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Insurers Can Help!

May 22, 2007

By GUY ANKER

BRITAIN'S largest general insurer, Norwich Union, will not charge drivers convicted of minor speeding offences any more on their car insurance than someone with a clean licence.

Last week the Mail revealed how broker Swinton said it would be treating motorists who had collected speeding points with more leniency. And Esure, which is owned by Halifax, now says it will take a similar tack.

Their move could lead to hundreds of pounds worth of savings a year for the estimated 4.5 million people in the UK who have points on their licence.

These insurers claim such drivers are not necessarily more likely to have an accident because more motorists are being caught out by the 6,000 speed cameras springing up on our roads.

Research from insurer Direct Line reveals that 92 pc of those with driving convictions in the past two years are for speeding, while almost half of those caught were less than 10mph over the speed limit.

Such an offence will typically cost you three points and a Pounds 60 fine, as long as you only exceed the limit by a small margin, and is known as an SP30 conviction.

The more SP30s you have, the more you will pay on your car insurance. But if you only have a single conviction or two, as long as neither were earned in the past year, you may not see any increase in your premium.

NU, which insures around four million drivers, says an experienced 40-year- old male driver living in Dorset with a Ford Focus and with a five years' no-claims discount will pay the same annual premium of around Pounds 330 whether he has a clean licence, has one speeding conviction or even two - as long as neither were in the last year.

Even if that person had two speeding convictions in the past 12 months, earning him six penalty points, he would only pay an additional Pounds 10 annual premium. Adrian Webb, from Esure, says: 'Most insurers are now taking a lighter view of single, nonserious convictions due to the hugely increased presence of enforcement technology. 'Drivers are not necessarily any worse, but their likelihood of being caught is higher. With multiple convictions, however, this can point towards lessons not being learned.' Not all are following the lead of NU, Esure and Swinton. Churchill and Direct Line say those with penalty points are more likely to claim, so their premiums will naturally be higher.

More Th>n is one of the tougher insurers as it will not cover anyone with nine points and says those with penalty points will be penalised. The Co-Op is unlikely to insure new customers with six points.

The AA, a broker, reveals one insurer on its panel will up its premium from around Pounds 416 a year to roughly Pounds 712 for a 40- year-old man living in Gloucestershire, driving a Ford Mondeo and with a full no- claims bonus, if he amasses six points on his licence for two SP30s. It says insurers that are tough are getting even tougher.

Anyone caught using a mobile phone behind the wheel is now likely to get a three-point penalty which could see even more insurance premiums rising.

Debra Williams, from price comparison site Confused.com, says: 'Always shop around for the best deal based on your individual circumstances - insurers typically review their prices on a daily basis.'

g.anker@dailymail.co.uk

(c) 2007 Daily Mail; London (UK). Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning. All rights Reserved.



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