Right Driver

How much does a vehicle accident really cost?

You’ve got insurance, right? So, you pay the excess, deal with losing your no-claims bonus and move on. But that’s not all that an accident or crash can cost you. Let’s look at the two scenarios where you are at fault: you as a private owner, and you as a company driver.

How much does it cost when you crash your own vehicle?

If you’re driving your own car and you have third-party cover, then you will pay the insurance excess to get the other vehicle repaired. You’ll still have to cover repairs to your own vehicle, though. Even a minor panel damage accident can cost £500. If your vehicle isn’t badly damaged then it might not be a legal requirement for you to repair it, but if it smashes a light or creates some other kind of danger then you will have to get it repaired before you can drive it again.

There may be a vehicle recovery fee to get your vehicle to the repair shop if it can’t be driven away. Insurance policies will tow as part of the policy and often include a provision for a free rental car while yours is being repaired, or they’ll choose a repair option which has a courtesy car. Of course, if you didn’t have insurance you can choose this, too, but those repairers tend to be more expensive because they have to cover the cost of the courtesy car, too.

If you crash on the way to work then you will either lose wages through not being able to get to work or have to take some of your holiday leave.

If you injure yourself when you crash you will be generally covered under the NHS, but there are associated costs and specialist treatments that can mount up in some circumstances. If you are seriously injured enough to not be able to work then you’ll lose that income forever.

If you were driving dangerously then you could be subject to fines and other penalties which could have a long term effect on your ability to work.

If your crash resulted in a fatality and emergency services had to attend is over £2,000,000 according to Department for Transport statistics whereas serious injury crashes cost around £230,000. This includes loss of productive output.

If you caused a major blockage on a motorway during fairly busy traffic the cost to the country will be in the millions.

How much does it cost when you crash a company vehicle?

The costs are significantly higher with a company vehicle, especially if it’s one with a much higher insurance excess such as a large coach or lorry. The level of cost depends on the level of disruption. All the costs we mentioned above for a private vehicle are still relevant, but there are extra costs because of the disruption to the business.

Companies with business interruption insurance may be able to claw some of the following costs back.

Lost revenue: if you crash and can’t get to the job you were driving to, that is lost time that can’t be invoice.

Penalty clauses: if the crash means you miss a deadline on a job with a penalty clause, you could find it costs a portion of the revenue and might jeopardise the relationship with the client.

Damaged equipment: equipment stored in the vehicle might need to be replaced and, for some specialist, custom-built gear, that could take awhile.

Restaffing or using temporary workers: if you are injured, a temporary worker will need to be supplied to replace you and (assuming you are good at your job) they will be less efficient than you, at least until they catch up.

Administration: someone has to engage with replacement staff, coordinate the vehicle repairs, make any payments, etc – it’s all time that the company is paying for.

How can you reduce the risk of having a crash?

  1. Make sure your drivers know the Highway Code – they can take free practice tests on our website.
  2. Our sister company in New Zealand provides advanced driver training for drivers who drive on the left – the concepts are the same in any country, and the price is about £11 per driver per year.
  3. Get a practical driving assessment for your drivers every 2-3 years to pick up bad habits.
  4. Choose safe vehicles with autonomous emergency braking.

Darren has owned several companies in the automotive, advertising and education industries. He has run driving theory educational websites since 2010.

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