If Chancellor Osborne’s Autumn Statement can be believed, he’s going to give us all a break on our car insurance premiums.
Normally when I hear something like that, my first response is “pull the other one.” However, there may just be something to this: car insurance rates could drop by as much as £50 per annum if the whiplash claim clampdown Mr Osborne announced in the Autumn Statement actually comes to fruition. The secret, according to the chancellor, is to eliminate the right to claim cash damages for those suffering minor injuries in car accidents involving whiplash. While this spells terrible news for anyone who’s legitimately injured in such an accident, the problem of fraudulent car insurance claims – especially those involving whiplash – are draining the coffers of car insurance companies in the UK. In fact, the Association of British Insurers says it’s resulting in losses of £2 billion every year.
So what’s that translate to in real-world figures that you can wrap your head around? Well, insurance giant Aviva says that it has to deal with something like 44 suspicious motor car insurance claims on a daily basis – or more than 16,000 a year. 4 out of every 5 claims in the UK are made for soft tissue injuries like whiplash, claims Aviva, which is pure madness considering France only experiences 3 per cent of its claims as whiplash.
So what’s that mean? Are Brits just absolutely rubbish motorists? Are these figures from France even accurate? To be completely honest I’m not terribly concerned. If there’s going to be a reduction in average car insurance price by eliminating compensation awards for small-scale soft tissue injuries this could save more than a bit of dosh. Of course on the other hand this is a thumb in the eye to anyone who’s actually had to deal with a real case of whiplash, which, truth be told, can be painful and debilitating. Once again it’s just a case of a few absolute bastards ruining it for the rest of us. It’s bloody infuriating is what it is!
If there was a better, more surefire way to actually detect and diagnose soft tissue injuries like whiplash this wouldn’t be such a big issue. The problem is there’s really not much in the way of tests that can be done to provide evidence of such injuries. This makes it all too easy for scammers to pull one over on an insurer. The only tool to combat them is to throw the baby out with the soiled bathwater. It’s terrible, but I don’t see any other alternative that would help car insurance companies differentiate legitimate from fraudulent claims, do you?