Insurance cost drop 'masks divide'

Vehicles Motor insurance premiums have been falling but vary significantly

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Home and motor insurance premiums have dropped sharply, insurance brokers say, but the AA has highlighted big regional differences in costs.

Premiums fell by 4.9% in the second quarter of the year compared with the same period a year earlier, the British Insurance Brokers' Association said.

This included a 5.6% fall in motor insurance and a 4.2% drop in home insurance.

The AA said that the cheapest motor cover was a quarter of that in London.

The motoring organisation's index of the cheapest premiums on the market showed that the lowest costs were in the Isle of Man, where an annual comprehensive car insurance policy cost £231.49. It was the most expensive in London, where it cost £922.44.

Criminality

Janet Connor, managing director of AA Insurance, said that the age and experience of the driver and the type of vehicle were not the only factors in setting premiums. There was a postcode effect too.

"The premium reflects the likelihood of a claim being made and, in some urban areas, there is much greater risk of a collision taking place, or of car crimes such as theft of or from a vehicle, uninsured driving or attempts at 'cash for crash' fraud," she said.

"Sadly, the criminality of some people has a detrimental effect of the premiums paid by honest motorists in such places."

Overall, insurance brokers said the falling costs of motor cover were the result, in part, of action to reform the system by the government and the industry. This included attempts to tackle fraudulent claims.

The £11bn private motor insurance market has previously been criticised by competition authorities, which described premiums as unnecessarily high and said the system was not working well for motorists.

Black boxes

Graeme Trudgill, executive director at the British Insurance Brokers' Association (BIBA), said motor insurance premiums had come down from a peak in 2011 when there were 500,000 whiplash claims at a cost to the industry of £2bn annually.

Mr Trudgill added that, contrary to popular opinion, young people were saving more than any other age group on their car insurance at the moment. He said this was partly due to the introduction of so-called black boxes that can be fitted to cars to monitor how well someone drives their car.

"Traditionally young drivers have been more of a risk than middle aged drivers. Young drivers are on average three times more likely to have a claim and if they do it's likely to be three times more expensive, about £3.500 rather than £1,500," he said.

"The telematics boxes measure their driving style, acceleration and other factors, and, if they can prove they are a better than the average driver, they can save up to 25% on their motor insurance and around 300,000 people have already taken up telematics boxes."

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