Average price paid for motor insurance jumps by a third in a year

The average price paid for comprehensive motor insurance was around a third (33%) or £157 higher in the first quarter of this year than a year earlier, according to figures from the Association of British Insurers (ABI).

Based on analysis of policies sold, the typical price paid in the first quarter of 2024 was £635, marking a 1% increase on the previous quarter, the ABI said.

In the first quarter of 2023, the average premium paid for private comprehensive motor insurance was £478.

The ABI said the 1% quarterly increase indicates an easing of the rises seen in 2023.

It said that insurers are continuing to absorb growing costs, with the average claim paid rising 8% to reach a record of £4,800 over the same period.

Claims inflation is yet to stabilise, with the costs of repairs, replacement vehicles and theft all rising, the ABI said.

The association has previously cited costs such as energy inflation, rising prices for paint and other raw materials, rising courtesy car costs and the increased cost of second-hand cars as adding to overall cost pressures.

Over the longer term, motor insurance has tracked very close to inflation, the association said.

In real terms, prices are £8 or 1.3% higher when compared to a previous peak at the end of 2017, according to the ABI. This is partly because prices fell significantly during the coronavirus pandemic, it said.

It added that 2023 was a “difficult year” for motor insurance margins, and that since 2017, costs for insurers to pay claims have increased by 23% in real terms.

Mervyn Skeet, the ABI’s director of general insurance policy, said: “We understand that car insurance costs are putting pressure on household finances. These figures show how competitive the motor market is, with insurers absorbing significant cost rises but keeping prices relatively stable.

“Even though these figures demonstrate a slowdown in price increases, we won’t be taking our foot off the gas when it comes to our work on tackling the cost of cover.”

The ABI previously set out steps that the industry is taking to combat the rise in the cost of motor insurance in February. Last week it announced that its members had agreed a set of aimed at helping to manage the costs for people paying for insurance on a monthly basis.

Earlier in April, Treasury Committee member Dame Angela Eagle told a hearing into insurance: “My constituents and many people who write to the committee feel that insurance is becoming more of a rip-off.

“Because the price is going up, it’s harder to make a claim; people, when they do make a claim, often have to wait a very long time or aren’t dealt with very fairly.

“And that’s particularly the case for insurance that’s compulsory, such as driving insurance.”

In another Treasury Committee session later that day, Charlotte Clark, director of regulation at the Association of British Insurers (ABI), told the committee that part of the reason that rises in motor insurance may look so significant is that “it’s coming off the back of the pandemic, where motor insurance in particular was reduced quite significantly, because the risks of being in a car accident when you’re at home are quite low”.

Matt Brewis, director of insurance at the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), told the committee the regulator has been looking at evidence of how inflation has impacted the motor sector.

He said the regulator is meeting with price comparison websites, brokers and consumers “to understand the concerns of consumers and where they are seeing issues”.

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