We are the voice of insurance and long-term savings | Contact us

Pandemic lockdowns lead to fall in motor insurance claims in 2020

  • While overall payouts fell, the average personal injury claim rose by 13%.
  • Motorists continue to benefit from competitive market as the average motor insurance premium remains at a four-year low.
  • Insurers continue to give extra support to motorists during the pandemic.

The number of motor insurance claims settled by insurers in 2020 fell by 19% according to figures published today by the ABI (Association of British Insurers). This unsurprising fall reflected the Covid lockdowns during the year, which led to significantly fewer vehicle journeys.

Total payouts also fell, but at a much lower rate. During 2020 the average personal injury payout rose 13% on the previous year to £12,100

During the same period, the average price paid for private comprehensive motor insurance remained at a four-year low. Throughout the pandemic, motor insurers have been providing a range of extra support and help to their customers.

The figures highlight that, in quarter four, 2020:

-The number of claims settled fell by 13% on the previous quarter to 468,000. The number of claims usually falls in this quarter with fewer vehicles on the roads over the Christmas break.

Overall, in 2020:

-The number of claims settled, at 2.1 million, fell by 19%. Total payouts, at £8.3 billion, reduced by 6% on the previous year. These figures reflect the impact of the national lockdowns with reduced road usage; current figures1. from Government show a 14% fall in road traffic in the year to June 2020.

-The overall average value of a claim paid was £4,000 up from £3,400 in 2019. This 17% rise on 2019 reflected rises in average personal injury and vehicle repair cost claims.

During 2020 the average price paid for private comprehensive motor insurance was £465, remaining at a four-year low.

Laura Hughes, ABI’s Manager, General Insurance, said: 

LauraHughesSept500x500.jpg“The pandemic has forced many motorists to change their driving habits. Predictably, lockdowns have led to far fewer vehicles on the roads, reflected in the fall in the number of motor claims. During the pandemic insurers have given additional support to their customers, including options for reduced mileage and help for those struggling to pay their premiums by instalments. It is good to see that throughout an uncertain year, motorists continued to get the best deals from a competitive motor insurance market.

“As we edge back to some form of normality, cost pressures remain, such as increasing vehicle repair costs, reflecting ever more complex vehicle technology. With the average personal injury claim rising last year, the advent of the whiplash claims portal in May should help control whiplash costs, while ensuring that proportionate compensation is paid to genuinely injured claimants”. 

Extra support from motor insurers to customers during the pandemic

These latest figures come after an unprecedented year for insurance customers, with motor insurers continuing to provide extra help to the UK’s 27 million private motorists during the pandemic, including:

  • Extending, until 30 April, the current pledge that if you must drive to and from your workplace because of the impact of Covid-19, your insurance policy will not be affected. You do not need to contact your insurer to update your documents or extend your cover. 
  • Also, similarly extending until 30 April their pledge that if you are using your own car for voluntary purposes to transport medicines or groceries to support others who are impacted by Covid-19, your cover will not be affected. You do not need to contact your insurer to update your documents or extend your cover. This applies to all categories of NHS Volunteer Responders, including transporting patients, equipment, or other essential supplies, as well as volunteers assisting with the vaccine rollout.
  • Discussing with customers any options around adjusting policies and premiums to reflect fewer miles being driven during the lockdowns, as well as options for those concerned about being able to continue paying their premiums by instalments due to the pandemic.
  • One insurer has refunded £110 million to its car and van insurance customers reflecting that they had driven less during the lockdowns.

- ENDS -                                                                                                                   

Notes for Editors 

Enquiries to: 

Malcolm Tarling                  020 7216 7410    Mobile: 07776 147667  

Laura Dawson                     020 7216 7338    Mobile: 0772 5245838

Emily Cole                      020 7216 7337   Mobile:  0786 0189072  

Sarah Aspinall                      020 7216 7412    Mobile:  0772 5245297   

  1. Department of Transport Provisional Road Traffic Estimates, July 2019 -June 2020
  2. The Association of British Insurers is the voice of the UK’s world leading insurance and long-term savings industry.  A productive, inclusive and thriving sector, we are an industry that provides peace of mind to households and businesses across the UK and powers the growth of local and regional economies by enabling trade, risk taking, investment and innovation.   
  3. Skype and FaceTime are available for broadcast. 
  4. More news and information from the ABI is available on our web site, abi.org.uk.  








Last updated 12/03/2021