career - Can your job title really affect your car insurance?

Can your job title really affect your car insurance?

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Find out why drivers with “high risk” jobs don’t always make the most claims.

There’s not much an insurance company won’t analyse to determine a customer’s potential risk when it comes to car insurance and that goes for your job, too.

Data has shown that people in some occupations are considered a higher risk than others and so your job title, as well as many other risk factors, has a part in calculating your car insurance quote.

There have been a lot of editorials recently around “tweaking” your job title to get a lower premium, but how big a factor is it, and can you really make a difference? We looked at this whole topic and uncovered some interesting facts.

A high risk job title doesn’t necessarily mean you’re likely to make more claims

The paradox is that even if your job title puts you into a high risk category for car insurance, available data doesn’t necessarily show that you’re more likely to make an at-fault claim than drivers in other professions.

To examine this in more detail we studied some research carried out by GoCompare earlier this year. This is Money published part of that research, listing the occupations most and least likely to affect your insurance premium.

Top 10 occupations that can hike your car insurance premium

The jobs most likely to increase your premium revealed some unexpectedly high risk, higher cost professions.

  1. Fruit and vegetable pickers
  2. Waiters
  3. Builder’s labourer
  4. Factory packers
  5. Painter
  6. Car valet
  7. Security guard
  8. Construction worker
  9. Barber
  10. Delivery courier

Other occupations typically known to pay higher premiums are journalists, chefs and entertainers.

Top 10 jobs for cheaper insurance

  1. Retirees
  2. Secretary and PA
  3. Clerical assistant
  4. Local government officers
  5. Medical secretary
  6. Secretary
  7. Classroom aide
  8. Book-keeper
  9. Legal secretary
  10. Police officer

It’s interesting that many of the jobs on this list are traditionally filled by women. Since the EU directive on gender equality made it illegal to price car insurance differently for men and women, some insurers get around this by making certain jobs a lower risk factor instead.

Who causes the most accidents?

Another part of GoCompare’s research, published in a Which? article, looked at things from a rather different angle. Which? focused not so much on the occupations that GoCompare considered the highest risk, but which were most likely to make an at-fault claim. And if you thought the two lists ought to be more-or-less the same, you’d be in for a surprise.

Occupations with the most at-fault claims

  1. General practitioner
  2. Claims adjuster
  3. Hospital consultant
  4. Hospital doctor
  5. Surgeon
  6. Health visitor
  7. Mortgage broker
  8. Optometrist
  9. Speech therapist
  10. Insurance consultant

Incredibly, seven out of the top ten in this list work in healthcare in some form or another. A theory has been put forward that healthcare workers have such a high number of accidents because of the stress associated with workers in this sector.

And least likely to make an at-fault claim..?

  1. Barman
  2. Picker
  3. Packer
  4. Carpet cleaner
  5. Despatch driver
  6. Car dealer
  7. Car wash attendant
  8. Painter
  9. Garage manager
  10. Book seller

The eagle-eyed among you may have noticed that several of the occupations on the list of most likely to increase your premium also featured in the list of occupations least likely to make an at-fault claim!

Pickers, packers and car valet / car wash attendants may be feeling slightly indignant and certain healthcare professionals rather relieved, at this apparent anomaly! We reached out to Martyn John, GoCompare’s PR manager, for comment on their research findings.

(It should be pointed out that GoCompare doesn’t actually set premiums, so these are simply Mr John’s theories based on his knowledge of the car insurance industry.)

  • “While certain professions may have a higher volume of claims on average – the costs of those claims could be fairly low. For instance, two small bumps in a car, with no injuries and only costing a few hundred pounds – may not impact premiums as much as one £15,000 write off. So frequency of claims may not correlate exactly in the way someone might expect.
  • “Claims are just one of a list of variables that go into a car insurance policy. Driving history, location, vehicle details are also significant factors – while medical professionals may have more claims on average, they may be less likely to have a conviction – or may drive at better times or park in areas where there are less instances of car theft/vehicle damage.
  • “Age is usually one of the most significant factors in car insurance – in most cases we discount students from these pieces of research (as it’s not an ‘occupation’ as such, and it often skews the data – this includes medical students). Many jobs that over-index for younger people (bar staff is a good example) tend to carry higher average premiums due to this. By and large most qualified medical professionals tend to be older than what would be considered a “young driver”, so premiums are likely to be lower. Usually a 35 year old with a claim and conviction will still likely have a lower car insurance premium than an 18 year old with a clean licence.”

This makes a lot of sense. Nothing is ever simply black and white and the same is certainly true when it comes to pricing car insurance. When you boil it all down, the bottom line is that while it can seem worth tweaking your job title to see if it makes any difference to a quote, it’s just one of many factors an insurer takes into account.

Taken in isolation, your occupation doesn’t necessarily make you more likely to have an accident, or to make an expensive at-fault claim, but statistically, you may share some characteristics with drivers who are.

Tweaking your job title for cheaper insurance

If you do test the impact of different job titles on the cost of car insurance, bear in mind that your stated occupation must accurately describe your profession. For example, you might find that a “proof reader” is a lower risk than an “editor”. A “legal secretary” might pay less than a “law clerk” while a “café worker” could be a better job title than “kitchen worker”.

If you veer too far from your actual occupation, though, you could be guilty of fraud and you risk invalidating your insurance as well as facing a criminal conviction.

Do you have to tell your insurer if you change jobs?

Yes, you need to let your insurer know if your occupation changes. As with any other risk factor, such as where you live or the type of car you drive, your profession can affect the cost of your car insurance.

If you don’t inform your insurer, you could invalidate your cover.

Is car insurance more expensive if you’re unemployed?

If you’re unemployed you may pay more for your car insurance.

BBC research found that car insurance premiums averaged 30% more for out of work drivers, but costs could be as much as 63% higher.

The Association of British Insurers confirmed that unemployment was a recognised risk factor for insurers and say that this is supported by actuarial evidence.

Some theories to explain the perception of higher risk are:

  • unemployed drivers will use their car more frequently to travel to more locations as they seek work
  • The unemployed are less likely to maintain their vehicles, which could lead to more claims

Does your occupation cause you an insurance headache?

Confused and struggling to get affordable car insurance? Complete Cover Group specialises in helping drivers in your situation. If you’re in a high risk profession and looking for a great deal, get a quote today.

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