Insurance costs falling says the AA

* Cost of premiums is down * Young drivers (17-22) also benefit * Young females advised to buy insurance now...

Insurance costs falling says the AA

Car insurance costs are getting cheaper, according to the latest AA British Insurance Premium Index for the third quarter of 2012.

The Average quote for comprehensive cover fell by 2.9% to 844, although premiums are still 5.6% higher than they were 12 months ago.

Personal injury claims, many of which have been fraudulent, continue to inflate premiums, though.

The Institute of Actuaries has released figures showing personal injury companies had their income boosted by 21% in 2011. The average cost of each personal injury claim including whiplash is 8400; this costs the insurance industry an estimated 400m annually.

With new European Union rulings on insurance gender equality taking effect from December 21, the AA expects the gap between male and female premiums to close, especially among young drivers.

Simon Douglas, director of AA Insurance, said: 'Over the coming weeks, most insurers (including AA Insurance) will introduce gender-neutral pricing ahead of the deadline. This will affect young female drivers most, who could see their premiums increase by as much as 25%.

Premiums for young drivers (aged 17-22) have fallen, though. Young men have seen the average cost fall by 0.7% to 1603, while those for young women fell by 2.2% to 1127.

Young women are currently paying an average of 500 less for their cover, but the EU ruling on gender equality will result in these savings wiped out from December.

The AA's Simon Douglas said: My advice to young women would be to buy their insurance as soon as they can, while young men might be advised to wait until the New Year because their premiums are likely to fall further.

All regions of the UK experienced a fall in insurance premiums, with the exception of Anglia where they rose by 1.4%.

Scotland remains the cheapest region with an average premium of 438 (down 0.1%), while Greater Manchester and Liverpool are the most expensive, at 1059 (up 0.3%).

By Rory White