Car insurance has topped a list of drivers’ biggest motoring expenses after a rise in the cost of cover over the last year.
According to research carried out for the RAC’s Report on Motoring 2016, 46% of drivers said their insurance costs have shot up over the last 12 months, compared to 34% who said the same thing in 2015.
This is line with insurance industry figures showing the average premium has shot up in the 12 months to March 2016 by 14% from £590 to £671 per year.
Following closely behind insurance costs was expenditure on car maintenance bills, which 41% of drivers said had risen over the last year, down slightly from 44% in 2015.
READ MORE: Campaign aims to crack down on Britain’s one million uninsured drivers
Despite traditionally being seen as the biggest contributor to annual motoring costs, fuel was deemed to be the biggest financial concern for just 30% of motorists.
The finding chimes with RAC Fuel Watch data showing the price of both petrol and diesel fell in 2015 and remained low throughout the early months of 2016.
RAC Insurance director Mark Godfrey said: “The cost of insurance has never ranked as highly among motorists’ concerns in previous years’ research for the Report on Motoring as it has this year, and neither has it featured as prominently in motorists’ assessment of increased motoring costs.”
When it came to the biggest overall motoring concern, the cost of insurance was cited by 8% of the poll’s 1,714 respondents, compared to the 5% who did so last year.
In the survey, the condition of local roads was drivers’ main motoring gripe (14%), with the use of handheld mobile phones (13%) behind the wheel taking second place.
Insurance was also among the top four most worrying aspects of driving this year for 26% of motorists, up from just 18% in 2015.
It is thought the rising cost of insurance could be down to a number of factors, including the Government’s decision to increase the rate of Insurance Premium Tax (IPT) to 9.5% from 6% last autumn, and then to 10% in the March 2016 Budget. This second increase is due to kick in on 1st October.
Further issues driving up the cost of premiums are also said to be the increasing amount of low-value personal injury claims and a growing number of claims due to the fact people are driving more because of low fuel prices.
Mark Godfrey added: “With insurance premiums currently going up faster than they have at any other time in the last five years, we don’t want annual increases in IPT to become a feature of the Chancellor’s annual Budget and Autumn Statement. We would like an assurance from the Treasury that IPT will not be increased any further.
“The increasing cost of insurance will almost certainly lead to more people – of all ages – failing to insure their vehicles which would be very worrying given that the number of uninsured drivers is already estimated by the Motor Insurers’ Bureau to be over one million.”
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