A number of car insurance companies increase the costs that drivers face after a crash even if the driver wasn’t to blame, Which? has found.
Undercover investigations have unearthed that various car insurance companies are essentially ripping off customers by raising their premiums, by more than one third in some cases, even if the driver isn’t at fault.
Over July and August, the consumer group Which? attained quotes from 12 major UK insurers to find out what kind of difference a claim for a minor scrape, that was not their fault, would make to their premium.
The Which? investigators posed as a woman in her forties, with a clean driving history, five years no-claims and a low annual mileage.
In a situation where the driver held no blame but their insurer had to pay, Esure increased its quote by a staggering 39 per cent, while More Than upped its quote by 33 per cent, with Rias hiking its quote up by 29 per cent.
Even when the other driver’s insurer paid for the damage, four of the 12 insurers increased the driver’s premiums. More Than rose it by 33 per cent, Esure by 17 per cent, AXA by 14 per cent and Admiral by 11 per cent. Additionally, Admiral and Esure also charged extra when the investigators didn’t claim for the incident.
“The difference between a car insurance ‘fault’ and ‘non-fault’ claim sounds relatively straightforward, but when we surveyed 1,281 UK drivers, only one in five understood the industry interpretation,” Which? said.
“Insurers don’t view ‘fault’ like normal people do. If someone damages your car, your premium can rise, even if you’re blameless, and even if you didn’t claim. Regardless of whether you’re to blame for the actual incident, you will be regarded as ‘at fault’ if your insurer has to pay for it.
“This would apply, for example, if your car was hit by another driver while parked and that other driver couldn’t be traced.”
By law, drivers must disclose information about incidents they have been involved in, even if the damage was paid for and repaired themselves, when asked by their insurer, or risk having their policy invalidated.