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SETTLING COSTS PRIVATELY: Drivers sidestepping insurers to preserve no claims discounts

Updated: Jun 6

Motorists involved in car accidents are increasingly choosing to settle costs privately to maintain their no claims discount and avoid premium hikes, according to industry experts.

Insurance comparison experts from report that 53% of drivers have never claimed on their car insurance. They attribute this trend to motorists' concerns over the rising costs of premiums and a desire to minimise financial impact.

A recent survey revealed that nearly one in four drivers admitted to paying for minor incidents out of pocket to protect their no claims discount. analysed 100,000 car insurance policies from January 2023 to 2024 across various UK regions. Their data showed that drivers are making less than one claim per year on average.

The study found the average number of claims to be higher amongst female drivers, though the proportion of claims remains low. The highest average for female drivers was just 0.19 claims.

Regions such as the West Midlands, London, South East England, East of England, and Yorkshire were identified as the areas most likely to make claims, yet all averages stayed below one claim annually.

Greg Wilson, CEO and car insurance expert, said: “Drivers have always been keen to protect their no claims bonus – especially now when the average UK premium has risen to £956, so the low average claims rating is not surprising as people scramble to help keep premiums as low as possible.  


“A recent Quotezone survey showed 53% of drivers have never claimed on their car insurance, with 23% saying they had paid for smaller incidents themselves to protect their no claims discount.


“Our research of 100,000 car insurance policies discovered drivers across UK regions are making less than 1 claim per year on average. 


“If you have been in an accident, settling outside of your insurance could seem like the cheaper, more efficient way to handle things. However, incidents that appear to be minor, may be more serious than you think, settling the claim yourself may seem to be protecting your no claims discount but it could put you at greater financial risk. 


“Either way, drivers must report the incident to their insurer within 24 hours or risk invalidating their insurance – even if they don’t want to make a claim. The most important thing is to be completely transparent with your insurance provider. 


“It’s one of the biggest influences on premium price so it’s important people track their driving history, especially their no claims.  Knowing exactly what savings they’re entitled to will help them negotiate a better deal – if in any doubt they can contact their current insurer or the Motor Insurers’ Bureau to access their historical driving data.


“Normally protected discounts allow drivers to make up to two claims within a three to five year period without losing their no claims discount, but this can vary between insurers so be careful and look at the specifics when switching providers.”


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