Many UK motorists are waiting too long for payment for approved insurance claims, according to research from automated clearing house BACS.

The average time for claims to be settled is between two and three months, compared with an average of six weeks for contents insurance claims. And 12% of those surveyed had waited more than six months to receive payment.

Peter Blake from BACS said: “Our research indicates that there are potentially half a million motorists waiting over six months for claims, totalling around £780m to be settled. With such large sums of money involved, it's important that approved claims reach customers quickly and conveniently.”

BACS is calling for more payments to be made directly into customers' accounts. Only 7% of motor insurance claims are currently paid this way. BACS's research revealed that 62% of claimants were happy to receive payment by direct credit.