It’s been a bad few weeks for car insurance costs with several stories emerging about record increases in car premiums, up by 11% in the last year according to the Association of British Insurers (ABI).
Although we do have a very competitive market in the UK it does seem as if the last few years of low pricing is coming to an end. As always just as the wider economy starts to look inconsistent and incomes stall. This could just be an ‘adjustment’ as companies seek to correct losses, but there are also some key trends emerging that could be stopped before they really cause problems for those who are dependent on their cars for work and everyday lives. This also means that the temptation to ‘avoid’ insurance increases for some, but for most it’s a case of grin and bear it. If you believe the authorities then roadside ANPR (Automatic number plate recognition) and joined up databases should be eradicating uninsured vehicles. But the Motor Insurance Bureau (MIB) is still paying our record compensation claims for those hit by the uninsured.
We all pay about £30 extra on our premiums to fund this. It has been suggested that for the most calculating of criminals a fine for no insurance is less than the average annual premium especially for new drivers. This must be reviewed as it can never ‘pay’ to break the law.
Here at IAM RoadSmart we have also heard that speed cameras operators still do not routinely check those flashed for other motoring offences. In this day and age this is completely unacceptable. Any uninsured car out on the streets must be detected and removed as an enforcement priority.
The government can help hard pressed law abiding drivers by urgently reviewing the compensation system and cutting Insurance Premium Tax (IPT). Their pledge to wage war on dubious whiplash claims also seems to have hit the buffers with no obvious benefits to everyday drivers.
We have always said that IPT is a tax on the responsible majority trying to do the right thing. You can make savings by shopping around, fitting a black box, checking that the excess you pay still fits your budget, even by doing something as simple as garaging your car at night.
So that’s the many challenges but what about the opportunity? Taking an advanced driving course can reduce your premiums if you use our brokers or if you negotiate with most of the mainstream companies. We will ensure that our courses deliver high quality and consistent results and continue to work to convince the insurance industry of the benefits of post-test coaching – our link to the Aviva Driving App being just one example. In the meantime IAM RoadSmart members can spend the savings on something nice – but if the government don’t act quickly it might just be a cup of coffee!
Neil Greig, IAM RoadSmart’s director of policy and research