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Accident, not my fault, should I even tell insurance company?
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# 1
Scrooge
Old 14-02-2005, 1:54 PM
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Default Accident, not my fault, should I even tell insurance company?

Hi,

Last week a guy on the motorway crashed into the vehicle ahead of him in the fast lane, then swerved into my lane and hit my side. My car doors were quite badly damaged. I've got all his details and that, and I assume it would be his fault and covered by his employer's insurance (he was in a company car, well van).

Even using this site's tips I pay a lot for my insurance as I've only been driving a few months and have a high risk job, and can't really afford to pay any more. Am I right in thinking that if I report an accident to my insurers my insurance goes up even if it is not my fault as I am then seen as higher risk? Because if that's the case am I better just trying to settle direct with the guy and get the damage fixed myself. I know you're not really supposed to do that but I don't see how the insurance company would ever find out really.

Advice welcomed...
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# 2
alanrowell
Old 14-02-2005, 2:46 PM
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yes, because his insurance company will inform your insurance company
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# 3
m00nie
Old 14-02-2005, 3:05 PM
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you can claim directly from his insurance, without getting yours involved.

may just take a bit longer and will mean you have to do the ringing around and chasing up.
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# 4
Woby_Tide
Old 14-02-2005, 4:39 PM
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if you don't tell your insurers and the for whatever reason either he or his insurers refuse to pay out you're stuffed, as long as your claim is met by other insurers shouldn't affect your premium much, not all the insurers ask about accidents etc. (UK Insurance i.e. Tesco and assorted others don't I think)
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# 5
don9999
Old 14-02-2005, 5:12 PM
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I don't think you HAVE to 'claim' through the insurance companies. If the damage is small, it is often cheaper to sort it out between the two parties than to claim through the insurance and risk no-claims bonus etc.

However.....if you go that route, make sure you STILL tell your insurance company! They still require to know about any incident you have been involved with. It doesn't mean that your premium would increase, especially if it was the fault of a third party. (For instance, I have been involved in an accident with a third party at fault, and my premiums were unaffected.)

I strongly advise that you do NOT keep it secret from your current or future insurers. Of course, you 'could' get away with not telling them, and them not finding out. However, in the event that you have to make a claim with them, they will consdier ANY excuse not to pay out. If you have withheld any information from them, they can use that against you, and try not to pay up.

In my opinion it's not worth the risk in the long run....

Cheers,
Don
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# 6
Altarf
Old 14-02-2005, 5:44 PM
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Insurance is a contract of 'Utmost good faith'. If you fail to tell you insurer anything material then the contract is void (i.e. you are not insured). You may not think that something is material but the insurer may.

A real example I came across was somebody who had their car broken into two or three times. On each of these occasions, nothing of value was stolen, so they didn't bother reporting it to the insurers. On the final occasion, the car was stolen. When they mentioned the earlier incidents on the claim form, the insurers voided the policy on the basis that had they known about the earlier incidents they would have increased the premium as the insured was a bigger risk than they thought.

With your case, if you think that it is a possibility your premiums may go up in future (which they can even when it is not your fault), try putting in some details (I would use some slightly anonomized details) into one of the online insurance quotes, with and without the accident, and see what the difference is. If there is a difference, you could try adding it to the claim as an uninsured loss.
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# 7
MarkyMarkD
Old 14-02-2005, 11:34 PM
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Altarf, you are quite right about "utmost good faith", but I think there is absolutely zero chance of a consequential loss claim for the increased premium succeeding.
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# 8
new2it
Old 25-02-2005, 2:00 PM
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My car was involved in an incident not of its own making. It was empty and parked at the time, but being honest I informed my insurers. There wasn't sufficient damage to make a claim against the people who hit my car, but my insurance went up, because, they said, it was likely to be involved in another incident. Like my car has a personality of its own! Anyway, having learnt my lesson, I won't report such a thing again.
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# 9
andy88
Old 26-02-2005, 11:58 AM
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You must report it. It is probably a breach of your insurance contract not to.

At the moment, it sounds straightforward to us that it was not your fault in any way. But by the time his insurers read his report, it could sound substantially different ...

I wouldn't give your chances of negotiation with the other party or his insurers too much hope. Indeed, they may refuse to deal with you directly. Your insurers will be much better at this. Or if the other party is not insured ...

Your damage sounds like it could be 1000 - 1500. If you repair it independently at lower cost and quality, it will affect your insurers opinion of the future value of the car as you've voluntarily accepted this reduction, and failed to disclose material information.

Your no-claims bonus will be provisionally affected (ie if you renew before the claim is settled), and it could take a few months if the others argue, but once sorted out it will cost you no extra.

I've been involved in 3 accidents not my fault in the last 6-7 years. The first was uncontested, and the woman pleaded guilty to careless driving. In the second, the other drivers account was rubbish (I "drove into the back of him" - no damage to the rear of his car!) My insurers made a mistake and paid out about half, having previously said see you in court then; they admitted the mistake and refunded my NCB when I complained. The third about a year ago I was struck from behind by a foreign lorry. There was correspondence for a few months; each time my insurers totally rebutted the claim against me; I don't think the other insurers UK agents would have given up so easily if they were talking to me. None of these has affected my premiums.
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# 10
waterbaby
Old 26-02-2005, 10:35 PM
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As I understand it, you will not have your premiums increased if the insurer is able to get their money back from the other insurer.

I understand your dilemma though. I had a golf ball through my window (I wasn't in it!). It was parked in front of a house that backs onto a golf course fairway. Quality golfing :rolleyes: .

It cost less than my excess to fix, the golfing lot paid anyway, and the street would just have had its risk increased (perhaps along with my premium). No thanks.

I'd always tell them if I had an accident with another road user, its just too complex, with legal issues etc. You never know how the other party is going to describe things.

And the point has already been made that they may well find out anyway. Insurance companies do share information - it may just be to combat fraudulent claims, I'm not sure, but if your friend in the van has given your details to his insurer, they may be available to yours even if you haven't told them directly. Not trying to scare you.

I've not been in your situation yet (I'm sure I will one day as there are some lunatics out there), but I would play it straight as it would hang over me otherwise. Maybe you are different. Good luck anyway.
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# 11
Altarf
Old 27-02-2005, 1:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkyMarkD
Altarf, you are quite right about "utmost good faith", but I think there is absolutely zero chance of a consequential loss claim for the increased premium succeeding.
Why? Through somebody elses actions you have incurred a loss (comparing premiums with and without the incident will demonstrate that). It is really no different to the person causing the accident paying for any other loss that you will incur due to their actions, such as car hire, taxis, etc.

Obviously you would need to present some facts on which to base your claim, but with the online insurance quote webpages allowing you to amend details, you can get a quote with and without the claim, for this year, next year, etc.
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# 12
nearlyrich
Old 27-02-2005, 2:29 PM
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When you fill in the form for insurance it asks about accidents, who was to blame and the costs involved. If the other party was completely to blame your premium should not increase due to loss of your no claims bonus.

If the other driver has hit 2 cars then the chances are he will be putting it through his company insurance, why would he pay out his opwn pocket when he has insurance cover for the risk?

Don't risk your insurance company refusing to pay if you have an accident because if you fail to disclose a material fact they can and probably will and it will cost you a lot more than if the premium goes up a little.
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# 13
andy88
Old 27-02-2005, 3:24 PM
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Don't forget that that driver's job may depend on his denying his responsibility for this to his employer.

Why did you pull out to overtake the car in front without looking? He could not avoid collision, and as it hit the back of his van, that swung him inwards to hit the rear of the car you were about to overtake.

The only thing wrong with this is the account of the driver in the front car, so you should be safe, but let the insurers do the arguing.
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# 14
Liz19
Old 27-02-2005, 3:41 PM
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My husband has a company car which has been involved in two accidents neither his fault. We have a second car which is insured in his name though I am the main driver and when getting quotes for insurance I have had to mention the two no fault accidents and immediately the quote goes up despite us having protected no claims. They say that as he has been involved in two no fault accidents, he is more likely to have a fault accident!! - can anyone explain this to me as I cannot make any sense of it.
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# 15
waterbaby
Old 27-02-2005, 9:25 PM
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Hi Liz19,

There is a massive amount of accident history data available to insurance companies, and they perform their risk analysis on this information. For example, the data shows that (after accounting for other factors) the average young man will cost them more than the average middle aged woman etc.

Different companies put more weight on different factors, but I expect that the reason that you are having your premiums increased is that the data available to them shows that people who have had no fault accidents do tend to go on to have more accidents.

This would of course be an 'average' result, and it may well be a very small one.

It's frustrating isn't it. I am under 25, and pay the corresponding increased premium, yet I have passed the Institute of Advanced Motorists test, examined by a serving traffic policeman. I know damn well I am a better driver than most, because I respond much sooner to hazards than others and am often making allowances for other people's poor planning. I'm also now training people to take their own IAM tests.

But, the data shows that under 25s are more likely to have an accident, so pay up I must. Unfortunately the insurance companies can't take their customers wider lifestyles into account, they can only look at the general trends (of their choice) and price you up accordingly.
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# 16
waterbaby
Old 28-02-2005, 7:14 PM
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Was thinking about this some more today, I thought of a hypothetical example.

Say that you always indicate late and brake late, and hence sharply. There is more chance of the car behind hitting you than if you had given earlier warning of your intentions, and begun to slow down earlier and hence more smoothly.

This would be a 'no fault' accident for you. However, you could have significantly reduced the chances of the accident occuring in the first place by giving the traffic behind more warning (earlier indication) and slowing down in good time.

By observing, anticipating and planning well, it is possible to forsee potential accidents early, and stop them from happening in the first place. Many people (certainly not all) could have avoided their no fault accident by paying better attention and driving to a higher standard.

Therefore, people who have not managed to avoid an AVOIDABLE no fault accident, are likely to have weaknesses with their driving which mean that they are more likely to be involved in an accident for which they do have some blame and their insurance company will have to pay out.

As I said before, insurance companies operate on general trends. I am sure that Mr Liz19 is a very good driver, but as he is just one fish in a big sea (ie he alone will have negligible difference on the accident trends), it would make sense that the premiums are being increased.
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# 17
Liz19
Old 28-02-2005, 7:48 PM
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Yes Mr. Liz19 is a very good driver. Ist accident - he was hit from behind while stationary (no sharp braking involved). 2nd Accident - he was hit in the side of car by paperboy cutting a corner - again stationary. Very unlucky! Only way to avoid these would have been to leave car in garage!
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# 18
andy88
Old 02-03-2005, 12:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by waterbaby
By observing, anticipating and planning well, it is possible to forsee potential accidents early, and stop them from happening in the first place. Many people (certainly not all) could have avoided their no fault accident by paying better attention and driving to a higher standard
Thank you for your kind advice. Just in case a lorry follows you through 1+1/2 miles of chicaned roadworks only 3-5 feet away at 50 mph, then at the end rams from behind rather than overtake when, totally dazzled by his switch to 6 main beam headlights, you fail to accelerate (but do not brake, and indicate left to invite it to pass), you'll have had plenty of time to foresee it and plan your escape.

At least the accident did not happen in the roadworks, for it would have killed some workmen and closed the road for over 5 hours. The main reason we rebutted the claim was because my car was undamaged, and we said we were not responsible for the insecurity of his load (unfettled lorry engine crankshafts burst through the front of the trailer under braking and severed all the brake lines).
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# 19
waterbaby
Old 03-03-2005, 2:56 PM
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Er... not sure of your tone, do you disagree with me?

You describe a situation where it wasn't possible to avoid an accident. In considering Liz19's question, I described one where it could be. Both exist, don't they?
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