Mobile Phones and Driving

Offenders face hidden £5.4m Cost

16 May 2008

Insurers join police in crackdown on mobile phone use when driving

Police forces are not the only ones cracking down on motorists who risk lives by using hand-held mobile phones. Motor insurers are now showing support by increasing the premiums quoted for offenders - or even refusing cover, according to new data from the AA.

As well as being stung with the fixed £60 penalty charge, motorists could be forking out £5.4million1 each year in insurance premiums - with some insurers increasing premiums by 18.1 per cent because of the higher risk.

In a survey of eight insurers from its extensive panel2, Britain's leading car insurance broker, AA insurance even found one insurer refused to quote for a single mobile telephone offence. All other companies increased the premium from 4.2 per cent to 18.1 per cent.

AA's research also reveals that in real money terms the average insurance premium rises by almost £40 a year - and well over £100 over the three year offence period.

Drivers attempting to use a hand held mobile phone also put themselves at risk of being charged with careless driving, which, coupled with a mobile phone offence, could lead to a driving ban. The AA survey found that half of the insurers refused to quote for careless driving offenders whilst others imposed premium increases of up to 50.5 per cent.

Simon Douglas, director of AA insurance commented: "Driving whilst using a hand-held mobile phone places you at greater risk of having an accident - it slows reactions and you are less able to control the car. Insurance companies quite rightly take such offences seriously.

"Many offenders are not aware of the premium rise and we hope that raising awareness of this extra cost will help people to think twice about chatting on a hand-held phone when driving."

Simon Douglas adds: "In the event of an accident, police now routinely check mobile phone records to find out whether use of a phone was a contributory cause. Don't even think about not telling your insurer. When you take out or renew your cover, you will be asked if you have incurred any endorsements on your licence. If you're not truthful you could compromise your insurance cover."

The hidden insurance cost of mobile phone offences»
Download this story as a pdf document to see the full survey results table.

Notes to Editors

1Calculated using Department of Transport latest figures from the amount of offenders fined in 2006 and the average increase from the AA's research

2Taken from a survey of eight insurers from AA Insurance, Britain's leading car and home insurance broker

 

16 May 2008