Car insurance costs rocket - how can you keep your premiums down?

Stressed Driver Sitting At Roadside After Traffic Accident looking at the damage

Drivers are paying nearly 20% more for their car insurance than they were two years ago, an analysis of 27 million car insurance quotes has revealed.

During April and June this year, says MoneySuperMarket, premiums averaged £562, £88 up on 2015 and £51 more than last year.

See also: The ten weirdest home insurance claims

See also: Insurance rip-offs: the car, life, travel and home cover you really don't need

There are two main reasons for the increase. First, the government raised insurance premium tax earlier this year, taking it from 10% to 12%.

Second, there's also been a change to something called the Ogden discount rate, also set by the government, which is used to calculate the lump sum compensation paid to people who have suffered life-changing injuries. It's costing the industry millions of pounds - which is being passed on to consumers.

"These are grim times for motorists as far as their insurance is concerned. It is to be hoped the Chancellor resists the temptation to push IPT higher in the autumn, but nobody would be surprised if he did," says Kevin Pratt, consumer affairs expert at MoneySuperMarket.

"We should also look for quick and meaningful reform to the way the Ogden rate is calculated so that a fairer outcome is achieved for personal injury victims and insurance buyers."

In the meantime, of course, you'll just have to pay up. So how can you keep your insurance premiums down?

First, it's a good idea to keep your no-claims bonus, even if it costs you more in the short term. The survey revealed that drivers with five or more years' no-claims discount are paying just £347 on average between, whereas those without a no-claims bonus fork out £1,271.

Increasing your excess so that you pay more of the cost for an accident will also get your premiums down, and you shouldn't add any more drivers to the insurance than you need to - especially not young ones.

Keep your car safe, in a drive or a garage if you can, and try and keep your mileage down. You could even consider signing up for a black box, which rewards motorists who don't drive often and who drive carefully.

Finally, always shop around for the best deal - you could save hundreds of pounds.

Top Ten Weirdest Holiday Home Insurance Claims
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Top Ten Weirdest Holiday Home Insurance Claims

The owner of a holiday home in Spain returned to inspect his property after he had let it to a group of young people in their 20s for two weeks, to find that they had created an indoor beach including sand and water to emulate the sea. The youngsters explained that the local beach “hadn’t lived up to their expectations”.

A slightly oblivious swan didn’t see what was coming his way. It was flying happily through the air, completely unaware of a set of high voltage power cables in its flight path which it duly hit. The swan had the shock of its life and dived straight for the roof of a holiday home underneath, crashing through the roof and leaving a massive hole in need of fixing.

At a holiday home in France, a cow walked over a swimming pool cover. As the cow was considerably heavier than the cover could hold, the cover broke and the unsuspecting cow took an involuntary dip in the pool; resulting in considerable damage to the pool and the need for a winch to rescue the distraught bovine.

Holiday guests staying in a Spanish property moved items of furniture from inside the holiday home they were renting, including a sofa, single bed and chest of drawers, into the shallow end of the swimming pool. The guests had been under the influence of alcohol when they’d decided to rearrange the furniture in such a way and claimed they "couldn’t remember" why they had done it.

A particularly passionate couple managed to not only badly scratch the wooden floor of their bedroom by causing the bed to move vehemently, but also caused the bed to break, as well as the bedside lamp and bedside table. The couple explained that all damage had been caused during one session of lovemaking and they apologised profusely.

Following a rental, a holiday home owner made a gory discovery; he found blood splattered all over carpets and walls. After further investigation, he discovered a makeshift cardboard coffin containing a pig’s head in the bin, suggesting that a sacrifice had taken place at his property.

A young couple tried to pursue a claim against the owner of their holiday apartment in Spain on the basis that both bed sheets and towels were "too hard" and caused scratches and irritations on the skin, which prevented them from using the pool and sunbathing comfortably.

A holiday cottage in Devon needed completely redecorating after the holiday guests had decided to have an indoor barbecue on the flagstone floor, as ‘the weather didn’t allow for having it outside’.

One unsuspecting holiday property owner in Italy was shocked to find out that his house had been turned into a brothel by his guests during a four week rental period, resulting in the need for a deep clean and replacement of soft furnishings.

A lady in her late 30s from Manchester sought compensation from the owner of her holiday home in Marbella as the gravel on the driveway "had wrecked" four pairs of her designer stilettos and forced her to replace them with new ones.


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