The main reasons for choosing not to claim were the loss of bonuses and the hassle involved, according to the study by Empathy Research.
Of the 2,500 drivers surveyed, one-in-five said they had some type of accident in the previous two years. Among that group, however, only 35% had made a claim.
The remaining 65% cited the high cost of losing their bonus and the hassle with insurance companies as the main factor in not submitting a claim.
The research was carried out for XS Direct whose policies are aimed at motorists with high premiums but who are willing to pay a higher policy excess before a claim is met, in order to reduce their premium.
According to the company, the survey found motorists have their heads in the sand over the real cost of making an insurance claim.
The respondents, most of whom had not submitted an insurance claim in recent years, were asked to state the maximum amount they would be willing to pay to avoid claiming on their policy and losing their no-claims bonus.
The amounts varied from a high of €755 among men aged less than 24, to a low of €425 among women over 30, with most people considering it worthwhile paying about the same amount as their premium to avoid having to submit a claim on their policy.
But the company says a standard policy holder with a full bonus making a claim will effectively pay out more than three times their annual premium.
XS direct marketing director John Walsh said that, as well as paying the excess associated with every policy, drivers face a hidden cost in the extra premium paid out in subsequent years because of the loss of any no-claims bonuses.
“The findings from this survey indicate that the public severely underestimate the full cost of claiming under their policy and that the insurance industry has done little to correct that misunderstanding,” he said.
“In reality, losing your bonus can cost thousands and the current standard policy excesses of €100 to €300 are extremely misleading for the consumer,” Mr Walsh said.