2018 car insurance prices continue to fall
Motorists who fail to shop around when their car insurance comes up for renewal could be missing out on huge savings. To make a year-on-year saving of up to £276*, drivers should shop around by running a fresh quotation
Insurance companies offer their best prices to new customers as they try to add more business to their books. And they subsidise this tactic by charging their existing customers higher prices at renewal. That’s why we urge people always to shop around, so they can be confident they are getting a competitive deal.
This has become more important because our analysis of quotes run on our site shows that premiums are falling for those shopping around. In the third quarter of 2018, the average comprehensive car insurance price we saw was £484. That's £70 less than the figure for the same quarter in 2017 (£553).
So why are premiums falling? A major reason is that, last year, premiums rocketed because of changes to the way personal injury compensation payments are calculated - insurers increased prices to help fund larger pay-outs to victims of accidents. But thanks to a government u-turn, the change will not have the expected impact on compensation awards, reducing the need for premium hikes.
Additionally, the government is overhauling the legal system later this year to reduce the number of fraudulent whiplash claims, which add £35-£40 to every car insurance premium. So it’s more good news for hard-pressed motorists - provided they shop around to find a cheaper premium.
*51% of consumers could save up to £276.82 Consumer Intelligence, August 2018
Average premiums by region
One of the main factors affecting how much you pay for car insurance is population density. The more cars there are on the road, the greater the likelihood of collisions and claims, and more claims means higher premiums. That is why drivers in largely rural areas, such as south-west England and the highlands of Scotland, pay less than those in major conurbations.
Another factor affecting price differentials across locations is fraud. Cities such as Birmingham, Manchester and Bradford have high incidences of staged accidents between criminals and deliberate crashes with innocent victims. These are used to generate unjustified claims for personal injury such as whiplash, so when insurers are asked for a quotation by someone living in a postcode where there is a history of fraud, they charge a higher premium to reflect the local risk profile.
Tap a region to find out more:
How age & gender affect car insurance costs
Age is a well-established influence on insurance premiums. In simple terms, the younger (and thus less experienced) the driver, the higher the premiums.
Accident statistics show that drivers under the age of 25, and particularly teenagers, are involved in a disproportionately high number of accidents. What is more, these accidents take place at high speed, resulting in serious injuries to a greater number of people because younger drivers tend to carry more passengers than older ones.
This probably explains why ‘black box’ telematics insurance, which allows a driver to demonstrate their safe driving capabilities, is growing in popularity.
It is harder to account for the lower premiums charged to women drivers because insurers are not allowed by law to take gender into account when setting premiums.
The likely explanation is that women tend to drive less expensive cars with lower performance capabilities, factors which of themselves attract lower premiums. Also, if women are making fewer claims, they may be moving ahead of men in terms of earning larger no claims discounts.
It’s important to reiterate, however, that pricing discrepancies between men and women are not the result of insurers explicitly charging one gender more than the other, which became illegal in 2012.
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Source information (MSM car insurance quotes, last 6 years, updated on a quarterly basis)
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