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Friday 15 December 2017

These factors impact car insurance premiums - but what can you do to bring costs down?

Louise Kelly

Louise Kelly

Whether the recent premium increases are due to an effort to restore underwriting profitability or as a result of the high level of 'soft tissue' claims, one thing's for sure - drivers want to pay less.

A well known advert for car insurance mocks the tried and tested method of calling around to a large number of firms for different quotes - and yet this is still the best way to shop for a quote.

Same driver, same car, same personal details and experience will proffer wildly different results when ringing multiple agents in varying companies.

Communications Director and founding member of Bonkers.ie Simon Moynihan said that in the current climate "it's not aspirational for young people to own a car".

"In our office, all except two people [for which having a car is a necessity] take public transport due to the hassle factor and the cost.

"We're very fortunate to live close to good public transport links but for people regularly making the rural-urban commute, having a car is a necessity."

Independent.ie reached out to a number of different providers to discuss what actually impacts the cost of your premium when you ring up to get a quote.

 

Six main factors that influence costs

1) Driving experience (driving licence type)

2) Age of main driver and additional drivers

3) Claims history (No claims discount)

4) Type of vehicle (age, engine size, value)

5) Where you live - and where you park your car at night

5) Your profession - but mainly if the car is used for work

6) Type of insurance (Comprehensive or Third Party Fire and Theft)

 

Top tips to get the best deal

Gary McClarty, MD of MCL Insurance Services, operator of its4women.ie has also offered a number of tips for drivers to keep costs down.

1) Consider a new payment plan

"Insurance policies can cost more when paid for on a monthly basis. If drivers can afford to pay their cover on an annual basis, in one lump sum, they should benefit from a cheaper overall cost of insurance."

2) Stay longer

"Remaining with the same provider for a number of years may reduce your premium"

3) Shop around

"If you’re not happy with a quote or the service from your existing provider isn’t up to scratch, then shop around"

4) Add another driver

"Drivers might find that by adding another driver, their premium is reduced"

5) Consider telematics

"Telematics is clever technology that allows insurers to understand a driver’s location, driving behaviours and more. If you are skilled, responsible driver, you may benefit from installing a telematics box."

6) Consider a higher excess

"If you are prepared to pay a higher excess, which is the amount you contribute towards your claim could also reduce your premium"

 

Are insurance premiums ever going to decrease?

Mr Moynihan believes that insurance costs have reached a "tipping point" with high premiums and limiting criteria, and that we are "unlikely to see further increases".

"I see costs stabilising and I don't think it will go up much more. That said, firms have managed to hit much higher premiums than before so I really don't see it coming down."

The Central Bank of Ireland's fifth Consumer Protection Bulletin, which is focused on the motor insurance sector, was published this month.

Compiled from data submitted by 24 motor insurance companies providing insurance to Irish personal consumers in 2016, a total of 11,502 complaints were received in the second half of the year, representing 0.5pc of live policies.

Some 6.2pc of the complaints were made by consumers in relation to motor insurance claims.

The Government’s Cost of Insurance Working Group Report outlines that court awards set the benchmark for all other awards, with figures from The Courts Service showing that the average Circuit Court award increased by 21.2pc in 2015, following a 13.5pc increase in 2014.

"In addition, gross incurred claims (a measure of all claims paid and those not yet settled) increased by a total of 44pc from 2013-2015. This is the true effect of a volatile claims environment and highlighted the need for a policy response," Insurance Ireland CEO Kevin Thompson said.

"Insurers want predictable claims costs at a level society can afford and the impact of rising costs was evident in areas such as increases in uninsured driving, which is a major road safety issue.

"Insurance Ireland highlighted its solutions including bringing consistency to personal injury awards, measures to tackle whiplash, giving increased powers to the Injuries Board to handle more claims and prevent them going to litigation, internationally benchmarking our high personal injury awards and introducing measures to reduce legal costs.

"Insurance Ireland believe this report alone does not reduce the risk and costs in the market but implementing the right policies can bring much needed stability and certainty for motorists."

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