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How long does a claim stay on your car insurance?

| Insurance

It can become harder to get car insurance as you get older and you may be worried about the rising premiums. However, you should always disclose previous accidents, even if you think that it will increase the price of your car insurance. Whether the accident was your fault or the fault of someone else on the road, hiding this information could make your insurance void.

If you’re wondering how long you need to declare an accident for, or what the penalties are for not declaring it, you can find out using the information provided below.

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 to your insurer. This is so they 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 recently. Based on this information, the provider will be able to insure your vehicle at a price that’s appropriate for them.

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 information to determine how ‘risky’ you are to insure. For example, if you’ve had multiple accidents in five years, you’re deemed higher risk than someone who hasn’t had any.

Although declaring these accidents could increase your premium, it’s important to do so, otherwise, your insurance policy might be invalid. In the event that you need to make a claim, this could turn out to be hugely expensive for you. If you don’t declare a previous incident, your insurance provider will use the Claims and Underwriting Exchange (CUE) to find out if this information is correct. The CUE is a central database that includes data around car and home claims that you might have made in the past. This is why it is always best to admit to a previous accident instead of providing misinformation, as this could lead to higher premiums or voided policies.

You shouldn’t be put off declaring an accident or making a claim because you believe it will affect your No Claims Discount (NCD). If an accident isn’t your fault, with Age Co Car Insurance it’s likely that your NCD won’t be affected.

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 for the purposes of obtaining a certificate of motor insurance. Under the Road Traffic Act 1988, you must declare any incidents that have occurred within the specified number of years.

If your insurance company discovered that you had experienced a car accident in the last five years, your policy could be void and may be treated as though it doesn’t exist. 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 at a cheap rate. 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.

Scratched Car Bumper

How long do car accidents affect your car insurance?

You will need to declare an accident that’s happened in the last five years. For some insurance providers, this is reduced to three years, so it’s best to check. When you’re applying for car insurance, they’ll normally tell you the length of time they require information.

Once this period of time has passed, you may no longer need to inform your insurer of the accident (depending on your insurer's criteria). For example, if you crashed a vehicle in April 2013, you may not need to disclose it from April 2018. If your insurance renews every January, you’ll need to take out a policy as normal in January 2018, declaring the accident, but when the policy runs out in January 2019, you no longer have to disclose it.

How to reduce your car insurance after an accident

If you’re worried that an accident will cause your premiums to shoot up, there may be some things that you can do to bring the cost down slightly.

Downsize your engine

The car you drive could have a big impact on the cost of your insurance. For example, a sports car with a large engine would be more to insure than a small city car. If you’re thinking of purchasing a new car, pick one with a smaller engine, such as a 1.2 litre.

Fit an alarm/immobiliser

One of the questions that might be asked by your insurance provider is ‘does your vehicle have an alarm?’ Cars that have an alarm might deter thieves, and therefore there’s less chance of them being stolen. This could lower the price of your insurance.

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 may be less likely to have an accident and are therefore seen as lower risk by insurance providers.

Install a dashcam

Dashcams are becoming more and more popular as they can prove whose fault an accident was when there are contradictory versions of events. While they may not directly lower your insurance, it could be helpful in an accident that isn’t your fault or could save you money on fraudulent crashes. 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 and will save you from having to fork out and have your premiums increase.

Did you like what you read? Request an Age Co brochure to find out more!

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