Uninsured drivers blamed as premium costs to rise again
Motorists have been warned of yet more increases in the cost of driving after a sharp rise in the number of uninsured drivers on the road.
Premiums are already up 70pc in the last three years.
Now, new figures show the number of insurance claims due to accidents involving uninsured or untraced drivers jumped by 17pc between January and July, according to the Motor Insurers Bureau of Ireland (MIBI).
The MIBI is funded by insurers through a levy.
A rise in claims makes it likely to see insurers passing this extra cost on to drivers.
MIBI said there were 1,644 claims related to accidents caused by uninsured or untraced drivers in the first seven months of this year. This is up by 235 claims.
Some €65m was paid out in claims last year, adding an estimated €35 to the cost of the average motor premium.
Chief executive of the MIBI David Fitzgerald warned that the rise in the number of claims involving uninsured drivers would impact on premiums in the future.
"An increase of 17pc represents a significant jump in the number of claims being lodged. It showcases the increased pipeline of payments facing the MIBI.
"While no sums are yet attached to these claims, unfortunately more claims generally means higher levels of payments coming from the MIBI and ultimately, that will impact on motor insurance premiums," he said.
The number of claims increased in 20 counties. Roscommon saw the largest rise, with the number of claims rising from two to 12. The largest drop was in Limerick which had 80 claims, down from 95 in 2015.
Dublin accounted for more than four out of 10 of all claims to the MIBI.
And the capital saw the largest increase in the number of claims, with 78 more made this year compared with the same seven months last year.
Across the market, premiums have shot up by 70pc in the last three years, and are up almost 40pc in the last 12 months.
New car buyers fuel 12.5pc retail boom
Overall Irish retail sales have risen sharply on the back of new car sales.
The month of July saw 162 car registrations increase by 8pc, up to 29,931 compared to July 2015's 27,594.
This translated into a 12.6pc increase in retail sales for July according to the latest CSO figures.
The number of cars sold so far in the year has already surpassed the total number of new cars registered for the whole of 2015, according to the Society of the Irish Motor Industry.
Year-on-year retail sales figures showed an increase of 6.3pc in volume and 3.9pc in value.
When the motor trade is excluded, sales remain 2.7pc higher compared with 2015.
The biggest decline in retail sales was in clothing, footwear and textiles, down 2.5pc.
This was the slowest annual growth posted in more than two years for Irish retail sales, according to the Irish Small & Medium Enterprises Association (ISME), who said retail figures for 2016 were still well below pre-crash numbers.