Scottish regions hit by highest quarterly increase in car insurance costs

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Drivers in Scotland have recently been hit by some of the steepest quarterly rises in the cost of car insurance of any part of the UK. That’s according to Confused.com’s Q2 2017 car insurance price index, powered by Willis Towers Watson.

Between April and June, prices in the Highlands & Islands, for example, were 13% higher than the previous three-month period - the highest quarterly rise experienced by any UK region.

This has put an extra £74 on the average annual comprehensive premium, which now stands at £668.

In fact, drivers all across Scotland have seen some of the highest regional quarterly percentage rises within the UK. Over the past three months, drivers in the East and North East of the country have seen costs go up 12%, adding an extra £67 to premiums to take the average to £635. And those in the Borders region have experienced rises of 11%, or £61, bringing average premiums there to £608.

Looking back over the past year, it’s a similar story across much of Scotland. The Scottish Borders region has experienced an annual price hike of 27%, or £129 – the highest yearly percentage rise within the UK. By comparison, prices in both Inner and Outer London regions have risen by just 15% over the past 12 months – the joint lowest percentage annual rises in the UK. However, due to the fact motorists tend to pay more for car insurance in London, this has equated to a £175 and £140 rise respectively. And at £608, prices in the Borders region typically remain the lowest in the UK.

Meanwhile, on a more local level, motorists in the Hebrides have seen their premiums double over the past two years to £936.

Despite the rises, drivers in Scotland as a whole still tend to pay less for car insurance than other parts of the UK. Across the four main Scottish regions, which include the Borders, Central, East & North East and the Highlands & Islands, drivers are paying between £608 and £695 on average. Compare this to the whole of the UK, where average premiums have risen 8% over the past three months, and it is still some way lower than the £847 national average.

The rate of the increase can largely be attributed to extra pressures recently imposed upon the industry, including the Ogden rate cut, which sees insurers potentially paying out more for personal injury claims1, and an increase in Insurance Premium Tax (IPT) in June2. In fact, since the Ogden announcement in February, premiums have soared across the UK by almost £100 in just four months.

These pressures have caused the cost of car insurance nationally to rev up 18% annually, equivalent to a whopping £132 price rise since this time last year. And we are now just £11 short of the most expensive premiums on record, reached six years ago when the average cost was £858 (Q2 2011). And, as rises show no sign of reversing in the immediate future, it seems likely drivers will see average premiums pass the £1,000 mark by 2018.

Amanda Stretton, motoring editor at Confused.com, says: “Scottish drivers have experienced some of the steepest rises in car insurance costs of any part of the UK over recent months, with quarterly hikes of up to 13% in some cases. Meanwhile, across the whole of the UK car insurance prices are at tipping point and very soon we expect it will be the norm for drivers to be paying the highest prices ever for their premiums.

“We cannot say that we’re shocked by these figures, as following the Ogden rate cut and hike in IPT to 12%, we knew drivers would be taking a hit. Worryingly, there is every possibility that car insurance prices will be the most expensive on record by the end of the year.

“Since April this year, insurers are required to show drivers at renewal what they paid for their car insurance last year. So, being able to compare the amount they paid the year before, and armed with the knowledge that prices are rising across the board, motorists are better equipped than ever to shop around.

“As many as half of drivers could save up to £2843 by shopping around at Confused.com, so drivers wanting to make savings should take note of their renewal price and take a few minutes to get a comparable quote online.”