More pain for drivers as insurance bills keep rising
DRIVERS have been hit by further insurance price hikes on top of last year's double-digit premium rises, according to a new survey by AA Ireland.
Premiums have risen by 4pc since January alone and women drivers are seeing the biggest hikes at 6.5pc, according to the survey based on 200 quotes sourced from 12 Irish insurance providers.
Female drivers saw the average premium increase from €627 to €671 between January and March, while women aged between 17 and 25 saw their premiums go up from €1,080 to €1,357, an increase of more than 20pc.
For women aged 25 to 46, the average premium rose from €465 to €487, an increase of 4.5pc.
Although young male drivers saw a fall in their premiums from €2,523 to €2,373, a drop of 6.4pc, they are still paying an average of 48pc more than women for their insurance.
In general, men pay 20pc-25pc more for insurance than women of the same age, which AA said was down to higher accident rates, but also the fact that, statistically, men drove more than women, meaning they were more exposed to risk.
Motorists can save an average of €165 by scouring the market for the best quote, according to another new survey.
The findings by online broker Chill.ie are in line with regular surveys conducted by the Financial Regulator, which show that huge savings can be made by seeking out at least six quotes before renewing your cover.
Consumers would be wise not to accept the renewal quote given to them by their existing insurer, personal finance experts advise.
The Chill.ie survey indicates that a 28-year-old Sligo motorist can save €150, a 50-year-old from Dublin can save €115, and a Carlow driver in their 30s can save €91.
Motor insurance premiums have gone up by 7.5pc in the past 12 months, according to the latest figures from the Central Statistics Office.
Chief executive of Chill.ie Padraig Lynch said that despite rising premiums, drivers can still save an average of €165 at policy renewal time.
"It is important for consumers to understand that while their existing insurance provider will re-quote for their business at renewal stage, this provider will not shop around on behalf of their customers," he said.
There has been a fall in the prices of most goods and services in the economy, but this is not the case with insurance.
This is because a number of providers are withdrawing from the market, while those insurers that had been discounting heavily up to last year to attract customers are no longer offering big discounts.
"What's more, claims are increasing, which has a knock-on effect for all premiums. Insurance providers are suffering huge losses on investments, which cut into their profit margins. All these factors mean costs are passed on to the consumer in the form of higher premiums," Mr Lynch added.
Motor costs surveys carried out by the Financial Regulator can be found at itsyourmoney.ie.