More than half of British drivers think they are paying too much for insurance given how little they have driven since the pandemic struck. That’s the conclusion of new research from the RAC, which found more than a quarter of drivers expect to drive less in the future than they did before the coronavirus crisis.

The motoring organisation’s research surveyed 2,100 drivers, of whom 51 percent said they were paying too much for their insurance given their mileage since the pandemic. However, exactly half of those questioned (50 percent) said they were unable to switch to a cheaper policy without incurring some form of financial penalty.

In addition, the study also found more than half of respondents said they have driven fewer miles than they told their insurer when they bought or renewed their car insurance policy. However, the RAC confesses this may be because 54 percent of respondents said they found it hard to predict their annual mileage. Perhaps as a result, 42 percent of drivers were already claiming to be dissatisfied with their insurance premium compared with their mileage before the pandemic hit.

Traffic on the M4 motorway near junction 28 Newport & Cardiff

The study comes on the back of government data showing the number of cars that had driven fewer than 6,000 miles between annual MOTs rose noticeably during the 12 months to the end of February 2021. Compared with the previous year-long period, the number was up a massive 35 percent as lockdown kept drivers at home.

That represented an acceleration of a trend already seen across the country. Between 2017 and 2020, the number of cars covering fewer than 6,000 miles between MOTs rose by an average of six percent a year. Figures from the RAC survey back that up, with 27 percent of respondents saying they expect to drive less in future.

“While it remains to be seen how our driving habits change as a result of the pandemic, it seems fair to presume that many of us won’t go back to driving the sort of miles we used to – especially if a degree of home-working becomes the norm,” said RAC head of insurance development, Laura Truman. “But even without the impact of Covid-19, it’s clear the number of cars covering fewer than 6,000 miles a year has been going up in recent years.

“This shift is clearly prompting drivers to question whether the cost of their car insurance is reasonable. This might partly be because in so many cases motorists are forced to lock themselves into annual insurance contracts, the price of which is partly determined by the policyholder’s estimate of how many miles they’ll cover in a year. This is something we know drivers found difficult to estimate before the pandemic but considering all the uncertainty surrounding people’s future travel needs it must now be even harder.”

Quintessentially English village in Somerset with no traffic