As the UK starts to bid farewell to heatwaves and sunshine, the automotive claims industry is gearing up for the annual increase in workload. Winter brings with it a spike in vehicle claims, so it’s important for insurers to be ready for what’s to come.
As the colder winter months close in,the worry of being involved in a vehicle accident is a very real thought for most drivers. Tricky weather conditions such as heavy snow, rainfall, hail and ice, are all major contributors to a rise in insurance claims at this time of year, so it’s important to be extra vigilant of the perils of the road and what to do if the worst happens.
For insurers, this means being prepared for an increase in claims being passed through. For repairs, it means ensuring all parts are ordered with plenty of time, slots are allocated for difficult jobs and all technicians are fully trained in vehicle repairs.
So let’s take a deeper drive into this, exploring just why automotive insurance claims peak so much during the winter months, and what it means for the supply chain.
Why are there more vehicle insurance claims during winter?
As highlighted in the recent road safety data report by the Department for Transport (DfT), key factors such as poor lighting and road conditions lead to an increase in road traffic accidents and vehicle insurance claims during the winter months in particular.
The ‘Reported Road Casualties in Great Britain’ report highlights that accidents which occur when driving in fog or mist have the highest accident severity rate, with 27% involving a serious collision, followed by a 23% accident severity rate when it’s snowing. It also highlights a 14% severity rate when driving in high winds; a significant concern for HGVs as their high profile means that they are more vulnerable to being blown over, causing damage to cargo but – more importantly – posing a serious risk to life.
Aside from weather conditions, the lack of light during the winter months can also cause an impact too, with the data showing a severe accident rate of 37% when driving in the dark without light at all. This is despite there being generally less traffic on the roads when it’s dark, as it makes distance and speed much harder to judge accurately.
How much of an increase in claims can insurers expect?
Covéa Insurance have released their latest findings, indicating that drivers are between 25%-33% more likely to make a claim on their automotive insurance during winter.
This comes from analysis of more than 140,000 motor claims made over a 3-year period, which shows that drivers are 25% on average more likely to make a claim between the months of November-February, though increasing to 33% during severe winter weather.
What’s more, recent weather reports from the Met Office suggests that the UK could be facing one of the worst winters for five years, including long periods of snow and ice, which in turn could lead to potentially more treacherous conditions for motorists this winter.
Do all vehicle insurance policies cover winter claims?
Comprehensive cover will typically allow for accidents caused by snow and ice, whilst third-party policies may request drivers to pay for repairs themselves.
However, it’s important for drivers to remember, that any kind of accident in winter weather could negatively impact a no claims bonus, and all motorists are advised to take extra care when behind the wheel.
Will the cost-of-living crisis impact vehicle repairs throughout winter?
The truth is, quite possibly yes.
Latest research by Bumper has found that UK drivers spent an astonishing £18 billion overall on car repairs last year, with an average of £803 spent per vehicle repair. However, with the cost-of-living crisis impacting both households and businesses across the country, Brits are more wary than ever about spending any more than they need to.
For drivers, this means navigating repair costs to pay as little as possible, or even holding off on having work done on their vehicles all together. What’s more, Halfords have also warned that the cost-of-living crisis is creating a physical risk to road safety, as drivers buy older cars, struggle with maintenance costs and as a result, make on average more insurance claims.
For repairers, however, the rise in the cost-of-living means that the expenses of running a bodyshop throughout the winter months leave a constant worry about being able to pay for increased energy costs. After all, powering equipment, electricity, technology, gas and water, are essential when it comes to completing any vehicle repairs.
Relying on your supply chain
At GT Motive, our cloud-based estimating solution allows our customers to instantly access the exact right data they need, from any location that has web access. Whether that be insurers demanding accuracy, or repairers seeking comprehensive information.
To ensure complete accuracy, we constantly update our data points to ensure our entire supply chain have the most precise data, always. This includes new vehicle models being added bi-weekly to our OEM prices, which helps us offer a 96-98% car parc coverage, making our system a highly reliable tool for a claims department.
That’s because we understand that automotive and insurance players don’t just need this data, they need to be able to access it from anywhere at any time. As a result, insurers and bodyshops alike, all rely on our estimating solution to support them when they need it most.
Our goal is to help create a smooth process for all stakeholders throughout for your busiest period, by improving efficiencies throughout the entire claims journey so your customers can experience a quick repair, and get back on the road as quickly as possible.
But don’t just take our word for it; try it for yourself.