Drivers paying out £73 million due to underinsuranceNew research from Sainsbury's Car Insurance

29 November 2011


Drivers have paid £368 million extra as their policies haven't covered common claims

New research from Sainsbury's car insurance suggests that motorists collectively fork out over £73m a year over and above their car insurance premiums because they find themselves underinsured.

The survey highlights that some car owners are sacrificing vital levels of cover because they don't shop around for good quality car insurance cover as well as competitive premiums. It also reveals that motorists are instead only looking for the cheapest available premium when purchasing car insurance.

In the last five years drivers have been forced to pay out over £368 million because their car insurance policies did not cover them for a range of common claims.

Sainsbury's main findings were as follows:

  • The research reveals that over the past five years over a million people have had to pay an average of £170.67 each or collectively £172.4m for a courtesy car so that, after an accident, they could continue with their every day lives without disruption.
  • Some 820,000 people have had to pay for alternative transport to their destination following an accident in their car, paying an average of £123 each, totalling £101m.
  • Over 660,000 motorists forked out a collective £65.8m, on average £99.33 each, for lost or stolen car keys because their policy didn't provide cover for this eventuality.
  • Cover for replacing child car seats is missing from three quarters of car insurance policies (74%), resulting in over 230,000 drivers being forced to pay out £29m, or £123.94 each on average.

Look at quality and price

Ben Tyte, head of Sainsbury's car insurance, said: 'When choosing a car insurance provider it is vital motorists compare policies on a like-for-like basis; looking at price alone could have disastrous consequences. Of course, getting the most competitive price is important and we'd always urge motorists to shop around, but they need to make sure that this doesn't result in a false economy.

Paul Davies, insurance analyst at Which?, added: 'When we choose Which? car insurance Recommended Providers we look at both the quality of the policy as well as the insurer's customer satisfaction score. It's important that you carry out your research when arranging your car insurance to make sure that the chosen policy covers all the elements that you'd expect. Cheaper policies will often not include important features as standard.'

More on this...

  • Which? car insurance Recommended Providers - check out the insurance companies that we recommend
  • Find the best car insurance - how to cut car insurance premiums and get the right cover for you
  • Car insurance slip-ups that could cost you money - common mistakes that can increase your costs