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Half of drivers say they’re paying too much for car insurance

Published 17 June 2021

More than half of drivers (51 per cent) believe they’re paying too much for car insurance given how little they have been driving since the pandemic, according to research by the RAC.

With the Covid-19 pandemic heavily impacting the distances and frequency of trips taken by car, the survey of 2100 drivers suggests many are starting to question whether they’re being charged a fair price for their insurance. This is something that’s potentially set to get worse given more than a quarter (27 per cent) expect to drive less in the future.

New data from an RAC Freedom of Information request also suggests a trend towards Brits driving fewer miles each year — which began several years ago and has been dramatically exacerbated by the fallout of the pandemic (working from home more, sticking closer to home etc).

Between 2017 and 2020 the number of cars driven fewer than 6000 miles between annual MoTs rose by an estimated average of six per cent a year, but in the 12 months leading up to the end of February 2021, this accelerated by 35 per cent compared to the same period in 2020.

Insurance Forms

Of the drivers who feel they’re now paying too much for their insurance given they’re driving much less, 50 per cent said they would be charged if they cancelled their current policies to seek a better deal elsewhere, which means they are stuck in their exsisting policy.

Before the pandemic, four-in-10 drivers (42 per cent) were dissatisfied with how much they had been paying for car insurance in relation to the number of miles they had driven.

RAC head of insurance development Laura Truman said: “Even without the impact of Covid-19, it’s clear the number of cars covering fewer than 6000 miles a year has been going up in recent years. This shift is clearly prompting drivers to question whether the cost of their car insurance is reasonable.

“This might partly be because in so many cases motorists are forced to lock themselves into annual insurance contracts, the price of which is partly determined by the policyholder’s estimate of how many miles they’ll cover in a year. This is something we know drivers found difficult to estimate before the pandemic but considering all the uncertainty surrounding people’s future travel needs it must now be even harder.”


Brian Finch    on 17 June 2021

Even worse is the VED based on emission level for your car. There's no emissions if it's parked. My mileage has reduced from 11000 a year to about 2000 but VED seems to increase year on year.

Fraser Hadden    on 17 June 2021

Absolutely. The rate of emissions is no guide to the actual emissions over a year. Old clunkers may emit at a high rate, but do so over few miles such that their environmental impact is low.

Fairer, surely, to work out the actual emissions at, say, MOT time and charge on that basis. New cars would have to be assessed for emissions in the first two years, but would need no mechanical MOT element.

Sensible Andy    on 17 June 2021

Absolutely. The rate of emissions is no guide to the actual emissions over a year. Old clunkers may emit at a high rate, but do so over few miles such that their environmental impact is low. Fairer, surely, to work out the actual emissions at, say, MOT time and charge on that basis.

Or just ditch VED altogether and rely on fuel duty alone - which is effectively an emissions tax already - fuel in = CO2 out.... But given that EVs will quickly upset that particular apple cart, maybe that is not such a good idea.

It all has to end up as road pricing before long anyway...

Edited by Sensible Andy on 17/06/2021 at 20:38

Vivien Barber    on 17 June 2021

I am insured with Direct Line, who gave me a rebate, not enormous but fair!

Mr Richard Fitch    on 17 June 2021

I got my renewal quote and it was £650 , after 30 minutes on the internet I got the same cover for £420 , a saving of £230 . It pays to shop around

Engineer Andy    on 18 June 2021

I got my renewal quote and it was £650 , after 30 minutes on the internet I got the same cover for £420 , a saving of £230 . It pays to shop around

Not forgetting that cheap doesn't mean you've good a good policy or company to deal with, though expensive doesn't always mean good either.

The clincher, unfortunately, is the experience customers receive when making a claim, which for most isn't very often.

My insurance quote (I already was doing very low mileage) was about £300 or so last year, so I shopped around on the screenscrapers and found one from another insurer - just at the start of lockdown - that (on the surface at least) gave the same level of cover for £210 ish, and this year I reinsured with them for even less at around £185 for the same annual mileage estimate (5000) as in 2019.

Most insurers won't drop their prices for estimated annual mileages below 5k, probably because they (rightly) believe that many people will become rusty through not driving often and thus will more likely have a minor accident.

Anthony Rice    on 17 June 2021

My company ,for whom I worked all my life as a motor underwriter quoted this year £1200 for a group 19 vehicle whereas a friend/ neighbour of similar age with a B M W is paying £380 with Saga, so I got a quote from them , £756 and 3 year fixed. So after 55 years insured with my own company, I had to switch as they wanted 60p per mile, excuse for an increase from £1000 last year was car covered against fire, theft and A/damage wile not being used !

Anthony Rice    on 17 June 2021

I had only done less than 2000 miles in the previous 12 months, down from usual 3000 p a. the figure on which previous premiums were based.

   on 17 June 2021

I was insured with Direct Line, but received only a paltry rebate of £12.32 and a demand for a 9.7% increase in the annual premium, despite no claims in the year. Both totally unacceptable and I am no longer with Direct Line !!

Contax139    on 17 June 2021

When you think what the claims could be in an accident, not only the cars but human injuries then premiums are not high unless you have a poor record for claims and such. I insure mine for 2,000 miles a year but only covered from new in 10.5 years 7,250 miles, about 700 miles a year, when I dropped the mileage it never made much difference. Even on low mileage it could get stolen, vandalised, burnt out as well as any other accidents so still a lot of risk for insurer. I'm happy to pay it and never need it, it's as it's named insurance.

   on 18 June 2021

My third year with Aviva and they were pleased to let me know that my premium had not increased for this year, they were holding it at the same price. I used Compare the market and saved £90 by changing to General Accident, who are underwritten guessed it, Aviva. I have no loyalty to any insurance company, energy provider or whatever, and have saved my changing for better deals on a regular basis.

hissingsid    on 18 June 2021

In retirement my mileage has been under 6,000 a year for some time.
My Mazda CX-3, bought new five years ago, is insured through Mazda with an LV policy. The renewal premium has fallen every year to date, and if the worst happens I only have Mazda to deal with.

Trev012    on 18 June 2021

I only have a 1.0 ltr Hyundai i10 covering maximum 4000 miles a year. Since last August, I've only driven 1000 miles [Mostly local]. My premium has just come in from Admiral which has gone up by a massive 39.5% which is utterly shocking. After phoning them, they offered to reduce it but it still came out at 15.5% dearer than last year. Guess what ...... I went elsewhere :-)

Engineer Andy    on 19 June 2021

Good for you, Trev - voting with your wallet.

David Cleverley    on 18 June 2021

All car insurance companies are like the sheriff of Nottingham, if you stay with the same insurance company they will rip you of, like me when i bought my 2015 Mercedes A Class from new, the first year Aviva insurance was fine and the second year was acceptable but the third year the insurance went up to £500, and after seeing that shocking quote of £500 and my car was 3 years older i decided for the first time to use a price comparison site and got an excellent reduction.

Model Flyer    on 18 June 2021

I am a lowish mileage driver now and typically drive up to 7000 miles a year but often around 6000. I renewed my cover with Quote me happy ( part of Aviva) during the pandemic in Feb 2020 and used my car far less that year due to lock-down etc only driving when really needed and covering just 1600 miles .On renewal this year my insurer wanted to increase my premium considerably . I felt a bit offended as if I had driven more than my declared miles my insurers would have asked for extra premium for the extra risk or refused cover in the event of a claim ! it appears that this " RISK" only works one way . I moved my cover to another insurer and saved nearly £100 for identical cover ! Car insurers, I feel need some serious independent regulation. and should listen to their customers and not just treat them as cash cow's.

With the lock-down , certainly in the early part resulting in far fewer miles driven by all vehicles the insurers must have saved a vast sum on accident claims etc.On that basis even a freeze on premiums would have been OK by me ; but no , the price creep still applied , pure greed.

Now government have applied the usual sledge hammer to crack a nut stopping insurers from offering discounts to new customers . Lets hope this doesn't just force prices up for everyone

Long live

Edited by Model Flyer on 18/06/2021 at 10:21

Falkirk Bairn    on 19 June 2021

£200 fully comp, 2 drivers, is what I was paying for my CRV EX petrol Auto.

Last July Money Saving Expert highlighted LV - £70 off - full premium was £194 and a net of £124 after getting the Amazon Vouchers.

Heaven knows what to expect next month when the renewal drops through the door.
Only doing 1/3 of the normal mileage BUT I am sure that the premium will rise!!

Shopping around looks to be on the cards.

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