The government is planning to introduce legislation shortly which may result in the typical driver saving £35.00 on their car insurance.
This is all relating to claims for “whiplash injury” and related soft-tissue damage following car accidents.
Over recent years, so-called whiplash injury has become a highly controversial subject in the UK.
The basic facts appear to make puzzling reading:
- the total number of car accidents has fallen in the UK over the last 10 years;
- the UK is widely recognised as having some of the safest roads, in terms of accident statistics, in the EU;
- yet the amounts claimed against car insurance policies for injuries has increased by 50% over the last 10 years.
Much of this has been attributed by government and car insurance industry sources to what is termed the “predatory claims” culture that has sprung into existence in the UK in recent times. One symptom of this is the “claims companies” who now contact those who may have been engaged in relatively minor accidents to encourage them to make injury claims.
The reason that whiplash injury and other related soft-tissue injury claims are seen as a particular problem is that under current legislation, there is often no requirement to produce significant medical evidence to support such a claim.
That, combined with the fact that the sums involved are not legally capped, is presumed to be behind the massive increase in claim values and volumes, even though accident numbers are falling overall.
The typical motorist
Although the figures are open to some interpretation and debate, there appears to be a degree of consensus suggesting that fraudulent or at best highly debatable injury claims following car accidents are costing the typical motorist in the UK around £35.00 a year.
As a result, if those claims can be reduced or eliminated, there should be a substantial knock-on benefit to other motorists in terms of premium reductions.
The government is introducing legislation that will essentially do two things:
- limit the amounts payable for whiplash and soft-tissue injury claims;
- in some cases, require supporting medical evidence to justify such claims.
The UK insurance industry has long been campaigning for changes in the law in this area or car insurance.
Almost inevitably when something is proposed that will reduce the amounts that are paid out following a claim, some cynics will state that this appears to be a demand for change driven by profit motive. However, the insurance industry has promised to pass on all savings to motorists in the form of reduced premiums.
It has long been recognized by almost all parties that the compensation claim culture within the domain of motor vehicle accidents has grown phenomenally over recent years. It has been suggested that it is now approaching a situation that is getting out of control and one which is being hugely exploited by unscrupulous parties to the detriment of the vast majority of responsible and honest road users.
It therefore seems likely as if the majority of insurance providers and road users will welcome the government’s initiative and action.