• Survey shows that three quarters of new car customers would purchase insurance to cover cosmetic damage, and 61% would prefer to buy this from a dealership

  • Cosmetic damage is important to almost all car owners, but perceived cost and a lack of awareness of cosmetic insurance is preventing people from repairing their vehicle 

Research released today by Assurant, a global provider of lifestyle and housing solutions that support, protect and connect major consumer purchases, including vehicle protection products and services, has shown that the cosmetic appearance of a car is important to almost all owners, but just over a third (36%) would not use a professional repairer to rectify damage to their vehicle.  

The main issue reported by consumers is cost, with almost half (46%) saying that they thought a professional repairer would be too expensive. 23% of respondents said that they did not want to claim for cosmetic damage on their motor insurance.  The figure of those not wanting to claim on motor insurance rises to 39% for people who have a standalone policy, and 30% who purchased through hire purchase. This could be due to the required motor insurers’ excess payment, which could make a scratch or dent to a vehicle uneconomical and too expensive to repair. 

Instead of hiring a professional to help with cosmetic damage, a quarter (24%) of car owners would attempt DIY, and 12% would simply do nothing.  Only around half of those surveyed were aware that specific insurance policies exist to cover the cost of cosmetic damage, with the figure even lower among those age 55 plus.  However, three quarters said that they would be interested in a cosmetic product when presented with the idea.  Some 61% said they would purchase this product from a dealership if they were to buy it and, with cosmetic repair insurance being the product most frequently purchased at the point of sale, this points to a significant opportunity for car dealers.  

Rich Green, president, UK & Automotive Europe at Assurant, said: “Approximately 40% of owners experience cosmetic damage to their car within the first three years of owning it, and we know that appearance matters to almost all owners.  Also, over 80% of part exchanges have evidence of cosmetic damage, which in turn impacts the residual value of the part exchange valuation. Despite these findings, a large number of cars will remain unrepaired because people aren’t aware that cosmetic insurance products exist and worry about the cost of repair. 

“For car dealers, there is a strong opportunity to educate car owners about cosmetic insurance policies and ensure that customers can access professional help when scratches and dents inevitably appear. To support dealers, we offer extensive staff training and point of sale materials to present the benefits of cosmetic insurance to customers.” 

This research has been commissioned by Assurant to coincide with the launch of its portfolio of cosmetic products.  Assurant is offering cosmetic insurance policies that cover minor damage to bodywork, tyres, and alloys.  The products, including 12, 24, 36 and 48 month options, allow policy holders to access a national repair network to fix the chips, dents, scratches and scuffs that are picked up in everyday driving.  The products are payable by direct debit, with the research showing this will be the most common form of payment as 86% of those surveyed who are very likely to purchase the product saying they would want to pay over 10 monthly instalments.  

Assurant’s latest research surveyed 1,204 UK consumers over the age of 18, weighted for national averages.