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Car insurance soars by 17% in Northern Ireland

By Victoria Leonard

Northern Ireland drivers are paying 17% more for their car insurance than they did just a year ago, according to a newly released survey.

The latest Confused.com car insurance price index shows that drivers here are now forking out £943 for the average comprehensive cover - a rise of £135 on the previous year.

Female drivers in Northern Ireland have the third highest premiums of all women in the UK, with average premiums costing £925, an annual increase of £127.

Meanwhile, the average price for male drivers has been revved up by £142 to £958.

Of all motoring groups, 17 to 20-year-old males pay the heftiest insurance at £2,430.

In contrast, 66 to 70-year-old men pay the least, with their cover costing £421.

Across the UK, motorists are now paying just £77 less than the highest-ever average premium of £858, which was set in 2011, and prices look like surpassing this figure by the end of the year.

But the cost of the average premium could shift up another gear and pass the £1,000 mark in 2018 due to extra pressures imposed on the insurance industry.

These include a cut to the Ogden rate used to calculate payouts, which will see insurers handing over more for personal injury claims, as well as the insurance premium tax (IPT) increasing to 12% in June.

SDLP MLA Patsy McGlone, a former chair of the Assembly's economy committee, described the increases as "a disgrace".

"These price hikes will add to the cost of living and will further stretch families," he said yesterday.

"I think that it is partially because we don't have the same competition in the market here.

"Often you will see adverts about deals and when you ask for a quote and put in your address you will find a big disparity with other parts of the UK.

"As many of us have found, the price drops when you shop around online, and I would certainly urge people to do so."

Amanda Stretton, motoring editor at Confused.com, added: "Drivers in Northern Ireland are seeing car insurance prices accelerate, and there seems to be no signs of slowing.

"And as the industry adapts to additional pressures, such as the drastic Ogden rate cut and the hike in IPT to 12% from June this year, we could be on course to drive past the £858 peak we saw in 2011.

"As car insurance costs continue to climb, average premiums could even break the £1,000 barrier by next year.

"Thankfully, insurers are now required to show drivers their premium from the previous year at point of renewal.

"So, being able to compare the amount they paid in the previous year and armed with the knowledge that prices are rising across the board, motorists should be more inclined to shop around."

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