Half of drivers would not report minor accidents to their insurer

Would you inform your insurer about a minor accident where you don't need to make a claim?

Most motor insurance policies state that any accident or damage to the vehicle should be notified to the insurance provider -- and failing to do so could result in the policy being cancelled.

But in a survey of 1,500 motorists by LexisNexis Risk Solutions, 58% of motorists said they wouldn't inform their insurer about a minor accident if the repairs cost less than their policy excess.

Only 21% would 'definitely' or 'probably' report a minor incident to their motor insurance provider, and only one in three (33%) said they would report a minor, non-claim incident involving another vehicle.

The older the driver, the less likely they are to report the incident -- almost seven in ten (68%) drivers over the age of 55 would not report a minor incident, compared with four in ten (39%) of those aged 18 to 24.

In particular, motorists who have not made a claim within the past five years and those who have never made a claim are less likely to report such an incident.

While some consumers simply won't be aware of the rules, the findings suggest that fear over premiums rising could be one reason drivers keep minor accidents to themselves.

Just over half (52%) of motorists said they would not expect providers to take account of a minor, non-claim incident when pricing insurance. But among those who do think there would be an impact on price, 60% expect premiums to increase and only 8% think a decrease would follow in return for 'honesty'.

"Consumers understandably feel nervous declaring information that could result in premium increases," said James Burton, product director at LexisNexis Risk Solutions, UK and Ireland.

"This is a real concern as many motorists could be invalidating their policy, when instead they need to look at the bigger picture where factors such as the size of the claim, driving history, fault and policy details more often determine premium increases after claims."