Car insurance premiums up 15% in a year

Car insurance premiums increased by more than 15 per cent over 2011, the latest figures from the AA have revealed.

The average insurance premium now costs £971.40, an annual increase of 15.3 per cent, as cheaper deals disappear from the market.

The rise is surprising, according to the director of AA Insurance, and it comes ahead of the gender rule changes that will come into effect from December 2012. The European Court of Justice has ruled that using gender to set insurance premiums is discriminatory, which means that those who have purchased car insurance since the end of December will see their next premium affected.

Young women will see the biggest rise in costs, according to the AA. The ruling will pave the way for a new 'telematic' insurance product, which sets premiums based on driving performance.

Commenting on the ECJ ruling, director of AA Insurance Simon Douglas said: "It puts ownership of responsible and safe driving firmly in the hands of the driver, regardless of their sex. It is genuinely a gender-neutral product."

A House of Commons Transport Committee report released last week blames the sharp rise in premiums on an increase in the number of whiplash claims. But the AA believes that the way personal injury claims are made needs to be reformed, as the number of claims rises, but the number of accidents falls.