/ Motoring

Has your car insurance premium crept up?

Car insurance cost

For drivers, 2017 has been a mixed bag when it comes to car insurance. If you’re up for the fight, it can be a tough challenge to score a cheaper insurance premium. So, do you feel like a car insurance winner or loser in 2017?

Arguably, never before have drivers been armed with a better arsenal for ensuring they get a competitive deal when it comes to car insurance. Yet for many, their premiums are now more expensive than ever – so what’s going on?

Car insurance

Back in February, insurers were required to start providing information on their websites about how their no-claims discount structure works. This change should help drivers work out whether paying an extra £60 or so for No Claims Discount Protection is actually worth it.

Then in April (and after no small amount of Which? campaigning on insurance renewals), it became compulsory for insurers to provide customers with a reminder of their previous year’s premium along with their renewal offer. This way, it should be easier to spot how much the premium has changed.

Besides these changes, finding a competitive quote can be done quickly using multiple comparison sites (although comparing cover can be trickier). At the very least, these comparison quotes give drivers a basis on which to haggle with their current insurer.

Insurance hikes

On the flipside, 2017 is looking like a year of severe increases for insurance premiums. As of today, Insurance Premium Tax has been notched up to 12% (from 10%) – having doubled over the past six years, raising three times in the past 24 months alone.

On top of that, recent legislation around how compensation payments are calculated is also affecting what drivers are charged – with estimated increases of 10% across this year on the average motor insurance premium, and larger hikes for younger drivers and those over 65.

According to the comparison website, Comparethemarket.com, the average annual car insurance policy will rise to about £800 for the first time on record – and could hit £1,000 by the end of next year.

Have you saved on your car insurance in 2017?

Yes - I saved by changing insurers (36%, 354 Votes)

No - my car insurance has gone up (33%, 324 Votes)

Yes - I haggled and saved money (32%, 314 Votes)

Total Voters: 992

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So, have you noticed any unexpected increases in your premium, perhaps after a landmark birthday or completely out of the blue? Have you been driven to investigate the rest of the market after a big hike?


My John Lewis car insurance premium increased by nearly 40 per cent this year from £345 to £476.
I tried to haggle as John Lewis has been our home and travel insurer for some time but without success.
They said this was the lowest quote from the numerous underwriters they use – which seems very inflexible.
Needless to say I used a comparison website and got a much lower quote. Never knowingly undersold!

I had a very small accident. John Lewis took eight weeks to fix the damage. Their service was dreadful. I have an automatic but my hire car replacement incurred an automatic surcharge. I was charged a £3% admin fee on a debit card excess payment. WHICH? says you are insured through Aegas I was insured through Sabre an insurer for younger and hard to insure drivers (I am 73) whose service was likewise awful. WHICH? however have no comments on claims so how can they rate JLP so highly? WHICH? have let me down because I believed their assessment. Avoid John Lewis Insurance at all costs.WHICH? should not recommend insurers without a decent claims review otherwise its just a tick the box exercise. Like John above but he should be thankful he never had to claim.

Richard says:
28 June 2017

I have recently renewed my car insurance policy and noticed the renewal premium had gone up by £45 (16.5%). I used a comparison website and obtained a reduction on the price of £26.95. Armed with this information I went back to my insurer who offered me a reduction of £58.29, i.e. 18.36% less than the premium originally quoted. Well worth the effort!

David Williams says:
30 June 2017

My renewal from Direct Line was £18 less than last year, and £114 less than LV, your 2nd best choice.

Rob Johnson says:
30 June 2017

In June 2017 I had my renewal for motor insurance to say it was £383.
In smaller print below it said last years renewal premium was £283.
This was very helpful!
I asked what had happened to cause £100 increase.
The broker looked into it and said it should be £303 with same company.
An increase of £20 was accepted.

LV have hiked up my renewal premium by 46.01%. The only difference from last year is that I have now reached the age of 75. Neither myself nor my friends and neighbours (of a similar age) have ever had accidents or made any other claims, so I believe we are probably safer, on average, that young drivers or those who have to rush around to meet deadlines.
I believe that LV are being opportunistic.
We have two cars and two homes (Buildings and contents ) insurance with them so unless they reduce the quote they are going to lose a lot of business.

I think we need to be saying to these companies that their first chance to quote is their last chance. At the moment they assume people will haggle and build it into their initial quotation.

Its a little disappointing to see Which? jumping on the bandwagon in this month’s edition and supporting the insurers’ claims that it is injury claims driving up insurance premiums.

Firstly Which? should be supporting the rights of those who are injured to be fairly recompensed and assisted to be able to claim that compensation where necessary and secondly, both Direct Line and RSA have this week posted substantially increased profits, despite changes to the compensation discount rate (which was supposed to make settlements much more expensive but has not had the impact that was expected) and confirmed that injury claims are actually falling.

Yes, I am a solicitor, but no, my practice doesn’t do personal injury work and never has, I just like to see consumers treated fairly – something Which? used to do well, but something where it more and more seems to focus only on price.

So beware, it is not injury claims that are driving up the costs of insurance premiums, it is insurance companies protecting their profits that are driving up insurance premiums because they are no longer getting the investment returns on their reserves that they used to and have to bolster their position somehow? Is that a problem? It depends which side of the fence you are looking at it from. If you personally or your pension fund invests in insurance company shares you probably want them to perform well and are happy to pay the increased premiums, in which case you probably don’t want to complain too loudly!

I have been a Which? member for many years but have only just joined the Forums – I note that the messages here are a couple of years old so I will be happy to re-post if there is a better thread elsewhere. I am about to renew my car insurance, I get a good price from RAC – after the usual tap-dance around the opening offer so no problem there. However, looking at reviews on-line (not always the best thing) it appears that beyond price, the real issue is the way in which the underwriters treat you post-problem. I contacted the RAC and asked about the relationship between me and the RAC should I have a reason to claim, they said that the underwriter might ask for details only. However, most problems on Internet forums are to do with being handed off from the main insurer to the underwriter.

The underwriter RAC chose (to get me a lower price) have a poor record if the internet is to be believed. My question is that ‘all the reviews of insurance concentrate on the ‘seller’ (RAC, LV, etc etc) but is it possible to get a clear picture of the underwriters’? Perhaps paying more might prove the better option if you needed to make a claim; having said that, NFU receive a lot of bad press and they have an apparent excellent track record and are a Which? leader (I accept that the internet is a variable beast!). Grateful for any reply. Chris