Hot off the press are the results of our monthly “Tiger Watch” research. These take the form of a car insurance price monitor that looks at a wide range of policy prices on a monthly basis in order to provide an overview of what’s happening to rates. As far as we’re aware it’s the only monthly monitor that does this and therefore provides a much more up to date snapshot than the quarterly market price information that many other companies tend to produce.
Most motorists will be aware that the last 18 months have seen some massive increases in prices; for many drivers these have been in the 30-40%+ range. But over the last few months we’ve seen a return to relative sanity in the car insurance market as insurance providers have started to compete harder for business.
Here’s how our price index looks for the period between November 2010 and November 2011:
As you can see from this, rates have generally been falling since July and are now about 7% below their June peak and just 2.8% higher than they were a year ago.
So, good news for Britain’s cash-strapped motorists? Apparently yes. But scratch a little deeper and there’s still plenty to worry about.
Firstly, there’s the inflation from the last 18 months that will have raised the bar for many drivers. This means that despite the recent drop off in inflation we are still forecasting that average rates across 2011 as a whole will be about 16.4% higher than average 2010 rates. That’s an eye-watering three times more than the latest RPI figure and suggests that the days of cheap car insurance are now well behind us.
Secondly, there’s the massive variations that are hidden behind all “average” statistics. So whilst we’ve seen average annual inflation in November of 2.8%, the 45-year old male profile quotes that we run are showing a massive 22% year-on-year increase. A slightly younger male driver group, however, saw a 7% drop
in their quote prices. That’s a massive 29% variation and a good indication that, for many drivers, the demographic and postcode lottery that appears to drive car insurance pricing is alive and kicking.
What can drivers do to ensure they get a good deal? Well you would expect me of course to recommend the use of a great car insurance comparison site like Tiger.co.uk wouldn’t you? But I’ll give you a couple of extra golden rules too:
- Never renew your car insurance without shopping around first. Even if you don’t find a better deal, you’ll sleep better at night knowing that you’ve not paid over the odds.
- Always try and pay your premium in a single instalment, even if it means getting a 0% on purchases credit card (also available via Tiger.co.uk’s great credit card comparison service!) to do so. Most insurers charge near-scandalous interest rates if you choose to pay monthly.