Faked whiplash claims are costing British drivers an extra £118 on their annual insurance premiums, a new report has revealed.
According to the study by Aviva, insurance costs have risen by 80 per cent over the last four years, and the way bogus whiplash claims are handled is partly to blame.
Many of those with a post-accident neck injury turn to personal injury lawyers and claims management companies for help in securing a payout, and the average legal fee for such a claim is estimated at £2,500.
Aviva suggests that if claimants went directly to the insurer, the cost could be halved, and the reduction in the cost of the 600,000 whiplash claims made each year could see premiums fall by £60 a year for the average motorist.
Dominic Clayden, claims director at Aviva, told the Daily Mail: "Our figures for average compensation settlements show that dealing with an insurer directly results in at least as much compensation for the claimant and has the advantage of being quicker, meaning their treatment and rehabilitation can start almost immediately.
"It would also prompt a significant reduction in the costs of the current system which would benefit all UK motorists, who will begin to see a reduction in their premiums."
In the last six years, the number of personal injury claims following road accidents has risen by 70 per cent, and the Association of British Insurers believes more than a quarter of whiplash claims are fraudulent.
According to the AA, the average cost of car insurance hit £1,000 for the first time last year.
What do you think? Are bogus claims to blame for rising insurance costs? Leave your comments below...