Options set to hike car insurance premiums
Motorists may soon have to list every extra on their car, and this could increase insurance costs
Drivers may soon have to list all of their car’s options on an insurance application, which could result in more expensive policies for some, Auto Express can exclusively reveal.
Peter Shaw, CEO of the insurance industry body Thatcham Research, told Auto Express: “We are working with car manufacturers and the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders over sharing of optional fitment data with the insurance industry.” He said that this would allow insurers to more accurately price premiums in the future.
According to Shaw, complex options like driver assistance systems which rely on radar sensors fitted around the car have, in part, caused repair costs to “rise by 32 per cent in the last three years”, yet insurers are currently left in the dark about which owners have such features. He added: “To underwrite accurately in the future, insurers need access to the data.”
Thatcham’s research shows options such as laser headlights can cost up to £5,000 for insurers to fix, compared with £2,000 for regular LEDs. Similarly, a windscreen for a standard Ford Focus costs £212 to replace, but this rises to £473 for a Focus with optional sensors attached to the windscreen.
Owners required to clarify whether they’ve added such options could face higher premiums in the future. A spokesman for comparison site GoCompare told us: “If extras fitted on one spec of car are more costly to replace then it stands to reason the cost to insure based on the cost to replace would be greater.”
This will be unwelcome news to drivers, as premiums have already reached record levels with estimates showing average prices could soon top £800.
The Association of British Insurers (ABI) confirmed “the two industries are working to ensure insurers are able to understand individual vehicles’ capabilities”. But the ABI also points out that some drivers may save on their insurance when listing tech that helps prevent accidents, such as autonomous emergency braking.
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