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Car insurance claims halve during lockdown

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The number of car insurance claims in the second quarter of 2020 fell significantly as fewer car journeys were made during lockdown, data from the Association of British Insurers (ABI) reveals.

There were 324,000 new claims in the second quarter of the year, down 48% on the 678,000 recorded in the previous three months.

While claim payouts also fell (includes existing settled claims from previous quarters), the ABI noted this was at a much slower rate than the number of new claims.

In total, £2.1bn was paid out, 5% down on the previous quarter. However, the value of the average claim jumped 27% to £4,600. The ABI said this was the largest quarter-on-quarter rise on record.

Overall, the average theft and accidental damage claim rose 14% while the average value of personal injury claims leapt 34% to £19,500.

The figures come as the average price paid for comprehensive motor insurance stands at £460 – a four-year low.

Laura Hughes, ABI’s manager, general insurance, said: “Lockdown naturally led to far fewer vehicles on the roads, which is reflected in the fall in the number of motor claims. With the average price of motor insurance currently at a four-year low, insurers have been passing on cost savings to their customers.

“However, cost pressures remain, such as rising vehicle repair costs, reflecting ever more complex vehicle technology and increased vehicle theft. With personal injury costs also continuing to rise, it is important that the whiplash reforms scheduled to be implemented in April 2021 are not delayed further.”

Dan Hutson, head of motor insurance, at said: “The fall in the number of claims is a clear result of the reduced number of cars on the road during the pandemic. While premiums have reduced over the past few month as a result, it is essential that insurers continue to pass on any savings that they receive onto their customers, many of which are struggling financially from the impact of the pandemic.

“According to our Household Financial Confidence Tracker, 17% of households are worried about being able to pay their bills in the coming months. Despite the recent fall in premiums, motor insurance is in danger of becoming an unaffordable luxury for many and this could have significant consequences given the importance of cars in everyday life.”

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