Wintry weather insurance claims

Nationally, 8,400 cars damaged in the snow and ice costing £4.2m

Nationally, 8,400 cars damaged in the snow and ice costing £4.2m

Nationally, 8,400 cars damaged in the snow and ice costing £4.2m

Latest data from AA Insurance suggests that on the five snowiest days of winter so far (18-22 January) the national equivalent of up to 8,400 cars have come to grief thanks to the wintry weather.

AA Insurance took 36% more claims overall than over the equivalent four days a week earlier.

However, the number of personal injury claims falls by nearly half (47%) on such days, as drivers take much greater care behind the wheel.

Since Friday 18 January when the country was first carpeted with snow, the AA claims team have dealt with over 700 claims from customers of which over 300 are directly attributable to slips and slides – 42% of the total.

Saturday brought the greatest proportion of icy incidents with more than half (54%) of claims attributed to the wintry weather.

A study of the ever-growing claims league table shows some of the stories behind losing control on the ice:  

Parked cars

Parked cars came off worst, accounting for just over 10% of the claims.  In fact, some made the most of it, with one customer admitting that as he slid down a street on ice he ‘bounced off a dozen parked cars’.  That would count as just one claim so far as his record is concerned, but will be a lot of work for the insurer to sort out.

Tail end shunts

Coming in at second place are tail-end shunts with 6.3% of the tally.  There’s nothing more alarming than coming to the end of a queue and realising the inevitable is going to happen as the wheels lock, the car gently gliding into the vehicle in front. One unfortunate customer did just that and as she exchanged details with the other driver, another car slid into hers.  And then two more did just the same…


Hitting kerbs, which are often hidden from view under snow, proved the third most common claim with 6% suffering the sickening tell-tale crunch as car hits concrete

Signs and lamp posts

A close fourth in the league of misfortune, with just under 6% of claims, are cars that slid into street furniture.  There must be a fair number of broken road signs, lamp-posts, bollards and even park benches littering Britain’s towns after attack from out-of-control motors!  One customer managed to fell a lamp-post which collapsed on to a passing car but fortunately none were hurt.  Oddly, the lamp stayed on!  Another driver slid through the cones and into a roadworks trench.

Junctions and head-ons

(Joint 5th) Next are collisions with vehicles coming towards each other, claiming 3% of the total.  Also at 3% were junction manoeuvres that went wrong and a similar number of cars knocking down walls.  One of those walls was that of a house on a village bend, no doubt giving a shock to the occupants just settling down for an evening’s TV. 

At home

At number six are accidents at home with garages, gate posts, partners’ and neighbours’ cars all suffering the indignity of a failed attempt to exit the drive or stop when returning home.  One unfortunate driver put his car in the garage – not intentionally as he went through the up-and-over door without opening it first thanks to ice on the drive. 


Among the rest of claims taken by AA claims staff are collisions with police cars, an ambulance, a snow plough, two buses and a skip.  Three claimants managed to overturn their cars, one driver saying that he went on to slide down a hill on the roof, only coming to a halt when his inverted vehicle was gently stopped in its tracks by a parked car.  A further 16 cars were claimed by ditches, rivers, a Norfolk dyke or in one case, a village pond which the driver mistook as the continuing road in the middle of a snowstorm.

And perhaps the softest ending was a driver who saw the trailer of a tractor jack-knife, shedding its load of hay – all over the car.

Parked cars come off badly. Unfortunately, some of our claimants returned to their cars to find them dented but no note from whoever caused the damage

Simon Douglas, director of AA Insurance


Simon Douglas, director of AA Insurance, said that in most cases, snowy collisions don’t cause injury but can end up with costly claims.

“Parked cars come off badly,” he says.  “Unfortunately, some of our claimants returned to their cars to find them dented but no note from whoever caused the damage.”

Mr Douglas says that the saddest claims he has seen this year are where drivers have had to abandon their cars, returning to find that they had been broken in to.  One driver not only lost property from inside his car, but his wheels were missing as well.

“That’s a depressing side of human nature,” he observes.  “Fortunately, most drivers will say that when they have got into trouble others have been very willing to help.

“We may not be able to do much about the weather, but we can take precautions to reduce the risk of a drive ending in disaster.  And if it does come to the crunch, the AA is there to help.”

AA Insurance winter claims

704 claims in five days, 36% higher than the same days a week earlier and of which

  • 42% for snow and ice, in all 297 claims
  • Sat 19 January saw more than half of claims related to snow and ice: 54%
  • On 19 and 21 January, 43% of claims were snow and ice related.

Scaled up nationally, based on AA’s share of the car insurance market this would equate to 8,400 snow and ice claims which, if costing an average of £500 each, will cost the insurance industry £4.2m or £840,000 per day

(24 January 2013)


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