Press release:

Mileage madness: 11 million motorists gamble on invalidating their insurance

  • Over a quarter of drivers (28%) resort to guessing their annual mileage – despite this being one of the key factors used to price car insurance[1]
  • Half of all motorists (50%) don’t know that significantly underestimating mileage could result in invalidating their car insurance policy[2]  
  • Mileage uncertainty also hits a quarter of motorists (27%) in the pocket who overestimate and pay higher premiums than they should[3]
  • Despite four in five motorists (82%) knowing that an MOT certificate contains an accurate mileage record, two fifths (40%) fail to check it prior to submitting an estimation[4]
  • uSwitch.com customers will now be able to automatically access the mileage on their MOT for the past two years to provide a more accurate figure.

A quarter of UK motorists (28%) admit to making an educated guess when estimating their annual mileage for a car insurance quote – despite this being one of the key factors insurers use to determine the cost of cover[1]. That’s according to new research from uSwitch.com, the price comparison and switching service.

Shockingly, half of drivers (50%) are unaware of the consequences of deflating their mileage, with 16% of those who underestimated thinking it didn’t matter what figure they gave[5]. Setting mileage too low, however, could result in an insurer refusing to pay in the event of a claim, leaving drivers drastically out of pocket. A quarter (26%) said they underestimated because they do not have the time to work out an accurate figure, while a further one in four (24%) have no idea of what their mileage would be[6].

On the flip side, the average motorist estimates they have driven 6,167 miles over the last year, but when comparing this to the mileage they provided to their insurer, a quarter (27%) believe they overestimated. The majority (67%) cited ‘being on the safe side’, with a fifth (20%) saying as they were unsure what their mileage would be[7] as the reason they erred on the side of caution.[7].

Despite an MOT certificate being one of the most accurate sources to confirm a mileage record, 40% of motorists prefer to use other ways of calculating mileage, while one in five (18%) had no idea this was available to them[8].

To help consumers take the guesswork out of estimating their annual mileage, uSwitch.com has introduced a new tool which automatically provides an accurate estimate based on the previous two years’ mileage figure on motorists’ MOT certificates.

Sabrina Webb, insurance expert at uSwitch.com, says: “Getting the information right when you are applying for an insurance policy is always important, as you don’t want to run the risk of a claim being turned down, should you need to make one.

“And the mileage is no different. Unfortunately, there’s a lack of appreciation amongst many drivers when it comes to how important it is to provide accurate mileage figures and how big an impact it can have on their premiums.

“While it may seem quicker to just hazard a guess when looking to sort your motor insurance, by providing an accurate estimate, you reduce the risk of overestimating and, therefore, overpaying for your insurance policy.”

Find out how you could save over £1,000 a year with uSwitch here.

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Notes to editors

Research carried out online with the uSwitch.com Consumer Opinion Panel from 18 – 20 September 2018 amongst a sample of 2,003 UK adults.

  1. When asked, ‘What is the main way you estimate your annual mileage when you search for a car insurance quote?’ 28% of respondents selected ‘I make an educated guess’. According to the RAC Foundation there are 40,462,268 full drivers licence holders in the UK, 28% of 40,462,268 = 11,329,435
  2. When presented with the following statement, ‘An insurer may refuse to pay, in the event of a claim, if you have been caught having driven above your stated mileage’, 16% of respondents incorrectly said this statement was ‘False’ while 34% of respondent selected ‘Don’t know’. This totals to 50% of respondents not knowing the correct answer.
  3. Respondents were asked ‘Thinking about all your car travel, how many miles do you think you drove in the last year, taking into account one-off long journeys i.e. holidays?’ and then, once answered, respondents were asked, ‘With this [mileage] in mind, have you ever over or underestimated your annual mileage when providing to your insurer?’ 14% of respondents selected ‘Yes, underestimated’ and 27% of respondents selected ‘Yes, overestimated’.
  4. When asked, ‘Did you know that you can check your mileage on your MOT certificate?’, 42% of respondents selected ‘Yes, this is where I check my mileage’ and 40% of respondents selected, ‘Yes, I was aware but have never used it to check my mileage’. This totals to 82% respondents knowing they can check their mileage on their MOT certificate.
  5. When presented with the following statement, ‘An insurer may refuse to pay, in the event of a claim, if you have been caught having driven above your stated mileage’, 16% of respondents incorrectly said this statement was ‘False’ while 34% of respondent selected ‘Don’t know’. This totals to 50% of respondents not knowing the correct answer. When asked, ‘What is the reason you underestimated your annual mileage?’, 16% of respondents selected ‘I didn’t think it mattered what figure I gave’.
  6. When asked, ‘What is the reason you underestimated your annual mileage?’, 26% of respondents selected ‘I didn’t have the time/ it was easier not to work it out accurately’ and 24% of respondents selected ‘I had no idea what my mileage would be’.
  7. When asked, ‘What is the reason you overestimated your annual mileage?’, 67% of respondents selected  ‘being on the safe side’, 20% of respondents selected ‘I had no idea what my mileage would be’ and 3% of respondents selected ‘I thought it would save me money’.
  8. When asked, ‘Did you know that you can check your mileage on your MOT certificate?’, 40% of respondents selected, ‘Yes, I was aware but have never used it to check my mileage’ and 18% selected ‘No, I had no idea’.

About us

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