UK & World News
Mr Bean Star Settles £900k Car Insurance Bill
Mr Bean actor Rowan Atkinson has successfully claimed more than £900,000 from car insurers to repair his rare and valuable McLaren F1.
His claim, which is thought to be the highest ever recorded in the UK, follows a 2011 crash on the A605 near Haddon, Cambridgeshire, that left Atkinson with a badly damaged shoulder.
The unusual repair job is extensively documented in Classic & Sports Car magazine, with a picture of the burgundy McLaren on the cover.
Ben Stagg, specialist insurer with RK Harrison, said the quality components used to make an F1 are one reason the repair costs were so high.
The high-performance car makes extensive use of carbon fibre and needed specialist care - it took weeks just to get a proper insurance estimate.
"All modern supercars are predominantly carbon fibre - most Lamborghinis, most Ferraris - and the smallest ding in carbon fibre is a big repair job," said Stagg.
"And part of the engine bay is gold, that's the best heat conductor. It's the materials they used compared to everyday cars that make it so expensive."
He said many owners baby their expensive cars, driving them only a few times a year in perfect weather conditions, but Atkinson actually drives his McLaren extensively.
The Blackadder star told the magazine he believes supercars should be used, not sequestered in garages.
"It depresses me when great cars are hidden away," he said. "It's a crime not to use it."
Magazine editor Alastair Clements said Atkinson, 58, should be applauded.
"He let us do the story because he wanted other enthusiasts to know that he loves it, that he isn't just some celebrity with an expensive car, that he's owned it for 15 years and loved it for 15 years," he said.
"He's put it back exactly as it was. He's a bit of a hero. It's much more than the value."
Although the insurance claim may seem eye-watering to most drivers, the last used McLaren F1 sold on the open market went for about £3.5m, said Stagg.
After the year-long repair project, it is thought the actor's annual insurance premium could be as high as £60,000.
Atkinson, whose Mr Bean act was revived during the Olympics opening ceremony last summer, is currently appearing on the West End stage in Quartermaine's Terms, by Simon Gray.
He has received rave reviews for his portrayal of St John Quartermaine, a hapless and lonely English language teacher at a Cambridge school in the early 1960s.