Suffered a prang and decided to put off repair work until you come into a bit more cash? Well you are not alone. Research by the Accident Exchange has found that while the number of reported car accidents has stayed reasonably level, the number of reported repairs has fallen.
Between 2006 and 2012, the number of accidents reported to the authorities fell by 2.2 per cent. However the number of recorded repairs fell by a massive 21 per cent, which indicates people are still crashing, but aren’t bothering to get repairs done.
Spiralling motoring costs are being blamed for preventing drivers from carrying out necessary repair work, or at least causing them to delay it. People involved in accidents are choosing to settle disputes privately to avoid higher insurance premiums, the loss of no claims bonuses and hefty excess payments. When disputes are settled, victims typically pocket the money instead of paying for repairs.
Of course, a broken mirror or busted lights can be repaired with a bit of DIY knowhow but head-on collisions, for instance, could cause hidden damage that could later jeopardise your safety in the event of future accidents.
A vehicle’s crash box – an area designed to absorb part of the force of impact by crumpling – will only work once. After that, the full force of whatever you hit will go straight to you and your passengers. Even minor damage could become much more costly in the long run. A car’s suspension could collapse, for example, following parts being weakened in prangs that would have been fairly cheap to repair in the first instance.
Steve Evans, the CEO of Accident Exchange, explained: “The double whammy impact of losing their no claims discounts and paying increased excesses on insurance claims has seen the number of private settlements between fault and non-fault drivers rise. The innocent party is then choosing to pocket the money rather than seeking to repair what they see merely as cosmetic damage.”