Cost of car insurance reaches almost £1,000, the highest price on record in the UK

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The average price of car insurance in the UK has edged closer to £1,000 following further increases, new data reveals.

Drivers can now expect to pay £995 for their car insurance, on average – the highest price on record in the UK. That’s according to the latest car insurance price index by Confused.com, powered by WTW. Based on more than 6 million quotes per quarter, it’s the most comprehensive car insurance price index for new business premiums in the UK.

According to the data, prices have increased by an average of £366 (58%) in the past 12 months. However, in the past 3 months, prices only increased by 8%, or £71, on average. While this is a significant change over a short time, it’s still considerably lower than the changes over the last 6 months. Between March and September last year, prices increased by 18% and 19% for each 3 month period.. However, with the UK economy still fluctuating, and the insurance industry reacting to this, how long increases stay at this pace remains to be seen.

As it stands, prices are still rising, and some drivers could be paying significantly more for their premiums if they choose to renew. That’s as further research suggests renewing customers are now even more likely to see significant annual price increases. In a survey of 2,000 UK drivers, around 3 in 4 (75%) of those who renewed their policy in the last 3 months saw their premium increase. This is around 10% more than those who renewed at any other point last year, on average. And those who received a higher renewal price were quoted £98 more than the previous year, on average.

In comparison with Confused.com’s data, this is more expensive than the price they could be paying if they took out a new policy. Of these, 37% went on to shop around and took out a new policy with a different insurer, saving £96, on average. Meanwhile, only 7% received a cheaper renewal price, on average.

So while prices are up across the board, it’s clear from the data that those who choose to shop around rather than renewing their policy could be better off. And this could be a key consideration for some drivers, who are paying significantly more than the UK average. For example, younger drivers are paying the highest prices.

And it’s also these drivers who have been hit with the biggest increases. Motorists aged between 17 and 20 have seen their premiums rise by more than £1,000, on average, compared to 12 months ago. For 17 year olds, this is a 98% increase year-on-year, equivalent to £1,423, on average.

This brings the average price of a policy to £2,877. Meanwhile, a £1,447 (84%) increase in prices for 18-year-olds means they’re paying more than £3,000 for the first time. Their premiums reached £3,162 on average. Hefty increases also means that drivers up to the age of 43 can expect to pay £1,000 or more for their car insurance, on average.

It’s a similar picture for different regions across the UK too, with some paying significantly more than others. In particular, prices in Northern Ireland have tipped over the £1,000 mark for the first time on record. This is after prices increased by £383 (57%) in the past 12 months. This brings the average premium in the region to £1,051. Meanwhile, a 64% (£350) increase in prices in Central Scotland means premiums have doubled in 2 years, with the average driver now paying £897.

However, London remains the most expensive region in the UK for car insurance. Drivers in Inner and Outer London pay £1,607 and £1,291 respectively, on average.

With prices increasing significantly, it’s a bleak time for drivers and their car insurance. That’s even if they’re able to save compared to the year before. But experts at Confused.com urge drivers to review their policies to see if there are other ways they can save. Especially as the cost of living crisis continues to impact many.

There are some tips drivers can try to keep costs down when it comes to renewal.

  • Use a price comparison site – When it comes to keeping costs down, the best thing you can do is compare prices. That way you can ensure you’re getting the best deal to suit your needs and not paying more than you need to. And it’s likely that you can make a saving.
  • Pay for your car insurance annually – If you can afford it, pay for your insurance in one go rather than monthly. That’s because insurance companies often charge interest for spreading the cost of your cover over the year.
  • Increase your voluntary excess – Increasing your voluntary excess can help you get cheaper car insurance. But you need to make sure you can afford to pay it, if you need to claim.
  • Be accurate with mileage – Generally, the more miles you drive, the more likely you are to have an accident and make a claim. This means the higher your mileage, the more you pay for your car insurance. So, driving fewer miles can be a great way to save money on your car insurance policy. But don’t assume that a low mileage always means low prices. If you barely drive at all, your insurance company could see that as a risk as well.
  • Enhance your car security – The harder it is to steal your car, the less of a risk it is. This usually means cheaper car insurance. There are several ways to improve your car security including: Installing a Thatcham-approved car alarm or immobiliser, if it doesn’t already have one, adding secondary levels of security like a steering lock and Parking overnight in a secure, well-lit car park, or at home in a garage or driveway, if possible

For more advice on how to reduce costs, visit Confused.com’s guide on how to get cheaper car insurance.

But why are prices so high at the moment? Inflation has played a key role in the rise of car insurance costs, due to the impact on the cost of repairs and claims. Since the end of the pandemic, the number of cars on the road has increased to a normal, if not inflated level. This means the risk of accidents and claims is a lot higher than before. And the amount insurers are having to pay for these claims has increased too, as parts and labour costs are all impacted by inflation.

Similarly, cars are holding their value for longer, or are generally equipped with more technology or expensive equipment. This means the cost to replace a car is more than before too. So while inflation remains high, insurers are paying more to cover the cost of claims. This is reflected in the prices they’re offering drivers for their car insurance.

While it seems from Confused.com’s data that there’s some respite from steep increases, the car insurance market remains incredibly volatile. This is why it’s so important that drivers are shopping around and comparing policies. By doing this, they can make sure they’re getting the best price, as prices are likely to be high for some time.

Louise Thomas, motoring expert at Confused.com car insurance comments, “Like a lot of our expenses, car insurance is getting more costly. And this is likely to be the case for some time. Claiming is one of the biggest factors when it comes to insurers pricing up policies. And with the cost of paying out for claims being considerably high, insurance prices are going to be too.

“While it looks like increases could be slowing down for now, we still need to be doing what we can to keep these costs as low as possible. Things like increasing security, reviewing how many miles you drive or adjusting your excess could bring your overall cost down. But it’s important to remember that the information you’re providing should be accurate otherwise you risk invalidating your policy if you need to make a claim.

“Ultimately, shopping around is the only way to know you’re paying the cheapest price available to you. With prices so high, it’s a very competitive market. So if you look around, there’s likely to be an insurer out there willing to offer a cheaper price. We’re so certain that we offer a guarantee to beat your renewal, or pay you the difference, plus £20(2). In this scenario, you not only get the best price, but you also get more cash. So there’s nothing to lose and lots to be gained.”

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