Drivers not reporting accidents to keep insurance costs down

By Jason Lloyd
News entry dated 17th May 2017

A recent Gocompare.com survey highlighted the topic of “fronting.” This is where the parent of a young driver puts him/herself down as a named driver to reduce the insurance premium. Not only is this illegal, it also invalidates the policy. However, around 16% of respondents admitted having done it, with a further 38% stating that they would do so in the future.

This got the team at PetrolPrices.com thinking about what else people do to keep their insurance premiums down, including actions that are illegal and would thus invalidate the policy. One such action is to lie about your occupation, as nobody ever checks this information (though we’re not sure that doing so is illegal). Another is to avoid reporting minor accidents.

PetrolPrices.com conducted a survey of our own this week to investigate the scale of unreported accidents. The results were extremely revealing.

Survey reveals alarming trend

We asked members if they would inform their insurer about every accident, or knowingly withhold information about an accident if they knew that doing so would keep the cost of their premium from going up.

72% of respondents said they would inform their insurer about every accident that happens.

We then asked whether they knew it was illegal not to inform their insurer of every accident. An astonishing 28% of respondents claimed they were unaware of this.

Interestingly, 41% said that they would avoid telling their insurer about a minor bump or scrape if they knew it would make their premium go up.

Alarmingly, 18% went so far as to state that they would withhold information from their insurer if it meant a lower premium, even if they knew they legally had to report it.

The results suggest that many people are unaware of what they need to report to an insurer. This implies that there are literally thousands of unreported accidents occurring every year.

A risky business

Although it may seem like a good idea to try and keep premiums low, not informing your insurer about a minor accident could damage your wallet more in the long run. If an insurance provider finds out you have withheld information from them, your future premiums (from them and any other insurer) will skyrocket.

Not only that, but failure to report an accident is a criminal offence. It carries a maximum fine of £5,000 and a possible five to ten points on your licence, depending on the circumstances. The courts can also disqualify a driver if the offence was in conjunction with failure to stop, or leaving the scene of an accident.

With such severe potential consequences, it is shocking that so many drivers are unaware of how and when they need to inform their insurer when it comes to minor accidents. It is crucial that you report any form of accident you have been involved in to your insurer. In addition, it’s important to understand the relevant terms and conditions of your insurance policy. Each insurer has different rules concerning timeframes and what constitutes an accident. If in doubt, it’s better to over-report than fail to report.

What do you think about these findings? Is it worth taking the risk to keep your premiums down? What do you think is the difference between a minor or a major accident? Let us know in the comments section below.

Image Credit – Pixabay 

 

 

Comments

18 Comments on "Drivers not reporting accidents to keep insurance costs down"

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Joel Brayford
Joel Brayford
the system is stupid and needs overhauling. my car had a minor bump. it was hit in a carpark by someone and they just drove off. the damage was minimal and i ended up repairing it without going through insurance. yet being the honest person i am i did declare it to my insurance at renewal as it said “even if in the event no claim was made” my insurance premium went up by £70??? why? im no different a risk before? it was a public carpark! so for my honesty i’m being penalised. while probably more risky drivers keep… Read more »
Chris Hughes
Chris Hughes
Why, if when stationary and rear-ended into the stationary car in front, is my insurance increased? My car was a right-off, I ended up in hospital and it was accepted that the accident was not my fault in any way shape or form. Apparently now this has happened I am more accident prone – so just another reason for the insurers to get more money. I also had my insurance increased years ago when a red kite (bird) hit me on the M40. It was added as a ‘my fault’ claim – unless I could get the other side to… Read more »
John Civ
John Civ

Seems to me that insurance companies want to screw you every which way they can. The biggest ripoff is when you get done for speeding, SP30, and they whack your insurance up , claiming you are are a higher risk, regardless of whether you have ever had an accident.

james pound
james pound

I had a lorry hit the rear drivers side of my last car pulling away from a roundabout. No witnesses so it was dealt with on a 50/50 basis (despite being a rear collision). My premium went up £500 a year. The car that was an economic write off was worth less than £500 and the lorry driver was only 3rd party, was there any point in reporting it? Lesson learned!!

casimir ehlas
casimir ehlas

This system is stupid,I asked one insurance company if for instance someone scratches my car in a supermarket car park & I don`t put in a claim so they don`t pay anything out as I repair any damage myself why must they be informed & the answer was we want to know all incidents,WHY if it costs them nothing should I tell them, this is just down to greed so the company can say you had an incident we are increasing your premium, A LOAD OF BULL***T.

Geoffrey Headley
Geoffrey Headley
I have only ever not reported one accident, an articulated lorry ran into the rear of my car when I was stationery waiting to turn right. I could see no damage to the rear of my very sturdy Rover 75 ( I also have a tow bracket fitted, which I am sure took most of the impact).We exchanged.no details, I felt sorry for the other driver. I did however find a tiny dint on the edge of my boot when shampooing some time later?? Having read the above I will certainly in future report all to my Insurers where at… Read more »
Werner Schulz
Werner Schulz

Seems there is some misunderstanding here. You probably have to report even minor accidents to your insurer – NOT necessarily to the police, as the article points out.
Insurance companies share basic accident details (probably in some central register), so even if you switch to another insurer they can track accidents over the last 5 years when you apply for a policy.

John Shepherd
John Shepherd
Firstly,I have always understood that accidents/incidents are only reported to the police when there is an actual injured party. The T’s&C’s of a car insurance policy state that all accidents/incidents MUST be reported to your insurance company. Some years back during a very severe winter of rain,snow,sleet and freezing cold conditions my car was involved in an ‘incident’. My car was nudged from behind by a neighbours car after it was hit quite hard by a run-away car that had slid down the hill backwards with the handbrake applied and the car in in 1st gear and with the front… Read more »
Norman Howe
Norman Howe
A friend of mine was involved in an accident where a young bloke on a motorcycle went into the front of her car after no seeing her on a roundabout. He didn’t want to report the accident to the insurance and said his Dad would pay for the damage as his insurance would go through the roof. But his Dad didn’t back him up and it’s now going through the insurance. But when it was reported to the Police they didn’t want to know they don’t have the funds or the time nowadays to be dealing with every accident that… Read more »
C W
C W

You state it is a criminal offencel not to report accidents. I’m not 100% sure of the current situation but as far as I know this is only true if you do not inform the 3rd party, I.e. The other driver. If you can both agree about who pays for the repairs and no one is injured you do not have to report it to the police.

K Simpson
K Simpson

Although we all hope it never happens, it’s incumbent on us all to report accidents.
Our solution. Cameras all round. Get evidence, and if the insurers won’t deal with it fairly, then sue them.

Khurram Butt
Khurram Butt
Well, This insurance market is a big Scam a look like. They pretend they becoming more secure but they are not, they getting ready to take more and more money out from people. This topic is also invested by them to make people more scare. Even thou these online websites are also Made by them and invested by them. Who share all your information with third parties and u have to bear that pain for 5 years. Accident is like a Criminal offence now a days which put u in trouble every year when u renew or change your company.… Read more »
Kevin O'connor
Kevin O'connor
I agree. We were involved in an incident. A car rolled back into our stationary car and totalled it. We were on a tpft policy and advised our insurance firm. They then put it on the cue database as an at fault incident unbeknownst to us. Since then have another policy with someone else and unwittingly ticked the no claims in last however long. This was flagged when they checked and want to jack up the policy by nearly 400 notes. Now have just danced through many many hoops to get this cleared. Will know in a few days I… Read more »
Ken Carson
Ken Carson

I agree with Andrew Sadler, this article is badly written, misleading and simply wrong. You do not have to report all accidents to the police.

Jason Lloyd
Jason Lloyd

Its not wrong, please read the article again.

Eddy Lerpiniere
Eddy Lerpiniere

As the user of a communal car park where I live, and where parking bays are narrow, I find that non-registered users of the car park frequently cause minor bumps and scrapes to my car, and many other residents vehicles, and drive off without leaving details for us to claim for repairs. This has meant that all four corners of my Mercedes now need scuff repairs completing and other residents require side panel dents removing at our own cost. Society seems to be far less caring if others property than say even 25 years ago.

andrew Sadler
andrew Sadler

I don’t believe this article is correct. I was involved in a minor accident and went to the police station. I was told it was up to me if I wanted to report it and was given a 20 page questionnaire to do so and post in if I wanted to. They were not interested. I posted the paperwork to the other driver, whose fault it was, and said he could if he wanted.

Jason Lloyd
Jason Lloyd

The article is not about reporting to the police, its reporting to the insurer.

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