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Mild winter not enough to stop home insurance bills rising

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A relatively mild winter hasn’t been enough to shelter property owners from rising home insurance bills, new research suggests.

The research firm Consumer Intelligence says the Insurance Premium Tax (IPT) rise in October, which is set to increase again in June, has led to average annual premiums rising 2% over the year ending April, to £121.

According to the research agency, if it hadn’t been for the tax hikes the relatively mild winter, with low claims for storm damage, would have limited price rises.

The government has increased IPT three times in the past 18 months with the most recent rise to 10% taking place in October. From June 2017, IPT will be 12%.

Over-50s householders saw the biggest rise at 3.6% to £117, compared with just 1% for under-50s to £124.

In terms of regions prices rose fastest in the North East of England and Yorkshire & Humberside, at 3.3% and 3.2% respectively. Londoners paid the highest average bills at £144.

John Blevins, Consumer Intelligence pricing expert, said: “There has been little movement over the last quarter, and prices have remained fairly static.

“The benign weather has helped to keep premiums down, although it is worth noting that IPT rates have pushed premiums up by 2% in the last 12 months and we expect premiums to rise further in June when it increases to 12%.

“There is no indication that prices will come down and we expect another year of relative stability although new rules making insurers include last year’s premium with renewals may have some impact on new business rates.”

The good news is that home insurance costs remain 7.7% lower than in February 2014 when Consumer Intelligence first analysed data. To try and keep your premiums as competitive as possible, remember to shop around and haggle with your existing insurer.