Sainsbury's Bank publishes their Car Insurance Index every year, taking a snapshot of UK car insurance premiums and tracks trends in the motor insurance industry. According to their report released in early September, the cost of insuring your vehicle rose an average of 4.2% since June 2006. In cash terms, most motorists are paying about £19.80 more to insure their cars this year than last year.
While car insurance premiums are definitely on the rise, those rises don't affect everyone equally. Your gender and age have a big effect on just how much your car insurance has risen and is likely to rise. According to the figures quoted by Sainsbury's, car insurance for men has risen faster than car insurance for women. Between June 2006 and July 2007, the average car insurance premium for men rose 5.2% to £518.46 as opposed to 3.1% to £442.28 for women overall. Men are generally considered to be a higher risk because of their tendency to take greater risks, which is borne out by the statistics which show more accidents per capita among men than among women in every age range.
Age is another big factor in the amount of insurance premiums that you pay, and in the percentage by which auto premiums have risen in the past year. For drivers under 25, the highest risk category, insurance has risen a whopping 11.2% since July 2006. The next biggest rise was for drivers in the 25-40 age group, reflecting the fact that this age group tends to log more driving hours than other drivers. Car insurance premiums for this age group rose 5.81% overall. The lowest rise in premiums for any age group was for those drivers age 65 and over - a mere 2.7%.
When you couple the average rise in auto insurance premiums with the fact that the groups whose insurance rose the most already have the highest premiums (males up to age 25, in particular), it becomes clear just how much more expensive it is to drive in the UK this year than last.
Surprisingly, most drivers do not switch insurers, even after a staggering premium rise. Most feel that it's easier and more convenient to just stay with their current insurers than it is to hunt down another motor insurer who might offer them better rates. In fact, only about 1 in 5 drivers even bother to get quotes from another insurer when renewal time rolls around. That convenience could be costing them dearly. While not everyone will find lower rates by shopping around, most drivers who switch their car insurer save about £100 per year.
Of course, the cheapest quote may not offer you the best deal, or save you money in the long run. That £56 you saved on the premium could be completely wiped out if it turns out that you don't have windscreen cover when someone pitches a rock through your windscreen. So, it's important to compare policies as a whole when you're shopping for the best car insurance policy, don't just focus on price.
A good strategy is to use two price comparison websites such as CompareTheMarket.com and Tesco Compare to get quotes from the majority of the UK market and approach the insurers direct to verify premiums and compare policy features.
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