Car insurers are refusing to cover motorists caught using a mobile phone at the wheel – even first-time offenders.
The AA conducted a survey of eight insurers and discovered that half wouldn’t even quote for a driver awarded three points for the CU80 offence, while the other half would impose a premium hike of nearly 20 per cent.
Auto Express has found that some insurers will increase policy prices for offenders even more. A spokesman for Adrian Flux told us: “Rises would vary from insurer to insurer, but could be anywhere from 15 per cent to 50 per cent or even a refusal.”
This tough stance extends to other offences, too. Our table (below) spells out the AA’s findings, and as you can see, even a minor speeding violation – an SP30 – will send premiums soaring. Seven of the eight cover providers contacted by the AA admitted that would be enough for a premium rise, and one wouldn’t even offer a quote.
Auto Express’s own research suggests that premium hikes for speeders can be far higher than even the 9.3 per cent quoted by the AA. A spokesman for LV said: “Typically, if a new customer had a speeding conviction in the last year, then their premium could rise by 10-20 per cent.”
The news will surprise many drivers, as traditionally insurers have opted not to penalise those with three points on their licence. A similar AA survey in 2009 found that 50 per cent of insurers would overlook a minor speeding offence.
So we asked companies why motorists’ premiums are now being hiked for this. An AA spokeswoman explained: “When speed cameras were first introduced, everyone was getting caught and insurers took a more lenient view. But now motorists are used to cameras, insurers won’t ignore three points.”
Direct Line said it was down to stats, with a spokesman adding: “Drivers with motoring convictions are 40 per cent more likely to claim than those with no convictions.”
An Association of British Insurers (ABI) spokesman said providers were hardening their view. “With the rising costs of claims, insurers hike premiums even in response to a motorist’s first three points,” he explained.
We also asked why motorists caught using their phone at the wheel were penalised more harshly than speeders, even though three points are dished out for both offences. An AA spokesman said: “Anecdotal evidence suggests motorists caught using a mobile are twice as likely to make a claim than with other offences.”
And Simon Douglas, director of AA Insurance, added: “Using a mobile phone while driving is a deliberate act. Many drivers may accidentally drift over a 30mph limit without realising. But no one accidentally makes or answers a call or text.”
How convicted drivers are being hit in pocket
The AA obtained quotes from eight unnamed insurers on its panel to see the effect of different offences on premiums. It based the figures on a 40-year-old man driving a Ford Mondeo.
- SP30 (speeding) – three points and £60 fine
- CU80 (handheld phone) – three points and £60 fine
- CD10 (careless driving) – six points and £100 fine
|Insurer||Clean||1 x SP30 (3pts)||2 x SP30 (6pts)||1 x CU80 (3pts)||1 x CD10 (6pts)|
|A||£298.15||£332.73||No quote||No quote||No quote|
|B||£312.79||£344.07||No quote||No quote||No quote|
|E||£391.5||£441.22||£491.33||No quote||No quote|
|H||£434.44||No quote||No quote||No quote||No quote|