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Car insurance price hike for commuters

Written by: Emma Lunn
More than 10 million drivers could see their car insurance costs increase if they drive to work post-lockdown.

Research from Compare the Market found that 61% of UK drivers expect to commute by car when they return to work, compared to 34% who drove to work before the pandemic.

This equates to an extra 10.5 million cars being used for the daily commute.

People driving to their place of work will need to ensure their car insurance policy covers commuting.

Many drivers who bought policies before the pandemic will have only opted to cover social, domestic and pleasure (SDP) travel – they will now need to change their policy to include commuting too.

However a social, domestic, pleasure and commuting (SDP+C) policy is likely to be more expensive.

For example, a 36-year-old man living in West London, who has driven for 19 years and has a Skoda Octavia will pay about £330 for an SDP policy compared to about £350 for an SDP+C policy – a 6% increase.

Compare the Market found the proportion of people who will start driving to work in light of the pandemic varies across the country, but is particularly high in Northern Ireland, Wales and the West Midlands.

In London, almost a third (32%) predict they will start driving to work, compared to the fifth (20%) who commuted by car before the pandemic. However, 45% of Londoners still plan to use public transport.

Compare the Market also predicts that car insurance premiums could rise overall due to coronavirus. This is because premiums are underwritten by insurers based on a number of factors, including the likelihood of crashes. With more cars on the road, the risk of collisions increases, which could cause motor insurance premiums to rise accordingly.

Dan Hutson, head of motor insurance at Compare the Market, says: “The Government is encouraging the UK to get back out to work and to society and, crucially, to avoid public transport where possible. Cars are so important for keeping us protected from the virus but, at a time when households are already financially stretched, being asked to drive more could have a significant hit on finances.

“Motor premiums, which have fallen recently, could be about to jump once more. More drivers will need to adapt their policies to include cover for commuting and insurers may increase their prices in anticipation of more cars, and more crashes, on the road. In addition, higher car usage will also result in a higher fuel bill. At a time when money is already tight, it’s important that motorists look to save money where they can and shopping around for the most competitive policy remains the best way to do so.”

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