2011/08/24

Making car insurance affordable

Motor insurance prices have been in the news recently, as the cost of legally required third party insurance has been rising recently. The claim made by the industry is that injury claims are the biggest cause.

It seems to me that there's a pair of simple fixes, which could be funded by a further tax on motor insurance.

First, you cannot claim for injury after an accident unless the accident was reported to the police within 24 hours of the accident; if you are incapacitated by the accident, this time is extended until 24 hours after you become medically capable of reporting the accident. This ties into the requirement to report injury accidents to the police that already exists (Road Traffic Act section 170), and just has the injured party also required to report to the police if they might choose to claim later. In theory, therefore, this is no burden on the authorities, as they are dealing with these reports anyway.

Additionally, an injury claim is only valid if two things apply:

  1. You make arrangements to see an NHS doctor within 14 days of the accident - being taken to hospital by emergency ambulance counts here, as does making an appointment to see your GP.
  2. An NHS doctor, at risk of losing their licence to practice if found to be lying, agrees that your injury is such that compensation is appropriate.

In other words, make it cheap to dismiss injury claims that aren't backed by medical evidence. Put the onus on claimants to seek medical advice - if you really think you're injured, you should be seeing a GP anyway, and we should have mechanisms in place to deal with you if you're abusing NHS services (a topic for another rant).

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