1) Why is it that my no claim bonus has been reduced when the accident wasn't my fault ?

It''s a no claim bonus, not a no blame bonus"

IF you make a claim on your policy then the "bonus" or discount the company offers you for not having made a claim is lost or reduced. IF the company are able to recover the FULL costs of that claim back from someone else (normally the responsible party) then, as the "Books are balanced" they re-allow the bonus for not claiming. Interestingly there is NO obligation that requires them to do this as if you make a claim the your entitlement to a bonus for not having claimed has gone.

2) Why does the insurance company ask me for the value of my car when I take out my policy ?

When insurers ask for a value of the car at the outset of an insurance quote it is to establish solvency margins, i.e so that if they had to pay all their claims at once, how much money would be needed. It's a bit of rough and ready way to do it but the only other way would be to send an inspector out to value each car individually before the insurer could give you a quote.

As you will appreciate this would:

1) Be almost impossible to do, think how many quotes for insurance are requested each day ...how many companies do you contact at renewal time or if you use a broker or search engine, how many companies they contact on your behalf ?
2) Delay the whole insurance quote process by several days so no longer would you just ring a company and get a quote for instant cover on the phone.
3) Vastly increase the costs of the insurance, due to the admin costs and the cost of inspecting and valuing the car.

3) What is an agreed Value policy then ?

With a normal insurance policy the car is insured for it's Market value, unless you have a specialised agreed value policy

To get an agreed Value policy you have to specifically request this from the insurers ( Not all insurers do them) and go through a process of proving and agreeing a value for the car with the insurer before the policy starts. This can involve providing detailed pictures of the vehicle, an independent inspection / valuation.

Once the value is agreed THEN the premium is based on that valuation..among other things.

In short, if you have an "AGREED VALUE" policy then you will know about it.

4) Is Insurance Rip off ?

That depends entirely on your view point. If you are fortunate never, ever to have to make a claim then yes I can see that you would appear to be paying for something without getting anything tangible back, though in reality you benefit from the knowledge that you are covered if the worst happens and have met your legal obligations.

BUT if you have smash that ends up putting someone in a wheelchair for the rest of their life, then suddenly the £500 , £800, or even £1,000+ premium you paid seems a bit of a bargain compared to the £3-6,000,000 your insurance company may have pay to the third party for their injuries and that's before they have to pay all the lawyers fees.

5) If an accident wasn't my fault do I have to claim through my insurance and pay my excess or can I go directly to the other persons insurance company

There's absolutely nothing to stop you approaching the other persons insurance direct.

The majority of insurers would welcome the fact that you have come to them directly as opposed to through a solicitor, not because they think they'll be able to rip you off, but because they can deal directly with you which is much more straight forward and simple.

BUT it is part of the terms and conditions of your insurance policy that you have to notify your own insurers of you are involved in an accident.

You don't have to submit a claim to them but you do have to let them know there's been an incident, the reason ? so they can defend you if the other person tries to make a claim against you.

6) Do Insurers ever admit liability just to settle a claim as its the easy way out and avoid the hassle

The simple answer is No despite what some people may think.

I'm not quite sure of how it would be "too much hassle to fight it". Hassle for who?

Arguing and negotiating liability is an everyday task for insurance claims handlers so it’s not that.

In fact the "cut and thrust" of a liability negotiations is one part of the job that handlers enjoy as it proves their technical ability and knowledge...in the same way that lawyers like arguing cases in court.

Admitting liability on a case where you are not at fault means that a company has to pay put more money so from an economic point of view it makes no sense at all for the company either

Cases are settled on a compromise basis for 3 main reasons -

1) both or all parties involved in the accident have given differing versions of events and there is no evidence available to support one version of events of the others. In this case where each party is adamant their version is correct. E.g. an accident occurs on a narrow road where both cars collide head on, there are no witnesses and both drivers insist that the other driver was on the wrong side of the road. With no way of proving which version is correct a 50/50 split is the only fair way of settling the case.

2) Previous cases with similar or the same circumstances have gone to trial and in those cases the judge has awarded a compromise settlement. In civil cases the court makes a decision based on the "balance of probabilities" i.e. which version of events is most likely to have happened based on the evidence available and the court's interpretation of that evidence. If a court has sea precedent of how a case with certain circumstances is to be settled then similar cases will also be highly likely to receive the same verdict from the court so insurers will apply that settlement to similar cases.

3) The insured is refusing to co-operate with the insurer in defending the claim (normally not willing to give a statement under oath or attend a court hearing to give evidence...draw your own conclusions from that) so the insurer is left with no option but to settle the claim on whatever basis they can.

Liability is only part of the claim, we still have to deal with the rest of it such as dealing with and checking repairs, negotiating and handling injury claims, hire claims, loss of use, loss of earnings, third party care, legal costs etc etc which take a lot of time and effort to deal with so simply admitting liability isn't necessarily and easy get out...disputing liability and proving your insured is 100% innocent can significantly reduce the amount of work an insurer needs to do compared to handling a third party claim.

Can I drive an unisnured car under my Driving other cars extension
Generally, yes, you can drive an uninsured vehicle using the Driving other cars extension to your motor insurance policy, but it's not quite as simple as that .....

..if you are using the Driving other cars extension of your policy the car is ONLY insured while the driver is in it. AS soon as the journey stops and the driver gets out then the cover ceases and the car becomes uninsured again as it has no policy covering it in it's own right....

What this means is that the car cannot be left on the public highway.. so all journeys must start and end on private land i.e you cant just nip down to the shops is it as (unless the shop has private off street parking) as soon as you get out, the car is not insured and is on the public highway whereby the owner can be prosecuted.

It's a bit that often gets forgotten about when considering using an otherwise uninsured car.

So what happens if your driving down the road and the police stop you and ask you to step from the vehicle? 'Well you were insured sir, but now the vehicle is not!'

there is a precedent case for this in which the court of appeal held that leaving the car for necessary purposes such as buying petrol, getting a newspaper and similar short term interruptions to a journey were OK and should be covered. Leaving a car with no intent to return would not be covered and neither would a long term break in a journey such as an overnight stop.

You also need to check EXACTLY what the driving other cars bit in your policy says. Some insurers exclude certain types of vehicle and some WON'T cover you if the car you are driving is uninsured.

As all Insurance policies are a specific contract between you and the insurer and because of the fact that each insurer can have a different wording it is very very important that you ask your own insurer the question and listen to their response as this is the cover that will apply to YOU.