More than 10 million UK drivers could see their insurance premiums rise over the next few months as they take up driving to work. That’s the conclusion of new research by price comparison site CompareTheMarket.com, which says an increase in traffic could cause insurers to hike their prices.
According to the company’s study of more than 2,000 British drivers, 61 percent expect to commute by car when they go back to work after the coronavirus lockdown. Before Boris Johnson imposed social distancing measures in March, that figure stood at 34 percent. Assuming the survey’s respondents were representative of the UK public as a whole, CompareTheMarket.com says that increase equates to an extra 10.5 million cars being used for the daily commute.
The proportion of people who will start driving to work as a result of the pandemic varies from region to region, but CompareTheMarket.com says it is “particularly high” in Northern Ireland, Wales and the West Midlands. In London, almost a third (32 percent) expect to drive to work, up from a fifth (20 percent) before the pandemic.
Those drivers will have to ensure their car insurance policy covers them for commuting before they head to the office, but the price comparison site warns this can prove expensive. As an example, the firm claims a 36-year-old man with 19 years’ driving experience, who lives in West London and drives a Skoda Octavia would pay around £350 for a policy that covers social, domestic, pleasure and commuting use. However, the same man would pay around £330 for a policy that only covered social, domestic and pleasure use.
At the same time, CompareTheMarket.com predicts that the cost of motor insurance overall could be set to increase anyway. With almost a fifth (17 percent) of UK households expecting to use their car more than they did prior to the pandemic, the company says increased traffic could lead to an increased likelihood of crashes and therefore a rise in premiums.
“The government is encouraging the UK to get back out to work and to society and, crucially, to avoid public transport where possible,” said Dan Hutson, head of motor insurance at CompareTheMarket.com. “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.”