Do I need to report a road accident to my motor insurers even if I am not making a claim on my policy?
If your vehicle is insured on a ‘fully comprehensive’ basis and you wish to claim the cost of vehicle damage from your own insurers then clearly the accident details will need to be reported and a claim made.
There are, however, many circumstances when the need to report an accident may not be quite as obvious. For example, your vehicle has been damaged in an accident that wasn’t your fault and the other driver’s insurance company are dealing with the repairs to your vehicle. Or you have been involved in an accident which has resulted in no damage to your vehicle. In such circumstances there is no claim to be made against your own policy: is it still necessary to report the accident to your insurers?
The short answer to this question is ‘Yes’ and there can be some serious consequences of failing to report an accident to your motor insurers, even if you do not intend to make any claim on your policy.
Motor insurance policies are basically a contract between you, the policyholder, and the insurance company. All policies are subject to terms and conditions which must be complied with by each party. The majority of policies require any policyholder involved in an accident to report the circumstances to the insurance company, regardless of whether there is any claim being made.
What happens if I fail to report an accident to my insurers?
Failure to report an accident can lead to your policy being declared void by your insurers which could result in you being uninsured in respect of vehicle damage in the event of a later accident.
As an example, a friend was involved in a very minor bump with another car. The drivers checked the vehicles and agreed that neither vehicle had sustained any damage. Satisfied that there was no harm done, the drivers each went on their way. My friend didn’t report the accident to her insurers: in fact, because of the minor nature of the incident it didn’t even occur to her to do so. Her motor policy was subsequently renewed by her insurers and a few months later she was involved in another, more serious accident, which did cause damage to her vehicle and for which she wished to claim on her policy.
She reported the accident to her insurers and in the course of the conversation with her insurers she was asked if she had been involved in any other accidents. In response to this question my friend told the insurers about the minor bump in which she had been involved a few months earlier. Imagine her shock when the insurers informed her that, as a result of her non-disclosure of the previous accident her policy was void from inception and she was not therefore covered in respect of the damage to her car.
The moral of the tale? – Always notify your insurers if you are involved in an accident, however minor it may be and regardless of whether there is any damage. If you are involved in an accident and do not wish to make a claim on your policy you can simply advise your insurers about the accident ‘For notification purposes only’.
If you’re tempted not to report an acident to your insurers because of fears that it may affect your no-claims bonus or premium, think again: insurers share information with one another which means that even if you don’t report an accident, the insurers may find out about it in any event, leading to problems relating to non-disclosure later on.
Posted by Donna Beckett
What to read next? > Frequently asked questions about road accident claims