/ 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?

Colin says:
15 June 2017

I have recently been caught out with Auto Renewal on my house insurance as I did not see the last years premium to make a comparison. I believe the insurance companies should not have the right to auto renew without the getting the approval from their cusomers

You probably needed to have unchecked a tick box when you filled in your previous year’s quotation request, Colin. I will not allow auto-renewal but I think there is a penalty for that in the premium.

I usually take the opportunity to change something when I renew my insurance. It might be changing the estimated annual mileage or adding a named driver, and I suspect that this can only be done without cost at the time of renewal.

If auto-renewal is a possibility, this should be opt-in and not opt-out.

There is a danger that if you choose to change something at renewal, then it may have needed to notify the insurer before renewal, if so you may have invalidated your insurance.

I don’t agree with opt-in on auto-renew. This puts a continuous credit arrangement on your credit card if you paid by card, which remains valid even if you cancel your credit card.

You are absolutely right about the need to inform insurers of changes promptly, Greytech. It’s part of the contract you have entered into.

I do believe that insurers should not charge for minor amendments to insurance unless there there is a material change in the risk. A motor insurer wanted to charge me for amending my record to indicate that I had retired. At the previous renewal I had said that I would be retiring on a particular date, about four months later but they declined to record the information and told me to call back at the time. I persuaded them to waive the charge and there was no change in premium.

I will watch out for any attempt to invite me to auto-renew, which I have no intention of doing.

Sue says:
15 June 2017

Received my car insurance renewal this week and it had gone up by £100 despite not having made a claim and with over 20 years ncb. Carried out a few price comparisons then got fed up and phoned my insurer direct (SAGA). After a discussion they agreed to match the lowest quote (like for like) and also threw in free private health cover if involved in an accident whilst travelling by car, plane, pedestrian or passenger in a car. So yes it pays to haggle.

Mr M Stone says:
15 June 2017

Having previous year’s premium noted on the renewal notice is useful and welcome. If there’s a large increase (will insurance companies dare?), it will spur me to shop around. If it’s a small increase (could it even be a reduction?), then I’ll probably be happy for the company to keep my business.

RMolloy1 says:
15 June 2017

My car insurance renewal quote came thru at £445 and as required they quoted last years premium as £427 not much of an increase you might think, however last years premium was in fact £270. I have changed my insure

Peter says:
15 June 2017

My car insurance quote did show a figure for last year’s premium, but this bore no resemblance to what I had actually paid. Funnily enough the figure was much higher than my renewal quote for this year. It seemed like I was getting a bargain! When I challenged them over the phone they couldn’t explain why the figure for last year was (a) wrong and (b) so much higher than this year’s renewal price and then, astonishingly (c) that this year’s renewal price had been misquoted in their letter and had now increased. I told them, as politely as I could, that I wasn’t prepared to give my business to a bunch of amateur p-artists and I found a cheaper competitor on-line.

Last year I was insured by LV through Nationwide. A recent renewal quote showed about 20% increase on last year. I called LV direct – their quote for identical insurance was nearly £100 lower and less than I paid last year.
How can this make sense?
Another tip for older drivers. If you have a son or daughter with a good driving record who might want/need to drive your car in the coming year, ask about the effect of adding them as an additional named driver. Last year I saved nearly £30 and this advantage has now carried over to this year. Just to be on the safe side it might be sensible to get them to drive at least once – even if its just round the block.

I have just reinsured my old Ford Fiesta. The premium renewal had increased from approx £150 to £180 (full no claims comprehensive). I knew that premium surcharges were due to rise but this increase seemed excessive. Previous experience of shopping aroung suggested that other providers are rarely more competitive (perhaps £5 cheaper). I chose to request a new quote with the same provider which resulted in a premium of £151 for the same cover – good enough for me!

Claire says:
15 June 2017

Our car insurance increased by over £50 but we couldn’t get it cheaper elsewhere – even using Which advice And your best buy tables. Feels like there’s a cartel.

Yes, Claire, it does seem like that sometimes, but all the motor insurers are using basically the same data supplied through their trade body, the Motor Insurers Bureau, and merely adjusting it at the margin with their own claims experience which, for the most popular models and largest categories of insured parties, will be fairly consistent. The MIB also standardises the compensation policy across the industry and deals with claims against uninsured drivers. There is not a huge amount of scope for variation on basic policies and premiums except where, for marketing and competition reasons, a company wishes to attract certain classes of customer and deter certain others. The companies can also see instantly all the terms and conditions set by their competitors, as well as their competitors’ premiums, in order to match them.

N Naylor says:
15 June 2017

In common with other members I found that Lv raised my premium significantly this year (plus 30%). Even with better quotes from other insurers I could not get Lv to make more than a token reduction. I wonder if their huge popularity flagged in Which? reports (and a large increase in their customer base) has emboldened the company to impose what appears to me to be an excessive hike in premiums. I declined their invitation to renew.
The rquirement to remind clients of their previous annual premium is helpful if you don’t retain last year’s paperwork!
On the subject of NCD protection, which I pay the extra premium for, the insurance company will always raise the premium at renewal following a claim, and I have my doubts as to whether this protection saves money – I’m just not sure enough to abandon the cover.

I recently received a quote for my multi-car insurance. The renewal told me what I had been quoted last year and warned me that I may have paid a different amount. Last year’s quote was for around £1000, I actually paid around £700. This year’s quote is for over £1200.

Richardattoot says:
16 June 2017

It was helpful to have last year’s premium displayed although I would have checked in the paperwork. My premium had gone up 13% and I found that I could get it cheaper through the Which website, but only a little less than last year. However after haggling I was initially told be RAC that the original quote was the final offer. I said that I could get it cheaper elsewhere and was about to phone off when suddenly a cheaper offer was found – a little cheaper than last year. It was not the lowest quote but I accepted it to avoid hassle.

I was asked in a further email to give my opinion of the process of getting the insurance and said that I was dissatisfied in a tick-box survey. To my surprise I got a phone call two days later to ask what they might improve. I said that I was annoyed at the silly game they play to make me pay more when they know that they could have offered the cheaper price originally. The speaker apologised and said that it was not their policy and the person which whom I haggled had not followed instructions.

Tia Maria says:
16 June 2017

I put the previous years insurance on my Calander along with renewal date so I know what to expect. Usually gets higher but then haggle to get it nearer the previous year.

My fully comprehensive car insurance with Direct Line increased from £505 to £650(after a big increase last year). I shopped around on Go Compare for similar insurance and got a quote for £410(other quotes were even cheaper) . I rang back Direct Line and they said they could reduce their quote to £510 which I said was unsatisfactory so I went with the Go Compare quote from Santander. I bet that if I go back to Direct Line next year as a “new customer” I’ll then get a better quote still but we’ll see.

Got renewal quote £40 up(16.6%), got alternate quote for £30 less than renewal. Rang my insurer back and they matched saving £30 on original renewal.

When I received my renewal quote I looked on line for a cheaper quote and got a quote of £110 less for exactly the same coverFROM the Same Insurer, for motor insurance, and the same for property insurance of £60 . When I asked them WHY they said it was because I had booked on line. I dont believe booking on line will save that amount. I think the renewal was just a try on.

Whether it is car or house/contents insurance, I know how much I have paid each year for the past 15 years, it is not particularly difficult to keep track of one’s outgoings. As a pensioner and therefore on a fixed income it is important to control expenditure in relation to income, why so many of our population find this difficult defeats me. Mr Macawber was correct, income £100 expenditure £99.19.11, happiness, income £100 expenditure £100. 00. 01 penury. Perhaps our educational system could include in the final year teaching the next generation how to manage a household budget and other areas of basic finance.

My Car Insurance premium went up from c. £180 to c. £250 in June.
I queried this with the insurer who advised that all premiums had gone up so I had a thorough look at the renewal quote. I then noticed that I was paying for business use cover which I no longer needed. Removal of this reduced the premium to £237. After using comparison sites, I contacted the insurer and after a bit of haggling got the premium down to £225.
So yes, premiums do seem to have increased but it is still worth haggling with your existing insurer. The cheapest that I could find was £221 and decided that it wasn’t worth moving to save £4.
If the two premiums ie last year and the renewal had not been shown on the renewal note I would probably have paid up. So as far as I am concerned the showing of the two amounts is a very good idea.

Including last year’s premium is useful, but I could have looked it up anyway. But all that really matters is to negotiate a good deal, with them or someone else.
Their risk rates/bundles/discounts vary from year to year, often you can get a better deal with another company just for being a new customer, and it’s easy enough to change. When my premium is due, I shop around for a good deal with a decent insurer and a policy that meets what I need. I then go back to my current supplier and see if they will beat it. Why not give them chance to do that? If you don’t give them chance you are just doing yourself out of a few quid.

Until last year I always used price comparison websites but they have all gone up ridiculously, so I started trying the companies that don’t use comparison websites and gor a very good deal from Direct line on my wife’s car, about £170 for our Peugeot 406 Hdi estate. We were with them some years ago but they got to dear, my insurance didn’t increase much when I was 70 but I’m coming up to 80 now so will see what happens.

I have an almost identical car to my wife and I am a named driver on it, so will be interested so see how much mine is with them this year

Dave says:
19 June 2017

I received a renewal notice with about a 10% increase. Usually I would have simply found another insurer, as some have suggested, but due to time pressures I started by querying the premium. After checking some details the premium [magically] reduced to less than the previous year’s amount. Maybe the best approach is to first question the premium and then find alternatives