For drivers in the UK the issue of car insurance premium remains an important source of worry given the rate at which costs keep rising. Although not unmindful of the general inflationary trend in the country, the growing costs of maintaining a car leaves not a few in doubt of the possibility that motorists may soon opt for something less expensive.
In recent times, many have taken to cycling or riding bike or even relying more on commercial or rented cars. This decision is especially driven by the fact that cost of fuelling a car has hit a record high and, in addition to other costs, it makes less economic sense to want to own a private car. One way for a few has been to subscribe to car rental clubs, where on average people could bring down their costs substantially.
However, the convenience that comes with owning a car of one’s choice is incomparable to renting one for hours or days or even weeks. For people who think in this direction, irrespective of the costs – fuelling, insurance and general maintenance – they remain unmoved. And they may even overpay to keep some of the benefits.
One example of overpaying at one’s convenience is by spreading the cost of car insurance premiums over a period of 10 to 12 months. This makes the payment a bit less stressful, yet it helps the insurer to overcharge the policyholder.
A study by uSwitch.com, which exposed the dilemma, said that drivers who pay car insurance monthly end up paying an extra of £50 each year compared to those who pay one annual fee. Thus, it found, the estimated 13 million people who choose to pay monthly are collectively handing over almost £624 million a year to the car insurance industry, in extra payment.
The loophole taken advantage of by insurers is that when drivers subscribe to this payment option they are easily slammed with an average APR of 23.8 per cent. This, the research revealed, is even four times higher than the current best buy unsecured loan rate. With petrol cost up by 31 per cent already, drivers find themselves shouldering more burden than they would rationally desire to bear.
As petrol price keeps rising, now up to £500 more than the cost a year ago, the situation leaves drivers paying total fees of about £2,482 or about 14 per cent of the average net salary.
Analysts are of the opinion that drivers are in a way helping compound their problem by paying their insurance premiums on a monthly basis, rather than saving cost by making one annual payment. Paying the premium instalmentally, as much as it brings some relief to the policyholder, is only a temporary solution which, if weighed carefully, is even needless.
Imagine paying £506.76 on average instead of paying £459.44 a year if you pay in full. For a male driver insuring an Audi A4 who has had a driving licence for 13 years it’s even worse, as is always the case for example, as he pays the equivalent of APR of 24.9 per cent. The premium rises from £553.50 to £621.30.
Understandably, the natural thing for everyone taking out insurance is the need to cut cost and make the payment as simplistic as possible, where there is the likelihood to achieve both. But if it becomes impossible people would normally go for the one that is more convenient to do. Even in a situation like this considering all options, including comparing deals and costs, carefully could help in every little way.
Musa is an author of several articles pertaining to Car Insurance. He is known for his expertise on the subject and on other Business and Finance related articles.
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