Car insurance costs rocket - especially for those in their thirties

Average premium tops £500

Unlocking car door

Car insurance costs have gone through the roof over the last year, with average premiums up by 14%.

An analysis of over three million customer quotes made between April and June 2016 shows that the average was £512 - up £64 from the same period last year.

Things are even worse for drivers in their thirties, whose policies now cost an average of £530, up a staggering 22% on last year.

And there are big variations around the country. Drivers in Harrow, for example, saw their premiums rise by 22% to £774. Costs also rose by more than a fifth in Ilford, St Albans, Wolverhampton and Kingston upon Thames.

However, drivers in Scotland fared rather better, with policies in Perth increasing by just 7% to £302 and those in Dumfries up 8% to £291. The cheapest place in the UK to insure your car during spring 2016 was the Scottish border town of Dumfries, at £291 - less than a third of the £999 paid by drivers in East London.

"Regional price increases could be the result of a surge in accidents or car crime, and each area will have its own story," says Dan Plant, consumer affairs expert at MoneySuperMarket, which conducted the research.

"To combat higher quotes for renewal premiums, drivers should start hunting for cheaper prices, rather than simply paying what their existing insurer is asking for without checking if there's a cheaper alternative."

Part - but only part - of the increase can be blamed on the increase in insurance premium tax (IPT), which went up from 6% to 9.5% in November 2015. It's set to rise still further this October, bringing in an extra £8.1 billion for the Treasury.

"Since the increase in insurance premium tax (IPT), premiums have risen sharply and this has been especially evident since the beginning of 2016," says Plant.

"Unfortunately for motorists, IPT will rise again to 10 per cent in October 2016, meaning we can expect to see further increases in premiums as we head towards the end of the year."

Another reason for the increase, he says, is that insurers are charging more because of high levels of pay-outs for whiplash claims - many of which are believed to be fraudulent.

The figures echo a separate analysis carried out by last month. The research showed premiums up by an average of 19% to £715 - the fastest increase since 2011.

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