Steep rise in cost of car insurance in Northern Ireland

The cost of car insurance in Northern Ireland is on the rise.

The cost of car insurance in Northern Ireland is on the rise.

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Drivers in Northern Ireland are facing a steep climb in the cost of car insurance, according to the latest Confused.com car insurance price index powered by Willis Towers Watson.

Over the last 12 months, prices have rocketed by 20% - equivalent to £150 - on average.

This means a driver can now expect to pay £891 for a typical comprehensive car insurance premium, compared to just £741 this time last year.

The figures show motorists across the UK are facing bumps in the road, with a 17% year-on-year price rise across the board. Prices have risen by 3% in Q3 2016, equating to an additional £22 on premiums over the last three months alone.

While not as large as the previous quarter’s rise (prices increased by £44 (or 7%) between Q1 and Q2 2016), UK drivers are still paying £65 more on average for car insurance than at the beginning of the year (Q4 2015 = £672).

Coupled with hikes in insurance premium tax, which is up to 10% from 6.5% this time last year, and rising fuel prices, and it’s likely that many UK motorists will be feeling the pinch when it comes to the cost of owning and running a car.

Looking at the price index in more depth, it’s clear that some UK motorists have been hit harder than others. In particular, older drivers continue to bear the brunt of the biggest increases. Sixty-six year-olds, whose average premium stands at £434, have seen the largest yearly rise and can now expect to pay 28% more for cover than 12 months ago. By comparison, the youngest drivers, 17-year-olds, have experienced the smallest year-on-year price increases of any age group at just 9% - their average premium now stands at £2,083.

Despite younger motorists across the UK generally experiencing smaller percentage yearly increases, drivers under the age of 25 can all expect to pay more than £1,000 on average for car insurance (25-year-olds pay £1,041 on average, dropping to £981 for those aged 26). Motorists aged 60 and over, by contrast, can typically expect to pay less than £500 (the exception being those aged 68 who pay £507 on average).

Eighteen year-old drivers have the dubious honour of paying the most for car insurance of any age – their average annual premium comes to £2,106. At the opposite end of the scale, 69-year-olds pay the cheapest premiums at £413 on average, £1,693 less than a typical 18-year-old driver.

The one bit of good news for younger motorists, albeit minor, is that 19 and 20-year-old drivers are the only ages to experience quarterly decreases in the average cost of their car insurance, by 0.1% (-£3) and 0.3% (-£5) respectively.

Both male and female drivers up and down the country have seen their premiums rise substantially over the last 12 months. However, males have seen prices creep up slightly more than their female counterparts, by 19% (+£124 year-on-year) and 15% (+£90 year-on-year) respectively. Meanwhile, the third quarter of 2016 has seen a further jump of 3% for men, and 3% for women. As a result, the average man’s premium now stands at £781, while for women it is £683.

Even though EU rules have banned insurers from taking gender in to account when calculating premiums since December 20123, the gap in price between men and women’s car insurance continues to widen. There is now a difference of £98 between the sexes in Q3 2016. By comparison, this time three years ago (Q3 2013) the gender price divide stood at just £30, with men still paying more on average4.

In particular, it’s a tough time to be a middle-aged man when it comes to paying for car insurance. The average premiums for males aged 41 and above are all at their highest levels since the index began in 2006.

Amanda Stretton, motoring editor at Confused.com says: “With the average comprehensive car insurance premium for drivers in Northern Ireland up a staggering 20% annually, many cash-strapped car owners will no doubt wish they could slam on the brakes on the escalating cost of motoring.

“UK drivers are now paying £65 more on average for their car insurance than at the start of 2016, and £109 more than this time last year, bringing the £737 average premium ever closer to the £858 peak we saw in 2011.

“These rising prices make it crucial that drivers seek to reduce the cost of motoring wherever they can. As ever, our advice to all motorists is to shop around using a site such as Confused.com, which can help drivers save on their car insurance; find the best finance deals; and slash running costs with our handy tools, tips and guides.”