Drivers who are unemployed could be paying as much as 22 per cent more for their car insurance, new research has revealed.
Consumer advocacy group Which? has published the findings after carrying out online quotations with five of the UK's biggest insurers - Aviva, Co-operative Insurance, LV=, More Than Insurance and Direct Line.
It discovered that motorists who described themselves as 'unemployed' were being asked to pay up to 22 per cent more than those who told insurers they had jobs.
In addition, the research found that drivers who had children were also subject to additional premiums, and even those who were single, divorced or separated were finding themselves subject to price hikes.
Which? says it created two example scenarios, one high-risk and one low, by changing variables such as the make and model of the car, the driver's age, their home postcode, and then altered other variables to examine the effect they had on the premiums.
Of the insurers put to the test, it was Direct Line's policies which were most affected, with unemployed drivers subject to premium increases of up to 22 per cent and parents' premiums being hiked by up to 8 per cent.
More Than Insurance quoted between 12 and 19 per cent higher for an unemployed driver, and, curiously, also added 7 per cent to the premium if the car was garaged.
Meanwhile, LV= charged unemployed drivers between 11 and 14 per cent more, and also loaded between 1 and 3 per cent onto the premium if the policyholder was single, divorced or separated, as opposed to married or widowed.
"Being unemployed can be difficult enough," Which? told The Mirror, "but it seems that car insurers are prepared to add insult to injury."
However, Direct Line said in defence of its policy: "The difference is due to the increased risk of the alternative scenarios based on our claims experience."