GPs cause the most accidents: how your job affects your car insurance

GPs have been named the most accident-prone profession for the fifth year in a row, with a study by Go Compare finding that doctors are most likely to make an at-fault claim on their car insurance.

We explain which professions attract the highest rate of car insurance claims, and what you can do to save on yours.

Which professions have the most car accidents?

Health professionals dominate the list of occupations most likely to make an at-fault claim on car insurance, the GoCompare data shows, but general practitioners are in the number one spot, with 12.4% making at least one claim in the past year.

Other health and medical professionals among the top 10 are hospital consultants (11.5%), hospital doctors (10.7%), surgeons (10.5%), health visitors (10.4%), optometrists (9.9%) and speech therapists (9.9%).

Rank Profession Percentage making at least one at-fault claim
1 General practitioner 12.4%
2 Claims adjuster 11.9%
3 Hospital consultant 11.5%
4 Hospital doctor 10.7%
5 Surgeon 10.5%
6 Health visitor 10.4%
7 Mortgage broker 10.3%
8 Optometrist 9.9%
9 Speech therapist 9.9%
10 Insurance consultant 9.76%

Source: GoCompare

The large number of accidents caused by people within this sector could be to do with the high levels of stress related to working in healthcare.

Work-related stress was found to be most prevalent in public service industries such as education, human health and social care, according to the 2017 Labour Force Survey, with an excessive work load associated with 44% of cases.

Interestingly, both claims adjusters and insurance consultants also featured in the top ten list.

Professions least likely to have an accident

People who work regularly with vehicles were heavily represented in the list of those least likely to make a claim.

Despatch drivers (2.7%), car dealers (3%), car wash attendants (3%) and garage managers (3.4%) all make the top 10 – which could demonstrate that people heavily involved with cars are either less accident-prone or more reluctant to claim on their policies.

Rank Profession Percentage making at least one at-fault claim
1 Barman 2.3%
2 Picker 2.3%
3 Packer 2.6%
4 Carpet cleaner 2.7%
5 Despatch driver 2.7%
6 Car dealer 3%
7 Car wash attendant 3%
8 Painter 3.2%
9 Garage manager 3.4%
10 Book seller 3.5%

Source: GoCompare

Pickers and bar staff proved to be the least likely to make an at-fault claim, with only 2.3% contacting their insurers about accidents they have caused.

However, pickers are often considered high-risk applicants by insurers and tend to have the most expensive policies, averaging £971 per year, according to figures released by GoCompare earlier in the year. As such, these drivers may be less likely to make a claim for fear of pushing up their premiums further.

How your job affects your car insurance premium

The amount you pay for car insurance is determined, in part, by how likely you are to claim a pay-out – and your job is one factor that is usually taken into account by insurance providers when weighing up the risks.

On average, retirees and PAs tend to pay the least for car insurance, while waiters and labourers pay the most.

When filling out the application form, make sure you choose your occupation carefully, as many jobs fit into a range of categories. For example, it can be more costly to describe yourself as a journalist than to describe yourself as a writer or a reporter.

However, it is important never to outright lie about your job – for example, don’t say you’re a lawyer when you’re a doctor – because it could be considered fraud and may lead to prosecution.

Is it worth making a claim?

Your car insurance is there to protect you, but you’re not always better off making a claim.

If your bill is likely to run into thousands of pounds, claiming on your insurance is an obvious step. The benefit may be less clear, however, if the damage is relatively minor.

After receiving a pay-out, your premiums may go up at renewal time, and you could lose your no-claims discount. Taking into account these additional costs, as well as the excess, it might actually cost you less to pay low-value repairs yourself.

Whenever you damage your car, it’s worth considering the likely cost of claiming versus the cost of repairs, and how much you stand to save.

Finding the best car insurance

You can save a significant amount of money by shopping around for car insurance, either by doing your own research or using comparison sites.

Comparison sites can be a great way to find a policy, but can lead to problems if you don’t fully understand what you’re buying. So make sure you read the terms and conditions carefully, so you know exactly what is and isn’t covered.

Other factors, such as the level of excess you’re prepared to pay, or whether you can pay monthly or annually, will also affect the quotes you receive. You can find out more in our guide to finding cheap car insurance.

But price isn’t the only factor – you should also consider the customer service offered by your provider and the level of cover you need. To discover how we rate car insurance providers, read our guide to the best and worst car insurance.

If you’re looking to buy a new car, Which? can help. Our experts have rounded up the Top Cars for 2018, or Which? members can browse our new and used cars reviews.