If your car insurance was due for renewal in recent months, you would not be alone in having received quite the unwelcome shock when the renewal notification landed through your letterbox. Car insurance prices in Ireland are well and truly spiralling at present, and with no end in sight many motorists are now at risk of not being able to afford to keep their cars on the road. A recent meeting of the Joint Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform took place at Leinster House to focus on these issues as they continue to pose an immense threat to drivers.
Figures show that over a third of Irish drivers saw their car insurance premiums continue to rise meteorically in the last year, with many facing increases of up to 50% on their previous premiums. Whilst this is a financial issue facing the wallets and pockets of Irish drivers, it has also become an overall road safety issue which begs for rectification. As a consequence of these consistently rising costs, many drivers are unfortunately put in a position in which they must drive under reduced levels of insurance in order to manage their costs. This is both a financial issue for our country and a safety issue for all drivers as we have seen a recent 17% increase in accidents involving uninsured drivers as a result of rising costs that cannot be realistically kept up with, these rising costs do not correlate to your own claims or penalty points, but are an issue across the board for all drivers young and old. Many long-term drivers have experienced a hike of over 50% in the cost of their insurance premiums despite having never made a claim.
Conor Faughnan of the AA stated that rising costs were an issue of major urgency facing members of the AA and that
“Competition should be encouraged by the rising costs being seen, but that isn’t happening. Foreign insurers are in active retreat.”
Thus positioning this as a financial issue for the country as well as individuals. Faughnan also stated that foreign insurers fear the lack of clear information on insurance claims costs in this country and are wary on this front also. Whilst fuel costs are dropping, rising insurance costs ensure that drivers are feeling no benefit. Ireland Underground, a group of representatives of young drivers in Ireland have been quoted as saying that these rising costs have left Ireland’s younger drivers feeling
“As if they are besieged on all fronts by a sense of hopelessness.”
Once again, we are seeing our young people being hit hard by the financial issues which previously threatened their continued living in this country. It is not just our younger people here though being hit hard as older people are also finding themselves being hit by astronomical insurance premiums, and as a result are struggling to keep their cars on the road and maintain their own independence in this way.
Suggestions have been made to bring our costs and compensation in line with EU averages and allow greater competition for both Irish and foreign insurance companies in Ireland. According to the AA’s annual survey of motoring costs, the average cost of running a family car in Ireland has increased by €255.82 in the last year.