His accident-prone alter ego Mr Bean is every insurer’s nightmare - but spare a thought for Rowan Atkinson’s real-life broker.
Atkinson has successfully claimed £910 000 (that’s R12.77 million!) to fix his McLaren F1 supercar after destroying it in a crash – the highest repair bill yet recorded in Britain.
Atkinson lost control of the 380km/h car, thought to be worth more than £3 million (R42 million), in August 2011 on a slippery section of the A605 near Peterborough in the rain, and the McLaren it hit a tree and burst into flames.
But while the 58-year-old star escaped from the wreckage with a broken shoulder, his vehicle - No.061 of just one of just 64 examples ever made – didn’t get away so lightly. Most of the back of the car was destroyed while the 6.1-litre engine ended up 20 yards away.
CONSIDERING THE CLAIM
Atkinson’s insurers spent nearly eight months considering the claim, before agreeing the enormous payout. Now, after more than a year of specialist repairs at McLaren’s base in Woking, Surrey, it is as good as new.
However, Atkinson, who is reportedly worth £71million (R996 million), has not escaped scot-free. According to experts, the star’s car insurance premium will have risen to up to £60 000 (R842 000) a year as a result of the expensive crash.
Specialist insurance broker Ben Stagg said: “It costs £10 000-15 000 (R140 000-211 000) a year just to keep a McLaren F1 insured off-road in a garage. If you want to drive it - and it seems Mr Atkinson drives his a lot - your premium could rise to £20-40 000 (R280 000-R560 000) a year because of the added road risk.
“Now that he’s crashed it again, Atkinson’s insurers may increase the premium by another 50 percent.”
“They could also insert a limited-distance clause and increase his excess to about half the car’s total value.’
Playing Mr Bean, Atkinson drove a clapped-out Mini. In real life, he uses his McLaren for commuting between his Northamptonshire home and acting commitments in London, as well as family holidays.
Atkinson paid £634 500 (R8.9 million) for the maroon sports car new in 1997, but has seen its value soar in recent years. In 2012 one sold for £3.4 million (R48 million). By the time of the crash, he had recorded 61 000km on the odometer. Atkinson said getting back in the driving seat after 16 months was ‘like getting into a familiar sweater’. He added: ‘It has become part of my life. I hope to do 160 000km in it.’
The crash was Atkinson’s second accident in the supercar. In 1999, he ploughed it into the back of a Rover Metro.
The £910 000 bill is three times as much as the previous record payout for a repair. In 2010, Aviva paid £300 000 (R4.2 million) to fix a Paganini Zonda test car. - Daily Mail