Why do car insurance premiums rise?

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Earlier this year the AA reported that the average cost of an annual comprehensive car insurance policy had dropped from £621 to £533, a fall of 14% and the largest reduction since 1994.iStock_000014582910XSmall

From the way this was reported in the press, and promoted by the industry, you’d have thought motor cover had suddenly become amazing value and well worth what you pay for.

It was not that long ago that the average equivalent policy cost more like £400. And yet we’re made to feel that a cut to ‘only’ £533 is amazing.

Price drop comes after many years of big increases

It’s true that the price of car cover has been falling since 2012, but the truth is the drop in premiums has come after many, many years of increases which were helping the cost of keeping a car on the road to go up by way more than inflation and average earnings.

The cost of car cover premiums is especially galling for younger drivers; those between 17 and 22 still have to pay an average of nearly £1,200 a year for their cover, for example.

However, it’s not just general industry charges that put the price of premiums up. Inertia and the fact that many simply stick with the same insurer year after year are others.

Here are the main reasons you might find your car cover premiums seem to keep rising:

Fraudulent claims

Unfortunately, how your fellow drivers behave has a significant impact on cover costs.

Basically, the more fraudulent claims that are made, the more likely the insurance industry is to put up insurance costs generally.

You don’t shop around

Insurers, curiously, aren’t generous to those who stick with them.

You would have thought it might be the opposite, but often only those buying car cover with an insurer for the first time will get the big discounts. Those who simply stick with the same provider often find they pay for their inertia with higher premiums than needed.

A quick call to an insurance broker, or search using comparison sites, will give you quotes you can go back to your current provider with and, assuming you’re happy with them, ask them to match.

If they won’t, it could be time to switch.

Changing jobs

There’s no way round it, insurers have some interesting attitudes towards the type of jobs people have.

Unfortunately, if you’re a motor engineer, as opposed to ‘just’ an engineer, you’ll pay more, as would someone who ticks the ‘construction worker’ box as opposed to ‘brick layer’.

So if you change careers, get promoted or simply tick the wrong box when another may have also described what you do, you may find your car cover premiums go up.

You take up smoking

Smokers are generally seen as a higher risk. From dropping dead at the wheel from a heart attack, to starting a fire in a car with an accidentally dropped cigarette, it’s fairly easy to see why!

You buy a racier car

Cars seen as ‘racier’, and which are genuinely faster than other cars, will, inevitably, cost you more.

You buy a clapped out banger

Likewise, however, if you sell a sensible, economical four-door family saloon which is just a few years old and buy an old banger which is more likely to break down, your insurance could also rise.

Customise your car

Even if you simply change the badge on a car, you have to tell your insurer. Of course, this might not put your premiums up by much (if anything), but if you paint ‘go-faster’ stripes down it, or add specialist wheels, it most certainly will.

In fact, some providers will not insure you if you make any modifications to your motor whatsoever.

Sell your house and move into rented accommodation

As with job descriptions there doesn’t necessarily seem much logic behind it, but insurers will often charge more to car drivers who rent rather than those who own the home they live in.

But the statistics insurers rely on tell them that homeowners are less likely to make a claim than renters, and are therefore less risky to them.

Policy Expert

We have real passion for making sure people get the cover that’s right for them. We’re driven by a desire to help you find not only the best value insurance, but the right insurance for your individual needs. For more information speak to one of our experts on 0330 0600 602 or email ask@policyexpert.co.uk

The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Policy Expert.