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Birmingham motorists hit by car insurance price rises

Soaring car insurance premiums are being felt especially hard by drivers in Birmingham and the West Midlands, new research shows.

Figures from the Watson Car Insurance Price Index for the second quarter of 2011 indicate that the price of a typical comprehensive motor policy in the West Midlands has risen by 3.4 per cent – the equivalent of 14.3 per cent a year, and way above the current level of inflation.

This compares to a national average increase of 2.7 per cent between April and June this year.

Bigger rise in Birmingham

In Britain’s second city, the standard increase was higher still at 3.9 per cent, while in nearby Wolverhampton, motorists saw the cost of cover go up 4.3 per cent in the second three months of 2011.

But these increases are merely the culmination of years of rocketing insurance costs, the statistics indicate.

In Birmingham, the price of an average comprehensive policy is now more than double what it was at the end of 2006: drivers pay £1,185 today for cover that would have cost them just £584 less than five years ago.

In the West Midlands as a whole, typical premiums are up 91 per cent over this period from £542 to £1,033.

This is well above the UK national average of £857.

Government investigations have found that a combination of uninsured drivers and rising costs of dealing with personal-injury claims are two of the main factors driving British drivers’ premiums up at such a rate.

To find out what’s happening to car insurance costs in your area, have a look at our interactive map.

Prices up, but rises are slowing

This sounds like bad news, but there is some scope for optimism: the rises experienced so far this year are not as fast as steep as those witnessed UK-wide in 2010.

For example, while prices in the West Midlands were up 3.4 per cent between April and June (an annualised rate of 14.3 per cent), the actual increase over the preceding 12 months was 28.8 per cent.

And in Birmingham, the increase in the year between June 2010 and the same point in 2011 was 32.5 per cent. These latest statistics suggest this rate has now slowed to 16.5 per cent, which is certainly a step in the right direction.

Take action to cut premiums

But there are a number of steps you can take to cut your own cost of cover.

Where you live will have some bearing on the premiums you are charged: for example, if your home is in an area where there is a higher-than-average incidence of vehicle crime, insurance costs will be steeper.

If this is the case, then it makes more sense to take anti-theft precautions such as fitting an engine immobiliser or parking your vehicle off the street at night.
Preventative measure such as this are likely to cut your premiums by a greater proportion than if you lived in a quieter, low-crime area.

Have a look here for some insider tips about motor crime and how to avoid falling victim to it.

See how much the average person of your age and sex will pay for their insurance in their area with our car insurance price index calculator

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Chris Torney

Chris Torney

Chris is the former personal finance editor at the Daily Express. He's been a journalist for more than 10 years and contributes to a wide range of finance and business titles.Read more from Chris

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