The number of calls for an investigation into the huge cost of car insurance for young male adults in Northern Ireland has increased as more and more young drivers are finding themselves priced off the road as a result of the huge price increases.
Whilst the news that prices for young adults has gone up is hardly news to anyone, the Northern Ireland Consumer Council believe that the prices increases in Northern Ireland are ridiculous and they have called on the Northern Ireland Assembly to investigate.
A 17 year old female driver in Northern Ireland would expect to pay between £1,500 and £2,000 for their first years car insurance, while young male drivers are looking at closer to £3,000 for their insurance, or £250 a month.
According to the Consumer Council this is £300 more expensive on average than anywhere else in the UK.
The consumer council want to know the big reason for this as the usual arguments should apply everywhere.
Young drivers are more likely to have an accident than someone who has been driving for years but that is the same throughout the UK.
20% of young drivers will be involved in a collision in their first six months of driving a car, a staggeringly high statistic.
It seems the main reason drivers in Northern Ireland are paying more for their insurance comes from the fact the number of personal injury compensation claims in Northern Ireland is considerably higher than anywhere else in the UK.
Awards are no longer settled by a jury, instead being settled by a judge in a small claims court meaning the payouts were far higher, although prices haven’t dropped as a reflection of this.
With very few insurers choosing to insure young drivers in Northern Ireland, the lack of competition means prices have stayed high.
The Association of British Insurers (AIB) claims it has to make commercial sense for them to give someone cover although they also believe the number of insurers willing to cover young drivers in the region is increasing.
Aodhan O’Donnell from the Northern Ireland Consumer Council argued, “We need to look at why the market isn’t more open and why there’s not more players in it which could offer more choice and competition for consumers.
“We also need to look at what level compensation and personal injury claims are being paid out at. So we need an investigation into the legal process too.”