driver is not considered to be at fault or responsible for the occurrence. Typically, this means another driver or external factor was the primary cause of the accident, and would be required to cover non fault accident compensation with their own insurance. For instance, if your parked car is hit by another vehicle, or if you're struck from behind at a stoplight, these are typically viewed as non-fault accidents.

What is a No Claims Bonus?

A No Claims Bonus (NCB) or No Claims Discount (NCD) is a discount applied to your car insurance premium based on the number of years you've held a policy without making a claim. It's a reward for careful and accident-free driving. The longer you go without filing a claim, the greater the discount, which can significantly reduce your annual premium. The specific details and amounts may vary among insurance providers, but the fundamental principle remains the same: it incentivises safe driving.

Non-Fault Accidents and NCBs

So, the burning question many drivers have is: "Does a no-fault accident affect your insurance?" As we alluded to in the introduction, the answer is not always straightforward. In theory, a non-fault accident shouldn't impact your NCB because you were not the responsible party. However, in practice, things can be a bit more complex.

Some insurance providers may reduce your NCB if they can't recover all the costs from the responsible party or if there's a dispute about who was at fault. According to the Financial Ombudsman, complaints often arise when drivers find their NCB reduced after a non-fault accident

The key is to thoroughly understand your insurance policy's terms and conditions; some policies guarantee that your NCB won't be affected by a non-fault accident, while others may have caveats.

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Understanding the Claims Process for Non-Fault Accidents

When involved in a non-fault accident, it's crucial to report the incident to your insurance company promptly, even if you believe you won't need to make a claim. This documentation can be beneficial in ensuring the accurate representation of events and establishing the non-fault nature of the accident.

For a smoother process, consider working with a professional or an accident management company. They can guide you through the intricacies, ensuring all documentation is in place and helping you maintain your NCB.

Remember, even if you're not at fault, your insurance company might pay out initially, especially if the other party's insurer disputes the claim or is slow to pay. This scenario could lead to a temporary loss of your NCB, but it should be reinstated if and when the claim is settled in your favour.

Protecting Your NCB After a Non-Fault Accident

For many drivers, the No Claims Bonus represents a significant saving on insurance premiums, so finding ways to protect it becomes paramount. One way many benefit from their NCB is by opting for insurance providers that offer a "No Claims Bonus Protection" service; this protection allows you to make a claim (or sometimes multiple claims) within a year without affecting your NCB. The only downside is that there's usually an extra cost to add this protection, but for those with high NCBs, it can provide peace of mind and long-term savings.

However, it's essential to be aware that while NCB protection ensures your bonus remains intact, it doesn't guarantee your overall premium won't increase after a claim. The act of claiming, regardless of fault, can lead an insurer to view you as a higher risk.


Does a non-fault accident count as a claim?

Yes, any accident reported to your insurance, whether at fault or non-fault, is registered as a claim. However, non-fault claims typically don't have the same impact on premiums as at-fault claims, especially if your insurer can recover the costs from the party at fault.

Does no fault claim affect no claim bonus?

As discussed, a no-fault claim can affect your NCB if your insurance company can't recoup all the costs or if there's a dispute regarding fault. Always clarify the terms with your insurance provider, and consider NCB protection if you want additional security.

What is the maximum years no claims bonus?

The maximum years for a no claims bonus varies among insurers, but it's typically between five and nine years. After reaching the maximum, you won't accumulate additional years, but maintaining a claim-free record will continue to keep your premiums lower.