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How much do car accidents and repairs really cost?

How much do car accidents actually cost?

Sometimes car accidents can’t be avoided. But how much do they actually cost to put right, on average? 

Research conducted by MoneySuperMarket found the average cost is around £415. That almost equals the average price of a year’s fully-comprehensive car insurance cover, which is £459.

An accident can add up to nine percent (£69) to a driver’s premium when it comes to renewing.

How much does the average accident cost?Pass plus doesn't make car insurance cheaper

Of the 37 percent who that said they’d had an accident in the last five years, one in five said they paid up to £100. This goes on repairs and associated insurance costs. A quarter had paid between £201 and £400, while 10 percent said they’d spent considerably more: between £801 and £1,000.

The most common repair is paintwork (45 percent). Bumpers (49 percent) and lights (29 percent) also attract a lot of damage. Of those who said they’d been in an accident during the last five years, a quarter said they didn’t claim on their insurance.

Car insurance: should you claim?Young driver insurance premiums

Deciding whether to claim on your insurance will depend on the kind of accident you have, and the car you drive. If it’s minor damage and the car is safe and drives, it could be in your best interests to handle the cost yourself. Indeed, depending on what your voluntary excess is, it will cost you a certain amount anyway. 

However, some cars, and certain repairs, mean it will just be easier to go through your insurance company. It’s also important to note that not claiming and not declaring are two entirely different things.

You must always declare an accident to your insurers. However, you can chose whether the insurer covers the cost of the repair or replacement of your car.

Insurance price comparison premiums

“Our research shows that claiming after an accident could potentially add £69 to your premium, which may explain why a quarter of drivers who have an accident do not make a claim to their insurer,” said Dave Merrick of MoneySuperMarket.

“In some cases, it can be more cost efficient to make a claim rather than paying for the costs yourself. Whatever you decide, you should always let you insurer know. Most policies will have a clause that requires you to declare any incidents, regardless of who is at fault. Failing to do so could invalidate your policy.”

Vaping drivers could be refused insurance claims

Vaping while driving could soon invalidate an insurance claim

Drivers who vape could soon find themselves denied an insurance payout if they have an accident while using the device.

Vaping creates a thick plume of vapour, which could be considered a hazard in a car, given how much it obstructs the driver’s view.

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) has described vaping at the wheel as a ‘growing and concerning trend’ for road safety. 

Vaping while driving could soon invalidate an insurance claim

“Distracted driving is a leading cause of road accidents in the UK,” said Nick Lloyd, head of road safety at RoSPA.

“Any secondary activity which takes eyes off the road is potentially dangerous. As well as being a physical distraction, vaping while behind the wheel can create visibility problems if clouds of vapour are produced.”

At the moment, using a vape while driving isn’t illegal. Nor are there points about it in insurance policies. Any accident related to vaping could potentially be considered as distracted driving.

Soon, however, it’s expected that vaping while driving will be clamped down upon, by lawmakers and insurers alike.

Vaping while driving could soon invalidate an insurance claim

A spokesperson for specialist car insurance broker Carbon told AMT: “There could be exclusions written into some insurance policies in the future”.

“Even though our panel of insurers doesn’t currently ask whether drivers vape when they’re looking for a quote, it may well be something that gets asked in the near-future.”

Van theft epidemic: 30 are stolen every day

more than 30 vans stolen every day

On average, 30 vans have been stolen every day in the UK since 2016. That’s 43,000 vans over the course of three years.

Another 117,000 vans have been broken into over the same period. The result is a £61.9 million cost to businesses and drivers in lost tools and other items. The research was conducted by What Car?, which submitted a Freedom of Information (FOI) request to get the figures.

Van theft is seemingly on the rise. Figures show an increase of 8.21 percent between 2017 and 2018. This trend continued into 2019, with 8,200 thefts registered in the first six months.

more than 30 vans stolen every day

London is a hot-spot for van thefts. A total of 14,263 were taken over a four-year period, with 44,742 broken into. 

A surprising 42 percent of new vans don’t come with an alarm fitted as standard. And 5.5 percent don’t even have the option of an alarm.

However, 90 percent come with remote central locking and 80 percent are fitted with deadlocks (which don’t feature a spring, and are therefore harder to pick).

more than 30 vans stolen every day

“More than four million van drivers rely on their vehicle for work or business needs,” said Jim Holder, editorial director at What Car? Vans. 

“The fact that four out of 10 new vans on sale do not feature a factory-fitted alarm as standard is a cause for concern – especially as our research found more than 43,000 have been stolen since 2016, with a further 117,000 broken into.

“While newer vans and higher trim specifications now come with many of the security features as standard, it’s concerning to see owners of lower trim levels having to fork out extra for something as simple as an alarm – this is something the industry needs to work on and underlines why van buyers must do careful research before purchasing their next vehicle.”

Jaguar I-Pace

NHS signs deal for 700 Jaguar I-Pace electric cars

Jaguar I-Pace

NHS public sector staff from more than 200 organisations across the country are set to enjoy access to a fleet of 700 Jaguar I-Pace electric cars.

Described as an ‘unprecedented’ deal, the huge win for Jaguar sees the reigning World Car of the Year become part of the NHS Fleet Solutions scheme.

National Health Service workers will be able to sign up for an I-Pace via a salary sacrifice scheme: the fleet will become available from April 2020.

Sir James Mackey is chief executive of Northumbria Healthcare, the organisation that’s signed the new deal with Jaguar Land Rover.

“We are delighted to be working with Jaguar Land Rover UK,” he said. “This is a great deal for NHS and public sector staff and delivers genuine benefit to our patients.

Jaguar I-Pace

“To have a fleet of cars that are fully electric demonstrates our on-going commitment to making decisions that reduce our impact on the environment and help us become greener.”

The zero-emissions I-Pace will become part of the NHS ambition to reduce its carbon footprint.

Jaguar I-Pace

Claire Watson-Brown from JLR said the company was “very proud to provide NHS and public sector staff with this fleet of Jaguar I-Paces”.

The multi-award-winning SUV “demonstrates our latest electric vehicle technology, developed here in the UK to deliver clean, sustainable and efficient transport”.

Leases on the NHS Fleet Solutions cars will run for three years.

The salary sacrifice scheme has itself run for 15 years and has more than 21,000 cars in public sector employees’ hands.

Daimler deploys electric school buses in America

Daimler electric bus America

Daimler-owned Thomas Built Buses has begun supplying fully-electric versions of the famous black and yellow American school bus. The first 50 examples of the ‘Jouley’ have been ordered in the state of Virginia. 

The goal is to have at least 1,000 electric buses on American roads by 2025, although a bus manufacturer has not yet been selected to fulfill this order.

Daimler electric bus America

The Thomas Built bus has been developed in collaboration with California company, Proterra. Its battery has a total power capacity of 220 kWh – just over twice that of a top-end Tesla Model S – and has a theoretical range of 134 miles. These buses are also the only of their kind to feature DC fast charging as standard.

So how quickly can an electric school bus be charged? If the 60 kW fast charging system is used, it’ll juice up in around three hours. That leaves plenty of time in between the morning drop-off and the afternoon pick-up for buses to be prepared for their second shift of the day.

Interestingly, these buses are also equipped with vehicle-to-grid technology, allowing them to supply power back into the grid. With 1,000 buses in use, their batteries could provide enough energy to power more than 10,000 homes.

Daimler electric bus America

How can you tell the difference between the new electric bus and its diesel predecessor? Well, if it’s running, you’ll clock one even with your eyes closed. There will be no diesel clatter – and no smell of fumes. To look at, the differences are subtle. Pictured above is an older, more traditional American school bus.

There’s blue LED lighting in the grille to mark it out, while ‘Jouley’ is plastered down the side. It still has the silhouette of the familiar American school bus, though, right down to the long nose where you might ordinarily find an engine.

Toyota invests £300m in electric air taxi company

Toyota invests in Joby Aviation

Toyota has teamed up with Joby Aviation to develop an electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft.

Little information has been released, but Toyota hopes to commercialise the eVTOL, with the aim of delivering “fast, quiet and affordable air transportation”.

An eVTOL combines elements of helicopters and small aeroplanes, offering zero emissions, fast travel and quiet operation. Details of the prototype aircraft and the production plans will be announced at a later date.

Earlier this month, Hyundai and Uber unveiled a ride-sharing air taxi concept at CES 2020. The companies hope to be airborne within three years.

Toyota is the lead investor in Joby Aviation’s $590 million (£452 million) Series C financing. In addition to a $394 million (£302 million) investment, Toyota will also share its expertise in manufacturing, quality and cost control.

Founded in 2009, Joby Aviation is at the forefront of the Urban Air Mobility (UAM) market. The Californian company has developed a four passenger aircraft that can fly at speeds of up to 200mph, delivering 150+ miles of flying ranging from a single charge.

‘On land, and now in the sky‘

Toyota logo

Akio Toyoda, Toyota Motor Corporation president and CEO, said: “Air transportation has been a long-term goal for Toyota, and while we continue our work in the automobile business, this agreement sets our sights on the sky.

“As we take up the challenge of air transportation together with Joby, an innovator in the emerging eVTOL space, we tap the potential to revolutionise future transportation and people’s lives.

“Through this new and exciting endeavour, we hope to deliver freedom of movement and enjoyment to customers everywhere, on land, and now in the sky.”

JoeBen Bevirt, Joby Aviation founder and CEO, added: “This collaboration with Toyota represents an unprecedented commitment of money and resources for us and for this new industry, from one of the world’s leading automakers.

“Toyota is known globally for the quality and reliability of its products, driven by meticulous attention to detail and manufacturing processes. I am excited to harness Toyota’s engineering and manufacturing prowess to drive us towards our dream of helping a billion people save an hour-plus commuting time every day.”

Buckingham Palace is the most dangerous landmark to drive past

Buckingham Palace dangerous place to drive past

Buckingham Palace is the UK’s most dangerous landmark to drive past. That’s according to new research conducted using data from a road safety charity.

Using traffic accident statistics gathered between 2013 and 2018, the monarchy HQ is one of three London landmarks to appear in the top ten – the others being the Houses of Parliament and St. Paul’s Cathedral.

If the Queen was in residence at the right time, Her Majesty would have witnessed 203 accidents over the three-year period – that’s an average of 34 accidents a year.

Select Car Leasing, the company behind the study, puts this down to a “glut of tourists, cabbies, private vehicles and cyclists”. It’s also claimed that the roads around Buckingham Palace are “fast-becoming a hotbed of road accidents”.

Somebody ought to warn the Queen.

Angel of the North

The leasing company used the Think! crash map to count the number of accidents within 10 metres of 50 of the UK’s most popular landmarks. 

Only three of the landmarks in the top ten are adjacent to what you’d call a fast road. This suggests a number of the accidents are low-speed collisions, caused by inattentive drivers and ‘rubberneckers’.

Top 10 most dangerous landmarks to drive past

LandmarkAccidents (2013-2018)
1. Buckingham Palace, London203
2. Brighton Pier, Brighton124
3. Scott Monument, Edinburgh89
4. Houses of Parliament, London79
5. Stonehenge, Wiltshire60
6. Angel of the North, Gateshead53
7. Humber Bridge, Yorkshire49
8. St. Paul’s Cathedral, London40
9. Blackpool Tower, Blackpool30
10. Windsor Castle, Berkshire28

As part of the research, Select Car Leasing also looked into the accidents around the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London.

In the years prior to construction (2013 and 2014), there were 17 accidents – an average of 8.5 a year. Once construction has started (2015 to 2018), the number increased to 47 – or 11.8 a year.

That’s a 39 percent rise in traffic accidents, presumably as a result of construction traffic and people stopping to take a look at the new stadium.

Tottenham Hotspur Stadium construction

Select Car Leasing said: “The advice is clear on passing landmarks: when you’re driving, keep your focus and watch the car in front.

“They may be tempted to slow down to view the passing monument or attractions. It’s also important that your own eyes aren’t drawn from the road towards the landmarks, or it might be you who causes the accident.”

UK diesel use in decline for the first time in a decade

Diesel use down for the first time in a decade

The ‘decline of diesel’ often refers to diesel car sales. Now, the amount the UK has burned in its vehicles is down, for the first time in a decade.

The amount burned was down by just under 500 million litres between January and November 2019. That’s 27.416 billion litres burned last year, compared with 27.909 billion litres burned in the same period in 2018.

After ten years of increasing demand, last year’s figure is lower than 2016’s. For reference, 500 million litres is roughly what the country’s diesel vehicles consume within a week.

'make or break' for diesel in 2020

It’s the first time that the use of diesel has dropped since the financial crisis over a decade ago. Is it because there are fewer diesel-powered cars on the road?

According to the AA, not entirely. The drop-off of oil burners in the new car market has had something to do with it. However, it’s also claimed that a fall in lorry and van traffic last year, as a result of economic uncertainty, will have contributed.

The drop is actually not as dramatic as some might have expected, given the scale of the scandal around diesel and the drop in appeal the fuel has suffered since it broke cover in 2015. However, as the popularity of SUVs, which are mostly diesel-powered, has ballooned, the losses have been cushioned somewhat.

Drivers oppose diesel ban

“The first drop in UK diesel demand in a decade is one to watch,” said Luke Bosdet, from the AA.

“Whether a Brexit economic bounce back reinvigorates commercial traffic levels and therefore diesel use, or whether the reduction signals UK fossil fuel use moving from tipping point to actual decline.”

On-street electric car chargepoints

Government doubles funding for on-street electric car chargepoints

On-street electric car chargepoints

Government funding for electric car chargepoints on residential streets will be doubled from 2021 to £10 million a year.

Ministers are also working on plans to allow drivers to access real-time information about whether a chargepoint is in use before they drive to it.

Local councils are being urged to make use of the new funds, which the government says could fund an extra 3,600 public chargepoints.

The plans are part of a drive to help those without an off-street parking space make the switch to electric cars.

Transport secretary Grant Shapps said: “We want to make electric cars the new normal, and ensuring drivers have convenient places to charge is key to that.”

Real-time chargepoint info

Sharing information about chargepoint location and power ratings in a standard, open format for the first time will be investigated by the government.

This data would also show whether chargepoints were actually working, in real time, and could be used by developers to build into sat nav systems and route mapping apps.

Future of transport minister George Freeman said: “Supporting the smart use of open data for new apps to help passengers and drivers plan journeys, and to reduce congestion and pollution, is key.

“Comprehensive chargepoint data is crucial for mapping charging hotspots and notspots for consumers, to help to drive forward the electric vehicle revolution.”

This initiative would be a further development of the government’s National Chargepoint Registry (NCR) which launched in 2011. This is an open-source dataset of all public chargepoints.

It follows on from an earlier government challenge to industry to allow debit and credit card payments at all new rapid chargepoints.

The government also wants firms to roll out a roaming solution so electric car drivers could use any public chargepoint via a single app or payment method.

Already, claim ministers, Britain has one of the largest electric car charging networks in Europe. There are 17,000 devices and 24,000 public chargepoints: 2,400 of them are rapid chargepoints.

Matt Farah Porsche 911

Rally-ready Porsche 911 is the perfect commuter car

Matt Farah Porsche 911

Many think the answer to speed humps and potholed roads is a crossover. They’re wrong. The correct answer is a ‘Safari’ Porsche 911, as auto journalist Matt Farah has discovered in Los Angeles.

Glamorous it may be, but Los Angeles has one thing in common with Britain: how damaged its road network is. Farah sought to find a solution.

”Although we are blessed with places like the Angeles Forest and Malibu Canyons, two of the finest places on Earth to drive a sports car, the city itself is a nightmare,” Farah explains.

“The infrastructure is crumbling, repairs are rarely thorough, the freeway expansion joints are a sports car owner’s worst nightmare, and for a city as ‘spread out’ as LA is, it’s awfully crowded all the time. It can be a real challenge in low, modern sports cars.”

A baja-bashing Ford Raptor might have been a more obvious choice than a 911. However, such a truck would be more difficult to thread through LA than the compact, classic Porsche.

Matt Farah Porsche 911

“I wanted something like the Raptor, but smaller, so the obvious answer was a rally car. Once I drove Leh Keen’s personal Safari 911, it was like a light bulb moment.”

Keen is a builder of go-anywhere Porsche 911s, aping the classic ‘Safari’ rally cars. Farah had a taste of the first build a few years ago. He then described it as “totally different to what most people think you should be doing with a 911”. Contrarian though the idea is, he was sold on the project: “I sent him a deposit check (sic) almost immediately afterwards”.

Going for an 87-onwards car, Farah wanted to ensure a better gearshift feel, and be able to pick the colour. Keen can handle the job from start to finish, including sourcing a car, if the buyer wants. Matt’s is a 1987 Carrera 3.2 in Cassis Red, a desirable colour preserved underneath a wrap.

Building a ‘Safari’ Porsche 911Matt Farah Porsche 911

Turning a sports car into a diet dune buggy is no small job: the parts list is extensive. Front to back, it features bash bars, skid plates, rally light pods, shaved side door mirrors, tucked bumpers, Braid Motorsport Fuchs-style wheels, Elephant Racing Safari suspension, a Quaife limited-slip differential and BF Goodrich K02 tyres. It’s jacked-up, jump-ready and looks the absolute business.

On the inside, Matt made a bold but practical choice for the trim. Replacing the burgundy leather is commercial-grade LA city bus fabric, designed for 20 years of constant wear. “It’ll probably outlast the rest of the car,” he says.

There were worries it wouldn’t match the rest of the burgundy leather that was retained (headliner, door uppers, dashboard upper and base carpet), but it turned out well. Even the new Momo Prototipo steering wheel was trimmed to match the burgundy, and apparently took 20 attempts to get right.

From the Baja to the boulevardMatt Farah Porsche 911

You can keep your Audi A1 Citycarver, or your Vauxhall Adam Rocks. Matt Farah has helped create the perfect city car. “It is literally my daily driver,” he concludes.

“I recently loaded three bushels of firewood behind the rear seats. I mean – it’s not meant for attacking the canyons or going to the racetrack, it’s meant for going to the shops, driving to my office, running errands and then taking to the dirt for some fun. It really is the best parts of a Baja truck and the best parts of an air-cooled 911.”