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.”

Volkswagen launches three-year fixed price insurance plan

Volkswagen launches fixed price insurance

A new fixed-price insurance scheme is available to drivers of passenger-carrying Volkswagen commercial vehicles.

Research shows that 40 percent of owners switch insurance provider every year because loyalty isn’t rewarded. This costs the nation an estimated £4.1bn in excess premiums, says the Financial Conduct Authority and Competitions and Market Authority.

Volkswagen’s fixed-price insurance offer is available on new and used passenger-carrying vehicles. This includes the Caddy Life, Caddy Maxi Life, Shuttle, Caravelle, California and Grand California.

The fixed-price scheme secures the renewal price for two cycles, meaning it remains the same for the duration of the contract. The price will only go up or down if your circumstances change.

Not that the customer is locked into a three-year deal. Customers are free to cancel or switch, as they would with any other insurance policy. Any repairs as part of a claim are carried out using Volkswagen genuine parts.

‘Hassle, worry and stress-free’

Volkswagen California update 2019

Tom Macintyre, brand manager for Volkswagen Commercial Vehicle Financial Services, said: “We are responding directly to customer feedback with this insurance offer, which rewards loyalty. We believe owning a vehicle – whether it’s a Caravelle, Caddy Life or California – should be hassle, worry, and stress-free and allowing our customers to secure a fixed price on their annual insurance for three years offers exactly that.”

Audi launched a similar scheme in December. Policies are available for new and used cars, with Audi making similar claims about saving customers from shopping around for renewal deals.

Car insurance is one of the biggest costs of motoring, so it pays secure a good deal. Click here to read our extensive guide to saving money on your car insurance. Our advice includes everything from buying the right car to getting older.

The cheapest places to insure a car in the UK

Where in the UK cheapest car insurance

Many factors come into play when it comes to car insurance, including where you live. Indeed, your postcode could have the biggest impact on your quote.

An insurer will have data on your area, including accident, damage and car theft figures. If you’re in a hotspot, you can expect a steep premium.

Here are the best places in the UK for car insurance, as compiled by CompareTheMarket.

The 10 cheapest areas for car insuranceWhere in the UK cheapest car insurance

By and large, it’s England’s south west that wins the battle for cheap insurance. The average yearly premium for five of the local authorities in this area is £490.

Bar Scotland and Norfolk, the top 10 cheapest places to insure your car are exclusively south-western.

  1. Caradon (Cornwall)
  2. West Devon
  3. South Hams (Devon)
  4. East Devon
  5. West Somerset
  6. North Devon
  7. North Norfolk
  8. Teignbridge (Devon)
  9. Scottish Borders
  10. Stroud

Where in the UK cheapest car insurance

As for where is the most expensive? It’s probably not surprising that London dominates here. The London’ borough of Newham has the highest typical premium, at a massive £1,464.

However, not counting the capital, Manchester (£1,260) and Birmingham (£1,173) are up there, along with Luton (£1,165). The former two are the next biggest cities after London. Generally speaking, proximity to these areas doesn’t help your chances of cheap insurance, as you can see on the above map.

Motorists overpaying on insurance by £1.2billion

“It’s common knowledge that the age and value are key variables in determining car insurance quotes, but location also plays a major role,” said Dan Hutson, head of motor at CompareTheMarket.

“The right policy for one person may be different for a friend or family member down the road, even if they live on the same street. Our research reveals that shopping around three weeks ahead of time is usually the cheapest way to buy or renew your car insurance.”

Pass Plus: the car insurance money-saving myth

Pass plus doesn't make car insurance cheaper

Pass Plus. It’s an option of additional training many newly qualified drivers are given to reduce their insurance premiums. But does it really save you money? 

According to MoneySuperMarket, drivers see little to no difference in their premiums as a result of having Pass Plus to their name. The comparison website analysed 50,000 car insurance quotes between May and July 2019. It revealed that, on average, providers didn’t change their prices when customers swap between ‘Full UK’ and ‘Full UK with Pass Plus’ for their licence.

Car insurance October 2019

This is significant, given a Pass Plus training course costs between £150 and £200. Obviously such a course isn’t purely in the interest of saving money; extra training behind the wheel is never a bad thing. However, perceived savings have been a strong selling point in the past.

“Although people assume that doing additional driving courses such as Pass Plus can reduce your premiums, our research shows that it actually makes no difference for the average person,” said Rachel Wait, consumer affairs spokesperson at MoneySuperMarket.

Expensive professions insurance

Do note Wait’s reference to “the average person”. For many younger drivers, Plus Pass is of some benefit. 

“The best way to save on car insurance is to shop around and compare quotes from different providers,” says Wait.

Car insurance: fitting a black box costs older drivers MORE

Black Box insurance

When it comes to car insurance, the telematics black box is considered a bit of a last resort for many young drivers. They’re popular, though, given the cost savings that can be made.

Should we all have black boxes in our cars, then? That’s what new research by MoneySuperMarket has looked into, and the results are curious. It seems black boxes aren’t a universal friend of insurance premiums.

Young driver insurance premiums

If you’re under 30, black boxes do usually lower insurance costs. For those aged 17-19 and 20-24, the effect is substantial: a respective 41 and 28 percent saving on the average premium cost.

That means the youngest drivers can save just under £800 on their typical premium of £2,079. For 20-24 year-olds, a black box could get their premium down below £1,000, from £1,380 to begin with.

For 25-29 year-olds, the returns diminish. A mere 2.4 percent can be saved on average if you’re in this age bracket. That represents a measly £20.

Black boxes that make insurance costlierOlder drivers shouldn't be demonised

Things take a dramatic nose dive with older drivers. Among 30-39 year-olds, premiums increase by 22 percent – from £590, on average, to more than £700.

It gets so much worse, too. Premiums for those aged 40-49 jump 46 percent with telematics, from £435 to £634. If you’re 50 or older, don’t even think about it: a black box could add a massive 71 percent, or 77 percent if you’re over 65.

older drivers insurance

No surprise, then, that it’s ‘starter’ cars black boxes are fitted to the most – Vauxhall Corsas (12 percent of black boxes) and Ford Fiestas (nine percent).

“If you’re under the age of 24, our research reveals that telematics could be a good option, with potential savings of up to £855,” said Rachel Wait, consumer affairs spokesperson at MoneySuperMarket.

“If you’re an older driver, however, a telematics policy may not be the most cost-efficient way to take out a car insurance policy, which is why shopping around is so important.”

Risky business: why footballers pay the most for car insurance

Expensive professions insurance

New research reveals which professions pay the most on your car insurance. And it’s bad news for footballers, but great news for exam invigilators.

Indeed, what you do for work can have an enormous effect on the premium you pay. The top 10 most expensive professions don’t pay less than £1,000, on average, with a peak of nearly £2,000 for footballers.

Contrast that with the 10 least expensive, which don’t rise above £300, with invigilators paying a low of £252.

How does your job affect your car insurance?

Insurance price comparison premiums

Car insurers aren’t being presumptuous about how safe, or unsafe, your profession makes you as a driver. They analyse the thousands of quotes and claims they’ve previously dealt with to assess the risk.

Here are the top 10, with the top five bullet-pointed and the lower five in the paragraph below. Each profession listed was recorded a minimum of 200 times on MoneySuperMarket between October 2018 and October 2019.

Young driver insurance premiums

Most expensive to insure

1.Professional footballer£1,978
3.Fast food delivery driver£1,291
4.Scrap dealer£1,286

The sixth to 10th respectively are: car wash attendant, student (home), town clerk, doorman and carpenter’s assistant. Their average premiums range from £1,237 to £1,099.

Cheapest to insure

2.Newspaper delivery driver£268
4.Curtain maker£278

The sixth to 10th cheapest are: guest house proprietor, medical secretary, registrar, chiropodist and T-shirt printers. They range from £284 to £294.

Needless to say, a great number of other factors come into play. Consider for instance, the type of car you are insuring. Someone putting ‘professional footballer’ as their occupation is more likely getting quotes to insure a Ferrari than, say, a curtain maker. Therefore, the average cost of a quote is likely to be much higher.

That’s even more true when you consider another couple of factors: age and experience. Professional footballers tend to be younger and, as such, have fewer years on their licences.

Insurance price comparison premiums

“Our research shows that footballers have the highest insurance premiums, which is to be expected, given they often drive very expensive cars,” said Rachel Wait, consumer affairs spokesperson at MoneySuperMarket

“However, it is surprising to see the high rates paid by more ‘everyday’ professions – such as delivery drivers and car wash attendants. Insurance companies keep massive amounts of information on the claims they’ve paid in the past, which then influences the way they calculate a premium. As a result, some professions are seen as more of a risk and can be charged more.

“That being said, if you’re in one of these job roles, don’t panic. There are still ways to make savings on your car insurance, such as shopping around at the point of renewal.”

When to renew your car insurance to save money

When to renew on car insurance to save money

New research reveals when it’s best to renew your car insurance. Renewing three weeks before a policy is due to expire saves £339, on average.

Those who wait until the day renewal is due will pay an average of £775, says comparison website CompareTheMarket. If they had bought a new policy three weeks earlier, the same motorist would pay £436. 

Despite the savings that can be made, there is still a last-minute culture when it comes to car insurance. Apparently, 35 percent of motorists wait until the day before their policy ends to search for a new quote, meaning they pay £660 on average, or £224 more than they need to. Only three percent searched for a new policy three weeks in advance of the cover elapsing. Insurance price comparison premiums

If you leave it longer, however, you could potentially pay more. The average premium leapt to more than £500 for motorists who began their search for insurance four weeks in advance.

“The price of insurance goes through extraordinary fluctuations throughout the year, but not by coincidence,” said Dan Hutson, head of motor insurance at CompareTheMarket.

“The cost of a policy is very fluid and reflects the level of demand in the market at that moment, along with a variety of factors based on a person’s risk profile.”

What time of year is best to insure?

Insurance price comparison premiums

According to CompareTheMarket, December is a no-go zone if you want the best premiums on your car insurance. Prices drop in January, then steadily climb throughout the year, before peaking in the festive month.

Prices averaged across 11 months of the year were compared with December prices for the last five years. The results show that in 2015 and 2016, December was £100 more expensive than the rest of the year.

Things have improved in recent years, but there was still a difference of around £50 for 2017, and £70 for 2018. What’s the reason for this?

“In December, when most people aren’t thinking about insurance, the demand is a lot lower and so insurers seem to charge much higher prices,” says Hutson. 

“This then dramatically reduces in January as providers look to attract customers again when they start looking at their bills after the Christmas break.”


Doctors and priests among most dangerous drivers

Britain's most dangerous drivers

New car insurance data reveals which professions make for the most dangerous drivers on UK roads – and the safest, too. The analysis was based on 7.8 million enquiries to MoneySuperMarket over the past 12 months.

By counting up offences per 1,000 drivers in specific professions, the data established which drivers pose the most risk.

Concerningly, medical advisors came fifth, with 2.75 driving offences per 1,000 drivers. Perhaps more worryingly, depending on your faith, is that priests are fourth, with 2.76 driving offences per 1,000 people.

Britain's most dangerous drivers

Beginning the top three however, there’s a significant jump up to more than four offences per 1,000 drivers. Tyre technicians and car dealers score 4.05 and 4.06 respectively.

By far the most dangerous, however, are loaders – people who load and unload goods in places like warehouses. They have a dangerous driving rate of 7.21 offences per 1,000 drivers.

By the same metric, some of the safest drivers are lawyers, headteachers, demolition workers and veterinary surgeons. Also included in that list, perhaps surprisingly, are professional footballers. Along with the above, they typically have zero convictions for dangerous driving.

The lowest offence rate more generally is for those who are 65 or older, with 0.02 offences per 1,000 drivers. The highest, rising in a linear fashion as the age groups get younger, is 20-24 year-olds, with 0.49. Only beyond 40 years old does the rate dip below 0.1 offences. 

Britain's most dangerous drivers

“Our research goes to show that you can never make any assumptions about drivers and their behaviour,” said Emma Garland, data scientist at MoneySuperMarket.

“If you feel that your driving is putting yourself or others at risk, you should consider some refresher lessons to improve your driving skills and knowledge of the Highway Code. If you’ve got points on your licence you might find that you’re faced with higher than normal car insurance premiums. We’d recommend shopping around to try and find the best level of cover for your needs.

“Whatever your situation, it’s crucial you ensure you have the correct level of cover at all times.”

Comparison sites add £60 to every car insurance quote

Insurance price comparison premiums

A new study reveals that 88 percent of new and young drivers aren’t aware of the added charges that obtaining insurance from a comparison website incurs. Such websites charge insurance companies a commission for policies sold via their platform.

In total, 61 percent of the 750 drivers surveyed said they believed price comparison websites were the best place to find cheap insurance. Just 11 percent said they contacted insurers independently after getting quotations from a comparison site.

Insurance price comparison premiums

According to Honch, the insurance company behind the research, price comparison sites charge £60 per policy sold via their service. And that cost is passed on to policy buyers.

Unsurprisingly, once informed, 97 percent of those questioned said this was unfair.

Insurance price comparison premiums

“Drivers across the UK are being lulled into a false sense of security by price comparison websites, whose marketing tactics and friendly-faced company mascots can be very disarming,” said Gavin Sewell, CEO of Honcho. “However, these companies know exactly what they’re doing when it comes to squeezing a bit more money out of hard-pressed consumers and cover their tracks well

“We’re relieved that regulatory bodies such as the Financial Conduct Authority are beginning to break their silence on the issues currently plaguing the insurance sector and are looking to put measures in place to restore decorum to the industry.”

Car insurance prices are down, but Brexit looms

Car insurance October 2019

New data has revealed that car insurance premiums fell during the third quarter of 2019. This, following a slight hike in the second quarter, and the sharp drop of the first quarter.

Overall, the average insurance premium is the cheapest it’s been all year in Q3 (July to September): £459 plays £472 for Q2, and £466 for Q1. Overall the Q3 cost, according to MoneySuperMarket, is five percent cheaper than the same period last year.

Is the cost of insurance coming down?

The figures seem to suggest so. It’s the first time since 2015 that the average insurance cost has been below £480 for three successive quarters. That said, there’s always room for increases. 

Young driver insurance premiums

Indeed, there are indications that prices are about to rise. Third party, fire and theft policies have risen on average by a respective seven and six percent. Brexit uncertainty could be blamed for this, given the currency fluctuations it’s caused and questions around imported replacement parts. The increasing expense to repair modern cars is also increasing claim costs and forcing premiums up.

Are gender and age still factors?

Legally, insurers aren’t allowed to discriminate on cost based on gender. Despite this, the average quote for men and women was vastly different in Q3 2019. Men paid £503 on average, which is down by five percent year-on-year. Women meanwhile, paid £412 on average, which is down four percent year-on-year.

Motorists overpaying on insurance by £1.2billion

Gender specifically hasn’t caused this, however. Riskier cars to insure are generally the preserve of male drivers. Women are also making fewer claims, and therefore have longer no-claims periods on average.

Age remains a kicker, especially for young drivers, though prices for the youngest motorists seem to be coming down. Drivers aged between 17 and 19 have seen premiums drop by four percent over the past year, to £991 for fully comprehensive. For everyone under 30, premiums dropped, while they increased for everyone over 30, in Q3 2019.