The pandemic may have seen far fewer miles being driven but the number of used car warranty claims has stayed largely the same, according to the RAC Dealer Network.
Kellie Grocott, RAC director of sales at Assurant, which partners with the RAC in the warranty and aftersales sector, said: ‘Research by the RAC suggests that 49 per cent of motorists have driven less in the last year.
‘That’s quite a fall and we have been watching for an accompanying reduction in claims, but based on our warranty data it just isn’t happening, even though it’s now more than a year since the pandemic was declared.’
She added: ‘We saw a dip in April and May of 2020 as the first lockdown took effect but, following that, claims recovered quickly and during the second half of the year were as we would’ve expected in any normal time period and have remained so.’
The biggest factor was probably that the mileage reductions weren’t consistent across all drivers.
‘Some people who were previously covering well above average mileage have been working from home and barely driving at all, while others who were perhaps involved in delivering essential services have spent more time behind the wheel.
‘It is also the case, as the RAC research shows, that the car has played a vital role in allowing people to complete their essential journeys since the pandemic first hit.
“What we believe is happening in terms of the claims we are seeing is that, for the average dealer selling RAC warranties, the motoring habits of their typical customer may not have changed that much.
‘Many of them could be in occupations where they are still driving to work, they are still going to the supermarket and they are still taking their children to school.
‘Their used cars are still occasionally breaking down in the same way as usual and they still look to their warranty as a safety net.’
Grocott said that from Assurant’s point of view, warranties were maintaining their value as protection against unexpected costs since customers were still making claims at the same level.
‘It remains an important part of any dealer’s used car proposition in exactly the same way as before.’
She added that there was also evidence that people who’d avoided using public transport because of health concerns during the pandemic were moving into used cars in quite large numbers.