How long does a claim stay on your car insurance?

8 minute read

Large scratch to car rear bumper

It can sometimes become harder to get car insurance as you get older and your premiums may increase. However, you should always disclose previous accidents, even if you think that doing so will increase the price of your car insurance. Whether the incident was your fault or the fault of someone else on the road, withholding this information could make your insurance void.

If you’re wondering how long a claim stays on your car insurance, or what the penalties are for not declaring it, our guide has the information you need.

How long does a car accident stay on your insurance record?

Usually, you will need to declare any incident that’s happened in the last five years. For some insurance providers, this could be between three and five years, so it’s best to check. When you’re applying for car insurance, the insurer will tell you the length of time they require information from.


How much will my car insurance go up after a claim?

It’s important to remember that every insurance company has different rules when it comes to implications on insurance costs following claims. However, if you are involved in an accident and claim against your insurance, regardless of the circumstance, it is likely that your insurance costs will go up. The amount by which it goes up depends entirely on the nature of the claim and the insurance policy you have with your provider.


Will a claim affect my no claims discount?

Many companies have a non-protected no claims discount (NCD), which means that making a claim could affect your NCD. However, there are some providers that offer NCD protection as an optional extra. For example, if you add NCD protection to an Age Co car insurance policy, provided by LV=, your NCD won't be affected no matter how many claims you make.


Do you have to declare accidents on your car insurance?

For anyone who’s taken out car insurance in the past, you’ll know that there’s a whole host of information that you need to provide. This is so insurers can give you an accurate price. These questions could include how old you are, what your working situation is, where the car is parked most of the time and whether you’ve experienced an accident in the last few years. These are all things that can affect the likelihood of you making a claim, so are factored in when calculating the cost of your premium.

Accidents have to be disclosed, whether they were your fault or someone else’s and even if you didn’t claim on your insurance at the time. The insurance provider will use this and other information to determine how likely it is that you will make a claim in the future. For example, if you’ve had multiple accidents in five years, you may be considered more likely to claim than someone who hasn’t.

Although declaring these accidents could increase your premium, it’s important to do so, even if it was a named driver operating your car, otherwise, your insurance policy might be invalid. If you don’t declare a previous incident, your insurance provider will use the Claims and Underwriting Exchange (CUE) database to find out if this information is correct.

The CUE is a UK-wide central database that stores data around car and home claims that you might have made in the past. This is why you should always be honest about previous accidents and never provide misinformation. Doing so could mean future claims are denied, leaving you facing expensive repair bills, increased premiums or a voided policy, which could prevent you from obtaining insurance from other companies too.


What happens if you don’t report a car accident?

You may be wondering what the penalties are if you don’t declare a previous accident on your car insurance.

It is an offence to make a false statement about an accident or to withhold any information to obtain a certificate of motor insurance. Under the Road Traffic Act 1988, you must declare any incidents that have occurred within the time period asked.

If your insurance company finds out that you had a motor accident in the last three to five years that you hadn’t declared, your policy could be void and they would contact you to let you know that your cover is no longer valid. If you’ve just had an accident, but you aren’t planning to claim on your insurance, you still need to tell your insurer so they can reassess your premium.

If you withhold information from your provider, they may refuse to insure you in the future and you could even be blacklisted, making it almost impossible to get car insurance. This will only happen in more severe cases.

If you’re involved in an accident and you fail to stop at the scene, you could receive up to a £5,000 fine and up to six penalty points. If anyone is injured in the accident, the police must be notified.


Tips that could help reduce your car insurance premium:

1. Install a dashcam

Dashcams are becoming more and more popular as they can sometimes capture evidence that proves whose fault an accident was when there are contradictory versions of events. While they may not directly lower your car insurance premium, it could be helpful in an accident that isn’t your fault or could save you money on fraudulent crashes.

There are cases where unlawful drivers have been known to quickly come to a stop in the middle of the road in the hopes that another driver will go into the back of them. In this example, having dashcam footage could prove that the other driver caused a crash on purpose.


2. Increase your voluntary excess

All insurance providers require an excess that must be paid to start a claim. The cost can range from £50 to a couple of hundred pounds as standard. If you want to reduce your premium, you can choose to add on a voluntary excess. This is an amount that you would be happy to pay on top of the compulsory excess should you have an accident. Whatever amount you decide, whether it’s £100, £200 or more, you must be able to pay it if you wish to make a claim in the future.


3. Increase vehicle security

One of the questions that might be asked by your insurance provider is ‘does your vehicle have an alarm or immobiliser?’ This is because a car that doesn't have much security could be more at risk of theft.

Most new cars automatically come with alarms, immobilisers, or trackers, but if your car doesn't have these things, your insurance could come down after you’ve installed them. Some insurers have a list of approved alarms, so before installing one, make sure that it is rated and approved.


4. Take the Pass Plus qualification

Pass Plus is an additional driving qualification that you can take at any time. The test includes elements that aren’t covered in standard driving lessons, such as motorway driving and driving at night. Drivers who have taken the course are considered less likely to have an accident and are therefore seen as lower risk by insurance providers.

As this article demonstrates, although making a claim on your insurance is sometimes necessary, there are things you can do to try and reduce premiums and most importantly, ensure your safety whilst driving.