2013 UK car insurance industry watch covers the most important news stories, trends, research, opinion and developments for 2013.

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UK Car Insurance Trends 2013!
It’s been a great year for us at HomeApproved! We have tweeted, posted, blogged, given away fantastic prizes on Facebook, and updated our friends and fans over the course of the last year.

As we approach the start of another year the question in our office is what are the trends and predictions for UK car insurance in 2013? We take a look below at a number of topics which are likely to feature high on the list of many drivers, journalists and industry insiders in the new year.

Black Box Insurance
We predict a big year in the UK for vehicle smartbox technology! The take-up of blackbox insurance policies in the UK is now gathering pace and will continue into 2013. With greater emphasis being placed on reducing premiums, particularly for young drivers we see this technology coming to the fore and potentially saving drivers a lot of money on their next motor quote!

EU Gender Directive
This is not a prediction! It’s already here – thanks to the EU! The ‘Gender Directive’ came into force on December 21st 2012. In a nutshell this stipulates that insurers are not allowed to discriminate, when determining car insurance premiums, by gender. As a consequence young women drivers are sure to see their next quote rise by as much as 40%! In addition, rates for young male drivers are not falling by anything near as much, if at all!

Not More Comparison Websites?!
In 2012 Google entered the fray with the launch of their car insurance comparison offering. Having previously purchased BeatThatQuote, it seemed like a natural next step! Motorists in the UK now have a bewildering choice of where to compare their next motor insurance quote! Even post Google car insurance we are continually seeing new entrants into this market. One has to wonder what these new players can really offer/deliver over and above the established players such as QuoteZone, MoneySupermarket, GoCompare et al.

Investigation into the UK Car Insurance Market
During September 2012 the Office of Fair Trading announced that it had referred the UK’s private car insurance market to the Competition Commission for further investigation. The groundswell of opinion was that motorists in the UK were not getting a fair deal on car insurance premiums. Even though the OFT has two years to complete the investigation, reporting back in 2014, we expect that through 2013 the debate will heat up as to the practices, restrictions and distortions happening in the motor insurance sector.

Tougher Laws on Drink Driving
Government proposals are paving the way to ensure individuals who drink and drive are hit harder then ever in 2013. Around this time of the year we always see an increase in the number of adverts warning of the dangers of drinking and driving. Just how effective these are is open to debate. If you are a serial offender you could face the future prospect of your vehicle being confiscated and even sold! Look out for other changes which could mean there is no longer a need to prove the driver was impaired in their ability to drive!


Why Smartbox Technology Could work for All Drivers
Over the last 3 years we have seen the growth of smartbox or black box car insurance technology. This has been heavily promoted to the young driver sector as a means of lowering their motor insurance. This seemed a natural fit as the spiralling cost of premiums for drivers under 25 continued to rise.

The telematics technology allows drivers to be rewarded for good and sensible driving habits. Likewise if you were a reckless young driver then your premiums were justifiably higher. Many UK insurers took up the baton of the blackbox and delivered specific, tailored policies targeted at young drivers.

Whilst, there has been a reasonable take-up of black box car insurance in the UK, the current thinking is to argue why the technology would not be relevant to all categories of driver, regardless of age? If the prime motivating factor is to reward better driving and lower the cost of car insurance then surely this is something that all motorists should and could aspire to.

The benefits of safer driving are obviously not just lower car insurance premiums, but also safer roads. This could be a win-win scenario where all drivers are benefiting from safer driving through lower motor insurance costs, and at the same time there are less casualties on Britain’s roads.

At present there are no smartbox car insurance policies aimed at other demographic/gender sectors of the motor insurance market. This could change however, with new tailored smart box cover directed at, for example senior drivers or lady drivers.

In fact, the lady driver question is an intriguing one as we have just witnessed the EU ruling on gender where car insurance quotes for lady drivers have gone up to equal that of their male counterparts. Any approach which could see the ‘safer driving’ habits of women drivers rewards again is sure to go down (quite rightly) extremely well with women motorists!

For older drivers, the GPS data collected by the smartbox could be a very useful aid in continuing to reward the safer driving habits of senior drivers and also provide reassurance to family members of the continued safety of an elderly relative on Britain’s roads. As always the best way to find the right car insurance policy for you, possibly even a telematics policy, is to shop around on the Internet. HomeApproved can help you do this!


UK Insurance Price Comparison – Not Quite What it Says on the Tin?!
As a consumer, when you visit a car insurance price comparison website in the UK, you might imagine you are equally comparing, all of the insurers on the panel delivered by the comparison website. Right? Well, maybe not!

One of the biggest selling points of an insurance comparison website is the number and quality of car insurance providers, and companies on their roster or panel. This is what you will often see marketed by companies such as MoneySupermarket, GoCompare and Comparethemarket, to name just three.

In addition, some of us might also have noticed the very high valuations and amount of money these comparison website make. Well, all are clear about how they make their money, so no qualms there. However, recent stories have indicated that the results that they return after you have inputted your information are not quite as un-bias as you may have hoped.

As consumers we all expect that the results thrown up by an insurance price comparison website will simply list the insurers, in order, for who provides the most compatible, and possibly cheapest car insurance quote for our requirements. Well, it seems that this is where the waters tend to become a bit murky.

One reason that these companies seem to make so much money, for simply being, in essence a middleman is that they, allegedly, take payment from their insurer partner(s) for pushing consumers towards their favoured partner and not the panel member who can deliver the best value-for-money premium.

Whilst it would be wrong to consider this action, as is often referred to as a bung, it might be construed as misleading the consumer, sending them down a road which is not strictly in their best interest i.e. – saving money on their car insurance policy.

Many motorists generally regard businesses such as the above three as being 100% independent or even altruistic, because they don’t realise these sites often pocket enormous kickbacks via sales commissions.

Importantly the new watchdog, the Financial Conduct Authority, plans to examine closely how the UK price comparison industry operates. We look forward to bringing you updates on any findings that are published in the future.


BBC Top Gear
Tuesday 2nd July, 2013 and it’s time to put together a little monthly piece for the HomeApproved car insurance website. It struck us that with the new series of BBC Top Gear starting this Sunday just gone 30th June, now was a good time to pay a brief homage to the team who have livened up our Sunday evening viewing for the past 20 plus years.

We’re not sure that messrs Clarkson, May and Hammond have ever presented a piece to camera on the subject of car insurance (we doubt it!), however this is no reason not to appreciate the entertainment the three of them have given all of us motorists and petrol heads here in the UK.

The first episode of the latest series has Jeremy Clarkson, racing James May up the coast on North Island in New Zealand! Meanwhile Richard Hammond tests three of the latest hot hatches: Peugeot 208GTi, Renault’s hot new Clio, and the Fiesta ST. It’s the Fiesta that triumphs with both Clarkson and Hammond declaring it as one of the most impressive cars they have driven in years. Fine praise indeed for Ford Motor Company!

The show has gained a massive following not just here in the UK but right across the globe. While many of the items contained in the show are pure entertainment and fun, you are never far away from a reasoned, objective opinion minus the hyperbole of some of the other car shows – naming no names – Fifth Gear!

The BBC Top Gear show has literally launched the careers of both May and Hammond. Clarkson was a household name before the three of them got together to present the show 19 series ago. Both Richard Hammond and James May have forged very successful careers in the media off the back of the popularity of Top Gear.

Everybody in the HomeApproved office will be watching over the next few weeks and looking forward to chewing the fat on a Monday morning in the office about the escapades of our famous 3 Top Gear presenters. Don’t forget if you miss the 1 hour show on a Sunday evening, you can always catch up on the quite brilliant BBC iPlayer!