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Car insurance claims prevented by no-claims bonus fears

26 August 2009 / by Rachael Stiles

A fear of losing the no claims bonus on a car insurance policy is enough to put off more than a third of drivers from making a claim, research from Confused.com has found.

The price comparison website’s study found that motorists perceive making a car insurance claim as resulting in higher premiums, whilst also entailing the loss of their no claims bonus, making car insurance altogether a more expensive business.

In fact, 38 per cent of motorists are so concerned about pushing up the cost of their car insurance, that they will resist making a claim.

And, Confused.com says that when a no claims bonus can knock 50 per cent or more off the cost of car insurance, this can be a shrewd move if the cost of the excess and the loss of the no claims bonus work out to be more expensive that the cost of repairs.

The research also found that there is a significant age gap between those who are more likely to claim and those who would pick up the bill themselves to avoid losing their no claims bonus.

With young drivers already facing considerably more expensive car insurance premiums than their more experienced counterparts, they are much more likely to avoid making a claim, with 66 per cent of those aged 18-24 admitting that they fall into this category.

Conversely, the over 55s are more inclined to make use of their car insurance, regardless of the affect it could have on their premiums, with 65 per cent saying that they would make a claim if the cost of the repairs was greater than the excess.

Confused.com explains that when there is no third party involved in an accident and the onus is on the policyholder to use their insurance or pay for the damage themselves, those facing expensive repairs or the cost of replacing the vehicle should make use of having car insurance in place, but when the cost of the damage is minimal or not significantly more than the excess, the driver should consider paying for it themselves.

Will Thomas, head of Confused.com car insurance, said that whilst it is important to weigh up the benefits of making a claim and the potential impact on premiums, people should not be deterred from making a claim when they need to.

“The no claims bonus is useful when it comes to getting a reasonable quote and is easily transferrable from insurance provider to insurance provider, but there are other ways of driving the cost down in the event that claiming is unavoidable,” he said. “By shopping around for the best policy, taking into account what excess can be afforded and what benefits would be required, including the option to protect no claims, drivers can make sure they are getting the most suitable policy at the best possible price.”

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