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New research from on of our surveys has revealed that Britons have paid £1.4 billion worth of car repairs following vehicle related collisions without insurers’ knowledge in the past 5 years; as drivers opt to foot the bill themselves to keep down insurance premiums.

Driver pay out to avoid costly insurance bill.

According to our recent study, over the past five years insurers have been bypassed to the tune of £1,405,101,499; as nearly a fifth (19%) of drivers who've claimed to have been in some form of collision where they failed to notify their insurers. So, the question beckons how much will drivers pay out? to avoid expensive insurance hikes in the future.

The study, conducted by ourselves, polled 1,822 UK drivers as part of an ongoing research into drivers and their experiences on the road. All respondents were aged 18 and over.

Respondents to the study were initially asked, ‘Have you been involved in a collision during the past five years which you failed to notify your insurer about?’ to which 19% said that ‘yes’ they had been in some form of accident (whether that be a minor scrape/bump or a more serious collision), which they failed to tell their insurance provider about.

The study then asked these respondents, ‘How would you describe the damage to the vehicle(s) involved in your collision?’ and asked them to select from a list of potential options. This revealed the following responses:

  • No damage – 22%
  • Minor damage – 37%
  • Notable damage – 25%
  • Extensive damage/ write off – 16%

The study then asked, ‘Why did you fail to notify your insurer?’ which revealed that the majority, 46%, said they ‘didn’t want to increase their insurance premium’. Just under a third, 32%, explained that they ‘didn’t want to risk their no claims bonus’, whilst 22% said that they didn’t think it was serious enough to warrant reporting. When asked what alternative they took instead of going to their insurer, 59% said that they opted to ‘pay for the repairs themselves’, whilst 28% said that they ‘paid off the other driver’ in order to avoid going down the proper channels.

Those respondents who said that they hadn’t gone via their insurers were then asked, ‘How much, if any, did you pay in vehicle repairs without your insurers’ knowledge?’ and asked respondents to provide a figure estimating the cost of these repairs; where the average emerged as ‘£198.22’ across all respondents who hadn’t reported the incident.

Taking the figure of £198.22 and multiplying it by the number of drivers in the UK who claimed to have had an accident without notifying their insurer, revealed that £1,405,101,499 worth of car repairs have been carried out across the past 5 years without insurers’ knowledge. According to the results, 19% of UK drivers were involved in some form of collision which they failed to inform their insurer about. The total number of registered driving licence holders in the UK is 37,308,402* and 19% of this figure comes out as 7,088,596 people. When multiplied by the average cost of car repairs (£198.22) this revealed a monetary figure of £1,405,101,499, indicating the cost of vehicular fixes carried out without insurers’ knowledge in the UK in the past 5 years.

*Total number of licence holders in January 2012 according to the DVLA.

Matt Bott Operations Director here at Breakeryard.com made the following comment:

“Insurance can cost a small fortune. It’s not surprising therefore that many of us are doing all we can to avoid increasing our premium, even if that means forking out a considerable one off sum and hiding an incident from our insurers.”

He continued:

“Having said that, even if you’re in a minor collision that causes minimal damage, you need to make sure that you inform your insurance company. This doesn’t mean that you necessarily have to claim on your insurance as you can opt to pay for the repairs yourself in order to keep your no claims bonus. However, failing to let them know can give the insurance company the right to refuse you cover in the future.”