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Drivers pay £1.3bn in extra premiums due to whiplash reform delay

Paloma Kubiak
Written By:
Paloma Kubiak

The delay in implementing whiplash reforms has cost British drivers an additional £1.3bn in insurance premiums, research suggests.

In a bid to tackle the high number and cost of whiplash claims which pushed up motor insurance premiums for drivers, the government announced it would implement a Whiplash Reform Programme.

The changes were originally expected to come into force in April 2020 before being pushed back to August. They were then pushed back again to April 2021 amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The reforms would have reduced car insurance premiums by an average of £35, but the delay means drivers are missing out on £1.3bn of savings, according to comparethemarket.com.

Drivers have already seen the price of their cover rise off the back of several Insurance Premium Tax (IPT) hikes. Comparethemarket said these have added around £75 to the average premium but for younger drivers (17-24), the cost is significantly more because they’re already classed as riskier to insure.

And given the coronavirus pandemic which has squeezed finances for many, one in five young people have stopped using their car as they can no longer afford to run them.

But this could have a negative effect on their job prospects as cars could be essential to secure and maintain a job, the comparison site research said.

Dan Hutson, head of motor insurance at comparethemarket.com said: “The whiplash reforms were hailed as a great way of reducing excessive motor insurance premiums for motorists. However, the two delays in implementation have meant that car insurance premiums have remained higher than they should be, equating to £1.3 billion in extra costs.

“For many young people who are facing a perilous financial outlook, driving may be seen as a luxury that they can no longer afford despite the fact that many rely on their car to get to work and ultimately keep their job.

“It is essential that action is taken to support motorists who are struggling with the cost of cover. Providing an exemption to IPT for 17 – 24 year olds would give immediate support to many young people across the UK, reducing their premiums by an average of £126. For those looking to reduce their insurance costs further, switching providers remains to be the best way to save money.”