There is often confusion around the difference between a fault and a non-fault insurance claim, and what claims should be disclosed when taking out a policy.
Whether a claim is defined as fault or non-fault is not to do with whose fault any accident or damage is – it’s about how insurers categorise claims based on cost recovery outcomes.
What is a non-fault claim?
In the case of a ‘non fault’ insurance claim, the insurance company has made a full recovery of any losses, from a third party. For example, if someone hits you, and your insurer recovers the repair costs via the insurer of the driver who ran into your car, that would be registered as a non-fault claim.
What is a fault claim?
A ‘fault’ claim is any claim in which the insurer has paid out to the policyholder or to a third party, but has not been able to recover the costs. It does not relate to whose fault any accident that led to the claim was – it’s purely based on whether the losses can be recovered.
What kinds of claims may end up being fault claims?
Typically, fire, vandalism and theft are almost always fault claims as it’s difficult to find the perpetrator and make a claim against them. Being hit by an uninsured driver will also usually result in a fault claim, but there are ways for costs to be claimed back (see below).
Why is it important to disclose claims?
Honesty is the best policy when it comes to claims, and contrary to popular belief, this doesn’t automatically spell a premium increase. Many insurers will not add increases for non-fault claims, unless there are a few of them, and while fault claims may attract a premium increase this is not always the case.
The reason insurers need claims information is to ensure your cover is sufficient, and that the risk is understood.
It is important to disclose any claim, whether on your own policy or where you are the named driver on someone else’s policy and have had to make a claim.
If a claim is not disclosed when seeking and taking out a new policy or renewing your existing cover, this could later invalidate a future claim or even your policy. Insurers register all claims on the CUE database, which can then be used to check for previous claims. It’s therefore better to disclose at the point of taking out a policy, than to leave it to be found at a later point.
What if my claim was in another vehicle?
Any claim you have made on any motor insurance policy that you drive on, you need to disclose when applying for or renewing any motor insurance cover. We’ve had some customers ask us whether they need to disclose a claim they have made on their daily drive or another vehicle they own or drive, when taking out insurance for their classic – the answer is a definite yes.