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Is there a doctor in the house? Medical professionals claim top spots as most accident prone drivers of 2013

17 February 2014

New research from Gocompare.com has revealed that health professionals are the most bump prone drivers on British roads, with GPs, clinical psychologists and community nurses among the top 10 professions that are most likely to make a claim on their car insurance.

The results may come as a surprise to some, but experts suggest that the nature of the jobs that make up most of the top 10 could explain why counsellors, nurses and dentists all feature on the list. 

Top 10 professions which have drivers with at least one claim:

1)      General practitioner (GP)                28.6%

2)      Hospital consultant                          26.2%

3)      Clinical psychologist                        25%

4)      Drug addiction counsellor               24.9%

5)      Probation officer                               24.2%

6)      Dental surgeon                                 23.9%

7)      Health visitor                                    23.8%

8)      Community nurse                             23.6%

9)      Hospital manager                             23.4%

10)    Town planner                                   23.3%

In the study, general practitioners (GPs) claimed the number one spot, with almost a third (29%) having made at least one car insurance claim in the past five years. The proportion of GPs with a claim was not only the highest of any occupation in the UK, but more than double the national average for all professions (13.12%).

It’s not just GPs dishing out bad medicine on the roads. The overwhelming majority of drivers with claims worked in the medical profession, holding eight of the top 10 spots and making up 75% of the top 20.

While those working in health care are racking up claims, the safest occupation on the road was car dealers, with only 3% of drivers in the profession having made a claim in the past five years.

Other occupations that had a lower proportion of drivers with a claim than the national average included bar staff, van drivers, painters, plasterers, tattoo artists and professional footballers.

Professor Andrew Smith, expert on occupational and health psychology from Cardiff University’s School of Psychology, commented on the findings: “It’s not surprising to see that medical professionals had the highest proportion of claims in this study.  Healthcare is typically considered a highly stressful occupation, which could explain why GPs and other health professionals seem to make more insurance claims than others.

“Stress can dramatically affect a person’s health and cognitive functions. For instance, if you are having a particularly stressful day, you may find that you become absent minded when it comes to day to day activities and find it difficult to concentrate on tasks.  You might even find that you become especially clumsy at times. This is due to the effect stress can have on the brain, and while this can be serious in any context, it is an especially bad combination while behind the wheel.

“Typically, the types of accidents that are attributed to stress tend to be relatively minor bumps, caused by lapses in concentration whilst driving.”

Lee Griffin, chief operating officer at Gocompare.com, added: “It’s interesting to see an apparent trend when it comes to occupations and accidents, with such a large proportion of drivers with claims working in the medical profession.

“From Professor Smith’s comments, it would appear that a stressful job is a common link between drivers with a high proportion of claims, and that these accidents are due to distraction or breaks in concentration while on the road rather than reckless driving. It’s ironic that GPs having their mind on the patients while driving could result in them needing medical attention themselves.

“This study highlights the importance of being in the right state of mind while behind the wheel. Driving when stressed or angry can lead to accidents, so if you find yourself particularly frustrated, it might be a good idea to take some time to calm down before driving, or find a safe place to pull over for a while until you are in the right frame of mind to continue your journey.

”If you are a safe driver and have built up a no claims bonus (NCB), it’s worth considering getting it protected. Protecting your NCB will ensure you don’t lose your no claims discount entitlement should you have an accident in your car, and adding this can cost as little as 50p a week**. In comparison, having a claim for £1,000 and losing nine years’ NCB could result in a car insurance premium being £322.36 more expensive than having the same claim and keeping your no claims bonus due to it being protected***.”

-ends-

Notes to editors:

*Gocompare.com analysed 6,041,042 actual car insurance quotes made by customers on the site between January and November of 2013. The comparison site looked at the number of drivers with car insurance claims in the past five years and ranked them to find out which occupations had the highest proportion of drivers with claims in 2013.  Comparisons between other occupations are available on request.

**Gocompare.com ran an example quote of a 31 year old General Practitioner from Bristol, driving a 2010 Volkswagen Golf 1.6 TDI 105 BlueMotion Tech SE with 9 years’ NCB. The only change made was selected to protect the no claims bonus (NCB). The average of the top 10 cheapest premiums without NCB protection was £301.45, and the average with protection was £327.93. £327.93 - £301.45 = £26.46 / 52 =50p a week.

***Gocompare.com ran two example quotes for a 31 year old GP from Bristol, driving a 2010 Volkswagen Golf 1.6 TDI 105 BlueMotion Tech SE. Both quotes had a £1,000 at fault, but no injury claim added to them, with one quote having 9 years’ protected NCB and the other having none to show the effect of losing the bonus. The average of the top 10 cheapest quotes without an NCB was £701.31, and the average with 9 years’ NCB was £378.95. £701.31 - £378.95 = £322.36.