By Deirdre Tynan • 02 June 2021 • 7:53
Image: Llibert Teixidó
Motorists in England and Wales will save up to £35 a year on their insurance as new rules on whiplash claims come into force.
The changes are designed to reduce the unacceptably high number of whiplash claims made each year, with more than 550,000 in 2019/20 alone, which will allow insurers to cut premiums for millions of drivers.
The latest figures for 2020 show that there were 650,000 road traffic accident-related claims of which 550,000 were whiplash related.
The reforms include a new user-friendly online portal for road traffic accident claims under £5,000 – simplifying the process and removing the need for expensive lawyers. They also introduce a ban on settling whiplash cases without medical evidence – a practice which has opened the door to fraudulent or embellished claims.
Insurers have pledged to pass on the savings these reforms will create to drivers, worth a total of £1.2 billion.
Despite the UK having some of the safest roads in Europe with fewer crashes reported year-on-year since 2013, road traffic accident claims are more than 40 percent higher than in 2006. This has been fuelled by a reported increase in exaggerated and often disproportionate claims, driving up the costs of premiums for ordinary motorists.
The Government is determined to clamp down on this behaviour and help reduce the cost of insurance for drivers. The Lord Chancellor, Robert Buckland QC MP, said, “For too long the system for making whiplash claims has been open to abuse by individuals looking for an easy payday – with ordinary motorists paying the price.
“Our changes, which come into force today, will put an end to this greedy opportunism and ultimately see savings put back into the pockets of the country’s drivers,” he added on May 31.
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Deirdre Tynan is an award-winning journalist who enjoys bringing the best in news reporting to Spain’s largest English-language newspaper, Euro Weekly News. She has previously worked at The Mirror, Ireland on Sunday and for news agencies, media outlets and international organisations in America, Europe and Asia. A huge fan of British politics and newspapers, Deirdre is equally fascinated by the political scene in Madrid and Sevilla. She moved to Spain in 2018 and is based in Jaen.
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