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Wednesday 23 August 2017

Five simple reasons why insurance costs should actually be LOWER

Eddie Cunningham Motoring Editor

Insurance should be at an all-time low considering a range of factors that have utterly changed the motoring and driving landscape.

While there are other elements at play in driving up insurance premiums, it can be argued that they overlook - and need to be set against - a number of advances that substantially reduce the risk of accidents and claims.

Here are five simple reasons why insurance should NOT be so high.

1. 

Structurally cars are far better built and safer to drive than 10, even five, years ago. They have been designed and produced to absorb impacts to a much greater extent, thereby reducing the likelihood of death or serious injury. EuroNCAP now stringently tests for several types and angles of collision, and for passenger and pedestrian protection. Few cars fall below four-star; most gain five stars under strict new rules. 

And we have come to take the likes of airbags – from knee-bags to roof-bags - for granted. Yet they greatly reduce the level and extent of injury or death in an accident. The same goes for ABS, ESC etc which reduce the risk of skidding and make braking safer and surer. There are many, many other such fitments that we now take for granted.

2. 

Cars are packed with accident-avoidance and driver-assistance systems. Increasingly, vehicles detect and react to potential danger before drivers do. Systems raise the alarm and if you don’t respond the ‘car’ will intervene. That usually means the car applies the brakes to avoid or reduce impact. It’s not pie-in-the-sky technology any more; cars around €20,000 now have it available. Why aren’t such vital elements asked for, and factored into, more insurance quotes? If you get a discount on your house for having a smoke alarm why don’t you qualify for much lower premiums with the inclusion of technological safety in your car?

Roads generally are much better surfaced, lit and signposted. There are examples to the contrary in every county, of course, but there has been a major improvement.  Danger areas are focussed on and warned about. And the increase in motorways and dual-carriageways should, statistically, mean lower-risk journeys because studies show them to be safer than two-way traffic roads.

4. 

Whatever about the current Garda controversy over prosecution for alleged offences, there has been more visible monitoring and enforcement than had previously been the case for some time – it has certainly been my experience anyway. 

While it is not nearly as comprehensive as would be desired, there is no doubting the fact that higher visibility of checkpoints and greater concentration on clamping down on speeding have to be acting as major deterrents and keeping our roads safer. 

5.

And whatever about the Garda breath-test numbers, for the vast majority of people, the culture of drinking and driving has changed out of all recognition to what was deemed acceptable 10 or 15 years ago. Most people take care not to mix alcohol and driving. That means substantial lower risk for other road users.

All five reasons outlined are contributory factors in lowering the likelihood of accidents. But how often do we hear them cited as reasons for reducing insurance premiums?

Not nearly often enough, in my view.

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