Motorists face the biggest-ever increase in their insurance premiums, according to research from independent research body Consumer Intelligence.
The average insurance premium is now £564.69, which represents an increase of 19.6% from January 2009.
Personal injury claims and fraud to blame
Figures from Consumer Intelligence – whose data is used by the Office of National Statistics – have revealed that the main factors fuelling the record hike in premiums are the rising cost of personal injury claims and fraud.
Shop around to save cash
The 19.6% rise in premiums will mean the UK's drivers are collectively facing an increased bill of 2.1 billion from the same period in 2009. However, research from Consumer Intelligence shows that drivers can slash their premiums by up to 35% by shopping around for the best deal.
Figures reveal that more than 55% of drivers who switched insurance companies in 2009 were able to save an average of £50. The figure could be even higher for 2010.
Young drivers hit the hardest
Younger drivers have been affected most by the rise in premiums, with 17-24-year olds facing an increase of 24.87 % from an average of £1275 in January 2009 to £1489.44 in December. The increase is almost double that experienced by drivers aged 65 and over. This age group has had the smallest increase in premiums.
Men are facing the most significant increases on their insurance premiums. In the past 12 months the average policy for a man has increased by 20.1% to £599.65. This compares with an increase of 19.1% to £523.55 for women.
Ian Hughes, managing director of Consumer Intelligence, said: 'The worry is that this record increase could result in more motorists simply choosing not to insure their vehicles and drive illegally, or feel that they can no longer afford to run a car.
'In order to reduce their car insurance premiums, motorists need to consider what sort of vehicle they drive, and make sure that they shop around for cover. With such a large number of providers to choose from, the difference between the best and worst quote can be huge.'
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