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Motorists hit with sky-high insurance costs – how to avoid being one of themBack

 

If you’ve had to renew your car insurance recently, chances are you probably had a bit of a shock when you saw your new premium.

Most of us have experienced up to a terrifying 40% increase in insurance premiums, with the average annual comprehensive policy predicted to break the £1,000 barrier within 12 months according to the Daily Mail.

And the biggest reason behind it? Fraudulent claims.

Fraud may include criminal gangs staging accidents with innocent drivers, bogus injury claims and also people purposely taking the rap for another driver caught in an accident.

The Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB) has recently revealed the worst areas when it comes to fraudulent claims, with Birmingham taking the top spot, followed by Liverpool, Manchester, East London and Bradford. If you live in the worst-offending postcodes within those cities, you may even find yourself refused insurance altogether, even if you’ve never made a claim in your life.

Ironically, you may be surprised to learn the UK has the safest roads in Europe, with the lowest number of recorded crashes per person. Yet the AA reveals it has four times more whiplash claims than any other country. It seems the “where there’s blame, there’s a claim” ethos from over the water has well and truly established itself here in Blighty. In fact, for every £1 you pay for insurance, a depressingly high 10p goes to personal-injury claims lawyers.

Add to that the estimated 1.5 million uninsured drivers in the UK, for which each and every one of us pays an additional £40 a year, and it’s enough to get anyone hopping mad.

But what can the honest car owner do? Unfortunately it doesn’t look like things are going to change any time soon. In fact, if you’re female things will probably only get worse in December when it will become illegal for women to pay less than men for insurance – despite the fact they’re less likely to make expensive claims.

So every little thing you can do to minimise your premiums is worthwhile…and here are our top tips:

  • It’s common sense…but shop around. And don’t rely solely on price comparison websites where you may end up paying more or not getting a quote from one of the top players.
  • Pay in a lump sum, not monthly instalments which can add quite a bit extra to your overall premium.
  • Consider the insurance you’ll be likely to pay when choosing a car. You may be able to stretch your bank balance to a top of the range sports car, but can your pay packet afford the thousands you could pay in insurance? Vauxhall Corsas, VW Polos, Fiat Puntos and Ford Fiestas all have relatively low insurance costs compared to other models. Second hand will obviously be cheaper to insure than brand new – assuming it has all the necessary security equipment.
  • Ditch the junk currently stored in your garage, and start parking your car in there instead. And remember to tell your insurer you’re doing so!
  • If you only use your car twice a month to drive to the local shop, make sure your insurance company know that. Doing less than the average annual mileage can make a difference to what you pay.
  • Consider adding partners to your insurance, even if they rarely use your car, as they can bring down premiums.
  • Take on a sensible excess – choose something you could afford to pay, but going for just the minimum out of habit may add a substantial extra cost.
  • Don’t ever be tempted to lie….

Posted by Neil Addley on 11/05/2011