Motorists stung by accelerating insurance costs
RISING costs are forcing car insurance companies to charge customers more for their cover, industry experts said yesterday.
The Association of British Insurers said firms are “doing all they can” to offer competitive deals – but soaring energy charges, paint prices and courtesy car costs are pushing up the cost of repairs.
Meanwhile, the price of second-hand cars has also jumped.
And those increases mean motorists had to pay an average of 16 per cent more for their insurance in the first three months of this year than they did in the same quarterly period a year ago.
The typical cost for private comprehensive cover was £478 – the highest figure recorded since premiums soared to an average £483 in the last quarter of 2019.
Jonathan Fong, the ABI’s senior policy adviser on motor insurance said: “With households battling the rising cost of living, the last thing anyone wants is a higher motor insurance bill. Naturally, every motorist wants the best insurance deal – and insurers are doing all they can to keep motor insurance as competitively priced as possible.
“Yet, like many other sectors, insurers continue to face higher costs.
“The price of certain raw materials and energy costs are rising at rates well above general inflation, and these costs are becoming increasingly challenging to absorb.”
The Financial Conduct Authority introduced new rules on the pricing of motor and home insurance in January last year.
This was to make sure the prices being paid by customers renewing their motor and home insurance are no greater than those paid by new customers.
However, the rules do not set or cap the level of premium paid.
VEHICLE thefts in the UK have risen by 30 per cent since the pandemic – with criminals capitalising on the use of technology to steal cars that are rapidly rising in price.
The number of motors stolen last year was 115,822, with several regions seeing a rise of more than 50 per cent on the 2020 figure.
The most thefts took place in London and the West Midlands, whose police force released a video showing crooks stealing a keyless car in 60 seconds. Hampshire, Devon and Cornwall, Kent, Humberside and Northumbria were also car theft hot spots.
Organised crime groups are believed to be behind the increase, with socalled “joyriders” no longer able to beat the technology.
Meanwhile, average used car values have risen sharply from £12,800 in 2019 to £17,654 in February of this year – an increase of 38 per cent.
The figures come from vehicle tracing and recovery service AX Track, which used data from 40 UK police forces.
The cars are often sold as complete
units, while others are broken up so the parts can be disposed of domestically or internationally.
The global market for replacement parts and accessories is worth an estimated £309billion to crooks annually.
Neil Thomas, director of investigative services at AX Track, said: “The technology-driven tactics of today’s sophisticated criminals are a far cry from the opportunist teenagers of the past who would steal cars for fun. “Equipment costing thousands of
pounds can be purchased online, enabling criminals and their associates to steal cars by either cloning or mimicking the original key.
“Keyless theft can take several forms and it’s prevalent enough that criminals are stealing cars to order, identifying the right car while organising false number plates before the theft even takes place.”
Theft of a keyless car requires two small boxes of electronics, he added.
Thieves typically work in pairs, with one holding a relay amplifier and the other a relay transmitter. They will usually target a house with a desirable car on the driveway, and
their equipment will help them determine if the car is one with keyless entry.
When their receiver picks up and replicates the signal from the key, the car will be fooled into thinking the legitimate owner is there, allowing the vehicle to be unlocked and driven away.
Mr Thomas said: “There are precautions you can take. Number one is to park the car on a driveway or locked garage if you have one.
“Otherwise, park in a well-lit area, keep your car keys safe and make sure the car is fitted with adequate security.”