200pc premium hikes for drivers facing a claim
Motorists who have claims outstanding on their insurance policies are being forced to stay with the same insurer and being told they have no choice but to accept massive premium rises.
Drivers who have had claims made against them are being hit with hikes of up to 200pc, in some cases even 400pc.
As the motor insurance crisis worsens, financial experts said insurers are now being highly selective about who they will insure, with massive increases imposed on anyone with a claim or an older car, or even on older drivers.
Official figures show the average premium is up 30pc in the past year as insurers impose higher premiums on motorists to make up for losses they are making.
A recent AA Ireland survey put the premium rises at up to 50pc for many drivers.
The insurance industry has predicted further increases of 25pc this year. That means a customer paying a premium of €400 in 2014 would be paying up to €700 this year.
For people who have had an accident, the increases are even higher. They are at the mercy of their existing insurer and unable to shop around, according to Paul Kavanagh, of one of largest brokerages, McCarthy Insurance Group.
Mr Kavanagh added: "You are screwed to the wall if you [have] had an accident. You can't move and the premiums go way up."
Conor Faughnan of AA Ireland said insurers were penalising anyone with a non-standard driving history: "We are seeing premium rises of 50pc for bog-standard, plain-vanilla risks. But anyone who deviates from that is seeing huge increases. It is infuriating for drivers," he said.
Drivers who have had claims submitted to their insurers have seen premiums jump from around €400 to €1,600 and more, motorists have indicated.
One motorist explained: "I am in my 30s and have no penalty points, with a long history of driving. My insurance has gone from €430 to €1,300. But the claim hasn't been closed yet so I can't shop anywhere else."
People with cars more than 15 years old are already finding that they cannot get cover.
Insurance Irelandsaid it had no comment when asked about people with outstanding claims being unable to shop around and their existing insurer imposing huge increases.