Home Uncategorized Rear-end accidents cost the insurance industry over £500 million a year

Rear-end accidents cost the insurance industry over £500 million a year

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Rear-end accidents are by far the most common type of accident on British roads.  Car insurance expert, Admiral has calculated there are over 420,000 rear-end bumps in the UK each year*, and they account for one in four of all road accidents.

While the percentage of UK motorists having road accidents has been falling steadily for several years**, the number of accidents where one motorist hits another in the rear has not followed this trend, suggesting many motorists are not paying enough attention to the road ahead.

Admiral estimates that rear-end accidents cost the insurance industry over £500 million a year.  This is not only for car repairs or total loss cars but also for personal injury claims.  Around one in ten rear-end accidents cause whiplash for the occupants of the car.  While whiplash alone costs insurers £1.9billion a year and accounts for 75 per cent of all bodily injury claims***.

Admiral managing director, Sue Longthorn, said, “Rear end bangs and shunts are all too common on our roads, I think this is indicative of how many of us drive. On main roads, many drivers don’t leave enough space between themselves and the car in front so if that car brakes they hit them in the rear.  The stopping distance at 40 mph is 36 metres, the equivalent of nine car lengths.

“In built-up areas, where traffic is so slow moving, people tend to get frustrated and drive a little too aggressively. When they do this there is more of a chance they will bump the car in front.”

There is another worrying statistic that could explain the rise in rear-end accidents. The number of staged accidents is rising and rear-end accidents are the easiest to stage. Fraudsters will pull off in traffic or at a junction and then break suddenly. This will cause the car behind them to hit their rear. They will then make a claim for not only car damage but more importantly whiplash. All insurers have reported an increase in this type of fraudulent claim. And while they are vigilant to the signs, fake accidents can be very difficult to prove.

Sue Longthorn, said, “Insurance fraud costs our industry £3 billion a year. Unfortunately this cost has to be met in increased premiums, so it is definitely not a victimless crime. It works out at an additional £40 on everyone’s premium. We’d ask everyone to be vigilant on the roads and just don’t drive too close to the car in front.”

*Based on 24.3% average of accident claims being for rear-end accident and total accidental damage claims in UK 2007.
**Association of British Accidents research shows claims frequency has fallen each year since 2003
***Estimates by the Association of British Insurers 2008.