• Money-conscious motorists could lose hundreds of pounds by not properly planning their journeys

    August 15th 2017. Posted in Car Insurance

    • Forty-seven per cent of people believe driving long distance (more than 50 miles) during the summer months is stressful, with 72 per cent travelling at different times of the day to avoid traffic
    • Financial stress plays a huge part, with the average person believing it costs them £268 if they miss a flight, £175 if they miss a ferry and £108 if they missed check in at a hotel
    • However, one in five admit to not having or being unsure whether they have breakdown cover, even though if they don’t have cover and need to be towed 50 miles back to their home out of hours it could cost them between £225 and £250
    • Recovery mileage is also 45 per cent higher in busy summer months compared to quieter times of the year


    Most of us know that driving during the summer holidays comes with a certain amount of stress: stress from traffic, stress from children and stress from other road users. However, research from AXA Insurance has shown that financial stress can also play a huge part, as money-conscious motorists are failing to plan their getaways properly which  could end up costing them hundreds of unexpected pounds.


    When it comes to planning a holiday we all know to leave as much time as possible to arrive at our destination – whether it’s a hotel, day out or a flight to another country.  Most people take steps to avoid running late, such as travelling at different times of the day to avoid traffic (72 per cent) or taking a longer route to avoid busy roads (50 per cent)1.


    This is not surprising when the average person believes it would cost them £268 if they miss a flight, £175 if they miss a ferry and £108 if they miss check in at a hotel. On a smaller scale, people think that it would cost them £119 if they miss a day out with the family and £113 if they miss work.


    The Unexpected Cost of Breaking Down


    Unfortunately, even though 47 per cent of people believe driving long distance (more than 50 miles) during the summer months is stressful, there are still those that don’t plan ahead. In fact, one in five admit to not having or not knowing whether they have breakdown cover even though many worry about common breakdown causes such as tyre punctures (30 per cent), or the car not starting at home (10 per cent) or away (20 per cent).

    What’s more, when asked about the cost of breakdown recovery, a quarter of respondents admitted they didn’t know how much it would cost to tow a vehicle 50 miles back to their home out of hours if they didn’t have cover, when in reality it could cost between £225 and £2502. This increases to between £350-£375 if a person is 100 miles away from home and around £500 if they are 150 miles away. It’s important to also keep in mind that recovery mileage is 45 per cent higher in busy summer months compared to quieter times of the year.

    “Most of us save a considerable amount of money to go on holiday during the summer months, which is why unexpected costs can be extremely stressful and ruin what should be an enjoyable time away. Planning ahead doesn’t just mean leaving earlier, but also knowing you have help there should the worst happen such as breaking down on the way to your destination. Summer can be an extremely busy time for breakdowns, and with people anxious to make sure they don’t miss their flights or a day out with the family, having the right cover in place is a great way to prevent unwanted stress.” [Gareth Howell, Managing Director, AXA Direct]


    The Unexpected Cost of Waiting in Traffic


    Along with not considering how the cost of arriving late or breaking down can quickly add up, many drivers also forget that they may need to keep aside a little extra for fuel when planning their summer getaway. This is because as part of AXA’s survey, respondents said that they believe they waste on average almost £10 (£9.59) in fuel by waiting an hour in summer traffic.


    The roads are also extremely busy between June and August, with the average motorist planning on driving 740 miles. Considering this, the amount of money the nation could waste waiting in traffic adds up to a massive £261million3 – and that’s if everyone spends just one hour in traffic instead of two or three!

    Depending on where you live, how much money you think you waste in fuel spending an hour in traffic differs. For example, Londoners believe it would cost them £11.86, followed by £10.09 in the West Midlands and £10.04 in Wales. On the other hand, those in the North East think it would only cost them £7.16 – 34 per cent less than the national average.



    Amount people think they spend in petrol waiting an hour in traffic



    West Midlands






    North West


    Yorkshire and the Humber


    East Midlands


    South West


    South East


    East Anglia


    North East



    With 12 per cent of people also concerned that they will run out of fuel whilst driving this summer (another common cause of breakdown calls), putting a little extra fuel in the tank can ensure that you arrive at your destination on time and  stress-free.

    1Figures obtained from research commissioned by AXA of 2000 UK adults who have driven to a holiday destination either in the UK or Europe in the past and plan to this summer (June – August). The research was carried out by OnePoll in June – August 2017.

    2Statistics from Direct AXA Insurance and Swiftcover breakdown claims made between January 2015 and December 2016.

    3Number of households with cars obtained July 2017 from the Office for National Statistic’s ’Percentage of households with cars by income group, tenure and household composition, UK: Table A47’.

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