Car insurance: no-fault claims are the Elephant in the room

If someone drives into the back of your car while you are stationary, you wouldn’t expect to be penalized by your insurer would you? At least, I didn’t – but that’s exactly what happened to me.

The incident happened last summer when a van driver turned into the entrance to the car park I was parked just outside of (in a marked bay), damaging the rear bumper and paintwork of my VW Golf. The van driver admitted fault and we swapped insurance details.

I contacted my insurer, which is part of the Admiral group, and it swiftly sorted out repairs to my car and, sometime later, claimed successfully from the van driver’s insurer. I asked before I made the claim whether it would affect my premium – although I assumed it wouldn’t as I wasn’t at fault – and was assured it wouldn’t.

Yesterday I was given a renewal quote and it has risen from approximately Car insurance renewal has been rising steadily, but I hadn’t expected an increase of quite that much. In fact, I had assumed that my six years no-claims bonus would ensure I was paying roughly the same, which had been the case for the past five years.

So I asked Elephant: why the hefty rise? The lady I spoke to in the renewals department told me it was because of the incident last summer. Although it had been resolved and registered as a no-fault claim, the Admiral group charges higher premiums whether drivers are at fault or not. Apparently, now I have made a claim Admiral considers that statistically I am more likely to make another claim in the future.

And the increased insurance premium is not confined to the damaged vehicle: one of my colleagues, whose car was damaged by vandals last autumn while parked in London (the wing mirror on the pavement side was smashed off), found that although her car insurance premium was unaffected, when she came to insure a horsebox that will never be parked in London the insurer insisted on taking this previous – and in 30 years of driving, only – claim into account.

I suggested to Admiral that maybe I shouldn’t have claimed at all and paid for the damage myself, but was I informed that I am legally obliged to report any incident to my insurer, whether I pursue the claim or not. So damned if I do or damned if I don’t.

Apparently, the member of staff in the insurance claims department who told me my premium would be unaffected must have meant my existing premium, not my renewal premium. 



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