Motorists in Northern Ireland have been worst hit by insurance price hikes following an “epidemic” of whiplash claims in UK, a report has found.
Prices in the Province shot up by 11% over the last three months, for those who shop around, to an average of £861.79.
Across the UK, the cost of comprehensive annual cover is now £585.84 on average, according to the AA’s British Insurance Premium Index.
The continued “epidemic” of whiplash claims has helped to push up the cost of cover, as have two recent hikes in insurance premium tax (IPT), according to the report.
The AA estimates the recent IPT increases have added around £18 to the average car insurance premium over the past year – and it urged the Government not to impose any further hikes in this tax in the Autumn Statement.
“We are witnessing sustained price increases once again which is bad news for drivers,” said Michael Lloyd, the AA’s director of insurance.
He continued: “I can’t see an immediate end to the current upward trend.”
Mr Lloyd said: “The whiplash epidemic has dogged the British motor insurance industry for a decade and continues to do so. Drivers are still being pressured into making claims for often minor collisions they might have forgotten about. This is pushing up claims costs, because insurers can’t prove that an injury wasn’t suffered.”
He said the activities of claims management firms make life more difficult for those with a genuine injury.
Scotland remains the cheapest region to insure your car, with average premiums there costing £422.10 for someone who shops around.