St Helens: The UK's Most Car Friendly Town

At we were excited to hear about St. Helens being crowned the UK’s most car friendly town for the second year running – the conclusion reached by Virgin Money’s recent survey that looked at 65 UK towns and rated them on criteria such as petrol prices, the cost of parking and vehicle crime. But the survey got us thinking.  Does living in a town that’s “car friendly” have any effect on car insurance prices?  We decided to find out. To begin with, we selected a postcode from the centre of each of the top 10 “car friendly” towns. We then ran a quote through’s car insurance comparison service for each postcode using the details of a 26 year old male accountant driving an X registration Ford Focus, worth £2000, with 3 years no claims bonus.  We kept everything other than the address constant to see how living in each town centre affects the residents’ premiums. The results where rather interesting.  Whilst St Helens may be ”car friendly”,  if you want cheaper car insurance the best place to live in the survey’s top ten towns is Norwich – ranked at number nine in the “car friendly” league.
Town Insurance Cost Insurance cost ranking “Car Friendly” Position
Norwich £499.71 1 9
Telford £549.65 2 3
Swindon £578.23 3 10
Sutton Coldfield £638.22 4 4
Rotherham £732.91 5 7
Stockport £812.76 6 8
St. Helens £820.18 7 1
Tyne and Wear £854.85 8 5
West Bromwich £861.92 9 2
Oldham £1,368.70 10 6
As you can see St. Helens came in at number seven in our reordering of the top ten based on insurance prices, with premiums over 64% higher than for our Norwich driver.   West Bromwich, which came in at number two in the “car friendly” survey, dropped all the way down to number nine. Incidentally, car insurance costs for Reading – rated as the least “car friendly” of all the 65 towns analysed in the survey, came in at just over £614 – cheaper than 7 of the top ten towns listed above. What does this mean for drivers? Well, it shows that there appears to be little correlation between how “car friendly” a town is and how much it costs to insure a car there. Insurance companies take into account postcode area when it comes to calculating car insurance premiums and if you live in an area with higher car related crime they will price policies according to the risk. As well as car crime they take into account the volume of accidents and claims that take place in the area, the number of driving offences (such as speeding) and other small factors to work out the risk associated with owning a car in the area. What can I do about it? Don’t worry!  Just because the town centre of some of the towns is relatively expensive in insurance terms don’t assume that the whole town will be the same. The premiums are calculated on your exact postcode so you might well find that if you live in a suburb your premium may be lower. And remember that we have only looked at one aspect running a car – the cost of car insurance.  The Virgin Money study quite rightly looks at a range of others. We suggest that wherever you live it is a good idea to shop around for your car insurance in order to get the right policy for you at the right price.’s car insurance comparison could be a good place to start. And remember, you could always move house!
15/03/2011 16:59:38 Dan

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