Belfast Telegraph

NI motorists paying out 38% more on insurance than other regions: AA

Margaret Canning

By Margaret Canning

Motorists in Northern Ireland are paying £892 a year for car insurance on average - 38% higher than the typical UK policy, a report reveals today.

Research by the AA found Northern Ireland is the only region where insurance costs rose in the last year.

The AA said there had been a 0.2% increase in costs for drivers here - up around £2 per year to £891.72.

Only the north west of England had higher average premiums than Northern Ireland, at £897 - and their premiums fell 2.1% on the year before.

The £892 average compared to a UK average of £648.10.

The AA said it had adapted an average quoted 'shoparound' premium for an annual comprehensive car insurance policy.

Every other UK region saw a fall in cost ranging from 0.3% to 4% in the second quarter of 2018.

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The AA said premiums were falling due to intense competition in the sector.

A Civil Liabilities Bill was also expected to reduce the potential for injury claims which has been sparked by law firms cold-calling those in accidents.

The largest premium reduction over the quarter was in London, down 4.0% (£32.73) to £794.98, making London the third most expensive region to insure a car after the north-west of England and Northern Ireland.

Scotland remains the cheapest region to insure a car (£488.82).

A spokesman for the AA said Northern Ireland had a long-standing tendency towards higher car insurance premiums.

"Claims experience tends to be greater in Northern Ireland, given the nature of the roads - i.e. there is little in the way of motorways and a lot of country roads, which present the greatest likelihood of collisions. The market is not as competitive as a number of UK insurers don't offer cover in NI.

"The courts tend to make higher serious injury awards in a legal market that is a little different to England and Wales.

"Young drivers particularly are more prone to suffering serous crashes, due to the nature of the roads."

And he said a differing legal system in Scotland, where it was harder to make personal injury claims, accounted in part for its low premiums.

Home insurance premiums were also up, with the average quote for a buildings policy increasing by 5.7% over the past 12 months to £119.79 - the highest for six years.

The AA said: "This is partly thanks to the mopping-up of claims following the severe winter while the industry is now concerned that if the hot weather continues, it will prompt a sharp increase in subsidence claims."

It advised policy holders to check if their insurance covered subsidence.

Belfast Telegraph