Car insurance hikes reach a five-year high

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Motorists face the biggest car insurance price hike for five years - with costs rising by an average of £115 over the last 12 months, warns new research.

And drivers over 60 years of age have been hit hardest by the steep increases.

Experts say the year-on-year average price rise of 19 per cent is the biggest since 2011 and mean that drivers are now paying £715 on average for their comprehensive car insurance premium, compared to just £600 12 month ago.

And they warned that the scale of the price hikes, coupled with rising petrol prices and hikes in insurance premium tax, could signal the end of the road for cheaper driving.

While no age group has managed to avoid price rises, younger drivers have been less affected, according to figures from comparison website Confused's Car Insurance Price Index,

Seventeen-year-old drivers have experienced the smallest yearly price increases of eight per cent. But their average premium has once again broken the £2,000 barrier to stand at £2,013.

Women aged 17 to 20 have also escaped the biggest hikes, but they're still facing an annual price increase of 15 per cent, equating to a rise of £223 over the year, resulting in a current premium of £1,671 - a £94 increase over just three months.

But drivers aged 61 have seen the steepest annual rises, of 24 per cent - the only comfort being that their premiums still only stand at on average of £418 - £297 less than the national average.

Men aged over 70 have also been hit hard with a 24 per cent annual rise, taking their average premium to £466 - £89 more than this time last year.

And men aged 41 to 45 have suffered the biggest quarterly increase of nine per cent, along with male drivers aged 61 to 65.

Both men and women have seen their premiums rise substantially over the last 12 months, although men have seen prices creep up slightly higher than their female counterparts, by 21 per cent (£129) and 18 per cent (£98) respectively.

The average man's premium now stands at £756 and women's at £664.

And the figures suggest the gap in price between men and women's premiums is widening, with a difference of £92 between the sexes now compared to just £27 three years ago.

Motorists in Northern Ireland have seen the biggest regional rise in premiums of 25 per cent to now stand at an average of £863 - £148 more expensive than the national average.

Drivers in the Scottish Highlands and Islands suffered annual price rises of 24 per cent while motorists in the Hebrides have seen an eye-watering annual price increase of 42 per cent over the year.

But drivers in Inner London pay the highest premiums of any region in the UK - £1,164, a staggering £449 more than the national average.

Motorists in West Central London are no better off, as they have experienced one of the greatest annual increases in premiums of 36 per cent (£315).

Drivers in Dorchester, Dorset, have seen their policies increase annually by 31 per cent while motorists in Taunton, Somerset, have suffered a 27 per cent hike over the last 12 months.

But drivers in North and Central Wales have experienced quarterly price rises of just two per cent, the lowest of any UK region.

Amanda Stretton, motoring editor at Confused, said: "We've not seen price rises of this magnitude for five years.

"A 19 per cent annual increase is substantial to say the least. And these price rises are being felt across the board, for drivers of all ages and genders, across all UK regions.

"If prices continue to rise at the rate we've been seeing, we could be facing the possibility of average comprehensive premiums breaching the all-time high seen in 2011, when they peaked at £858.


"This, combined with rising fuel prices and increased motoring costs across the board, could result in a sizeable dent in drivers' pockets."