Average car insurance prices around the world

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Car insurance in the UK can be expensive, but is it any more expensive in other countries? Or do other countries have it better than us? For a bit of perspective, here’s a look at average car insurance prices around the world.

Number crunching

We crunch some pretty big car insurance numbers here at MoneySupermarket, and based on our quotes data for the first three months of 2013, the average UK car insurance premium was £439. Of course, you could be paying much more or less than this – it all depends on your age, car, driving experience, occupation, address and so on – but the average is less than £500. Drivers in some countries pay way more than this.

In the American state of Louisiana, drivers fork out an average of $2,699 a year for cover (around £1,789!), according to insure.com. In some US states, however, you could pay nothing for car insurance, as it isn’t a legal requirement. In New Hampshire, for example, you can drive without car insurance. While some US states say you can drive without insurance but must prove your ability to pay for any damage you might cause as a result of an accident, New Hampshire doesn’t even ask for that assurance. Of course if you are involved in accident in New Hampshire, you’re at fault and you don’t have any insurance, you’ll be required to post a bond or cash equal to the amount of damage you cause. In effect, this could be hugely expensive.

If you triggered a multiple vehicle pile-up or caused an injury to someone who then needed lifelong care and medical treatment, the costs could be massive – will into the millions of dollars. New Zealand drivers aren’t required by law to have car insurance either, but interestingly, the NZ government published some research in 2009 which found only 7.6% of drivers chose not to buy insurance.

In the UK, where car insurance is a legal requirement, 4% of drivers are taking to the roads without cover, according to research from the Motor Insurers Bureau last year. Italian drivers pay an average of 407 euros for cover, according to economist.com. This is equivalent to just under £350, so drivers over on Lo stivale seem to get a bit of a better deal than us. Some countries are more expensive than the UK because their no claims discounts aren’t as big as ours. Some UK insurers offer up to 70 or 80% no claims discount for drivers with the saintliest driving records, but other countries such as France stop at 50% no claims discount.

Driving abroad

Unless you’re moving abroad, you don’t need to worry about the average price of car insurance in a given country, because if you’re visiting as a tourist and hiring a car or taking your own, you’ll be using your own insurance or buying through the hire company. As explained in my article ‘Don’t get caught without cover on the Continent’, if you’re driving in Europe you’ll probably find your own policy will provide limited cover (usually the bare minimum in the country you’re visiting) for a limited period (anywhere between a week and 90 days, depending on your insurer and policy).

If you’re hiring a car then insurance will generally be included in the hire price, but it may be worth taking out car hire excess insurance so that, if anything does happen, you won’t have to fork out the excess. Any international readers out there care to weigh in on how car insurance in the UK compares to their own countries? Speak up in the comments below.

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