Average car insurance premiums are tipped to rise beyond £700 in the coming months as the industry moves to pass on increased costs, a report has warned.
The Comparethemarket.com study warned that a record gulf between the average and cheapest deals on the market may indicate a fall in competition.
It reported that gap – known as the savings variable – grew to £118 between June and August with the average premium standing at £697.
Assuming current trends continue, it predicted an average premium of £739 for drivers who automatically renew with the same provider by the end of the year.
It said those who shopped around could expect to save up to £130 through the cheapest deals which have themselves risen by almost £70 over the past 12 months.
The report said: “A rise in incidents such as staged car crashes, rising repair bills and insurance scams are just some of the reasons why premiums have risen as insurers look for ways to absorb increased costs.”
The significant increase in Insurance Premium Tax introduced over the past year has also contributed to pushing up the price, it found.
“The growth in the savings variable to 17%, the highest difference ever recorded, suggests competition may be falling,” the report said.
“This could be in part attributed to insurers attempting to increase the profitability of their businesses.”
The company’s head of motor insurance, Dan Bass, said it was clear insurers were “not feeling any competitive pressure to reduce their prices”.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), which is responsible for policing competition issues, said it was unable to say whether it had received any complaints relating to the insurance sector.
The price comparison website industry is itself currently the subject of a CMA investigation.
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