The average cost of UK motor insurance rose by 4.9% for fully comp and 10.2% for third party last year. But the price changes varied significantly across the country.
Many Northern England areas saw average rises of more than 14%, with Bradford worst hit with a 17.1% hike. However drivers in Scotland, who already paid the lowest premiums, saw an overall decrease in rates. Falkirk had the biggest drop, with premiums down by 4.6%.
While some of the factors affecting motor premiums apply nationwide, such as a reluctance of companies to subsidise motor policy losses with profits from other areas of insurance, the regional variation appears to show the affects of personal injury claims.
Scotland has its own legal system, which makes such claims and the resulting costs to insurers, less common and less expensive. Meanwhile levels of claims vary across England, to the extent that they may be influenced by local scam operations with accidents being deliberately caused or even staged.
Insurers warned things could get worse throughout 2012 as new European rules banning price discrimination based on gender come into effect.