Car accident claims: when do Brits claim on their insurance?

The average British driver wouldn’t claim for any damage under £667.

We’ve surveyed 2,000 people in the UK to find out how much the average Brit would need the repairs to cost on their damaged car before claiming on their car insurance.

Quick stats

  • The average British driver wouldn’t claim for damage costing under £667
  • 5% of drivers say they would never claim on their car insurance (1.83 million Brits)
  • The most common reason for not claiming was that the cost of the excess would likely exceed the cost of repairs
  • Over a fifth of drivers (22%) said they wouldn’t submit a claim because it was too much hassle
  • Generation Z would wait until damages reach over £1,000, while the silent generation would claim at £437
  • Interestingly, 7% of millennials would never claim on their car insurance
  • Car accident claims in the UK

    The average British driver wouldn’t claim for damage costing under £667, according to our research. Over 1 in 10 drivers (11%) wouldn’t claim for anything under £1,000 and this includes 2% who would pay up to £5,000 worth of damages themselves. At the other end of the scale, almost 8% would claim for any damages worth up to £100 and 2% of these would claim for any damages, no matter how small the cost of repair.

    95% of drivers say they would claim on their insurance if necessary, but 1.83 million drivers (5%) say they would never claim despite having to pay for it every year as a legal requirement in the UK. The most common reason for not claiming was that drivers thought the cost of the excess would likely exceed the cost of repairs, with 51% of drivers listing this as their reason to not claim. Following this, drivers were concerned that claiming would increase their premiums in the future (46%). Meanwhile, under a quarter of drivers (22%) said they wouldn’t submit a claim because it was too much hassle.

    My excess would likely outweigh the potential cost of repair 51%
    I would be worried that my premium may increase in the future 46%
    I wouldn't want to lose my no-claims bonus 44%
    Hassle e.g. submitting evidence, finding an approved repairer 22%
    I would always claim on my car insurance, no matter the amount 10%

    Car accident claims by gender

    The amount of damages before claiming differs significantly by gender. For women the damages would have to come to £567 before claiming, while men would not bother to claim until repairs reached a further £193 (£760 on average).

    As for reasons why they wouldn’t claim, there are some slight differences by gender. Just over half of men wouldn’t claim on their car insurance after a minor incident because their excess would likely outweigh the potential cost of the repair, while 50% of women felt the same. 47% of men would be worried their premium would increase in the future, while 46% of women feel the same. 44% of both men and women wouldn’t want to lose their no-claims bonus, while 10% of both men and women would always claim on their insurance no matter that the amount. Meanwhile, almost a quarter of men (24%) wouldn’t claim car insurance on a minor incident due to the sheer hassle of the process, while just 20% of women feel similarly.

    Cost of repairs
    Male £760
    Female £567
    Male
    My excess would likely outweigh the potential cost of repair 52%
    I would be worried that my premium may increase in the future 47%
    I wouldn't want to lose my no-claims bonus 44%
    Hassle e.g. submitting evidence, finding an approved repairer 24%
    I would always claim on my car insurance, no matter the amount 10%

    Car accident claims by region

    Residents in regions around the UK have differing views on this too. For those living in Northern Ireland repairs would have to cost only £448 before claiming, while at the other end of the scale Londoners wouldn’t claim until the damages reached over twice this amount at £921. Almost 60% of North West residents wouldn’t claim insurance because the excess would likely outweigh the cost of potential repair.

    South West £470
    South East £665
    East of England £888
    West Midlands £655
    East Midlands £499
    Yorshire and the humber £634
    North West £622
    North East £570
    Wales £647
    Scotland £628
    Northern Ireland £448
    London £921
    East of England Greater London East Midlands West Midlands North East North West Northern Ireland Scotland South East South West Wales Yorkshire and the Humber
    My excess would likely outweigh the potential cost of repair 48% 39% 55% 58% 48% 59% 39% 43% 57% 51% 55% 50%
    I would be worried that my premium may increase in the future 42% 50% 45% 49% 36% 49% 49% 48% 45% 44% 52% 46%
    I wouldn't want to lose my no-claims bonus 44% 39% 45% 56% 38% 42% 37% 44% 44% 32% 59% 47%
    Hassle e.g. submitting evidence, finding an approved repairer 22% 21% 21% 19% 28% 23% 27% 28% 25% 17% 17% 24%
    I would always claim on my car insurance, no matter the amount 11% 8% 7% 7% 12% 10% 10% 17% 7% 11% 3% 12%

    Car accident claims by generation

    Unsurprisingly, the younger generations are more likely to not claim as a way to avoid increased premiums on already expensive insurance. Generation Z would wait until damages reach over £1,000 on average before doing so, while 7% of millennials say they would never claim on their car insurance. Those in the silent generation are less concerned about these issues and would claim when damages reached £437 on average.

    Gen Z Millennials Gen X Baby boomers Silent generation
    My excess would likely outweigh the potential cost of repair 37% 40% 51% 60% 69%
    I would be worried that my premium may increase in the future 33% 43% 48% 50% 53%
    I wouldn't want to lose my no-claims bonus 24% 39% 44% 49% 59%
    Hassle e.g. submitting evidence, finding an approved repairer 27% 23% 20% 22% 23%
    I would always claim on my car insurance, no matter the amount 11% 14% 9% 7% 2%
    Cost of repairs
    Generation Z £1,036
    Millennials £963
    Generation X £555
    Baby boomers £459
    Silent generation £437

    How to get cheap car insurance

    There are many ways to lower your insurance premiums such as:

    • Only pay for the cover you need. Resist adding optional extras unless you’ve decided you need them. Consider dropping comprehensive cover on an older car.
    • Try a higher excess. Consider raising your excess, which is the amount you have to pay when making a claim before you get reimbursed. A higher excess means lower premiums.
    • Nominate your drivers. You should see lower premiums by adding an older and experienced driver to your policy.
    • Be a safe driver. Take a defensive driving course to get a safe driver discount and some new skills. Also keep your claims history and tickets to a minimum.
    • Park in a safe location. Cars kept in locked garages are cheaper to insure than those parked on the street. Consider installing antitheft or security features for lower premiums.
    • Shop around to compare prices. Switch car insurance instead of renewing, especially if you’ve been through any big life changes like getting married or moving. You can also use comparison quotes to ask for a price match from your current insurer.
    For more tips, check out our helpful video below:

    There are a range of factors stopping drivers from claiming for damages to their car. If you combine the compulsory and voluntary excess levels with the potential of losing your no-claims bonus and facing increased premiums, the long-term financial outlay isn’t always worth it for many who suffer a minor accident.

    In addition, there’s usually a number of hoops to jump through when making a claim, such as using an approved repairer or submitting detailed evidence of your claim. Although these are relatively straightforward routines in concept, some insurers have more complex procedures which can result in more hassle than it’s worth for a minor claim.

    However, if you’ve been unfortunate enough to be involved in an accident, it’s still important that you drop your insurer a quick line even if you choose not to claim. You should let it know the details of the event and be clear in the fact that you don’t wish to claim on the insurance. If you don’t notify your insurer, you run the risk of invalidating your insurance which can result in you being uninsured for any future claims.”

    Danny Butler, insurance specialist at Finder UK

    For all media enquiries, please contact

    Matt Mckenna
    UK communications manager
    T: +44 20 8191 8806
    matt.mckenna@finder.com@MichHutchison/in/matthewmckenna2

    Methodology

    • In March 2021, a total of 2,000 people were questioned throughout Great Britain, with representative quotas for gender, age and region.

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