Despite a period of relatively flat car insurance costs, comprehensive car insurance premiums are expected to rise this year, financial comparison website
RateCity has found.
RateCity's Bi-annual Comprehensive Car Insurance Comparison found that average premiums for comprehensive car insurance are relatively unchanged in the past six months. However, some of the larger players in the market have lifted their prices significantly in just six months.
RateCity compared a sample of premiums from 27 car insurance providers, using the same driver profile across four different suburbs in eight cities across Australia. The driver profile was of a 30-year-old single male driving a 2005 Toyota Corolla with an excellent driving record who retains his rating-one no-claim bonus discount.
Out of the 27 car insurance providers compared in the study, Westpac, St George Bank, Suncorp Insurance, ANZ, GIO and ING Insurance lifted their rates some by as much as $376 compared to quotes compiled six months ago.
The national average cost of comprehensive car insurance in RateCity's comparison is $735.60, with Sydney remaining the most expensive city in Australia to insure your car with an average cost of $1142.55.
Damian Smith, CEO at RateCity, said there were significant differences between cities, suburbs and between policies in the same suburb.
"The biggest finding of the study was that the 'spread' between highest and lowest premiums for the same profile (including driver, car and address) continues to widen," Smith said.
"Six months ago, we recorded a spread of about $675 and now motorists can potentially save almost $700 on their comprehensive car insurance by comparing quotes online."
In terms of city prices, Canberra drivers appeared to see the biggest price hikes for comprehensive car insurance, up by $12.77 compared to six months prior, and followed by Sydney with an increase of $10.94. Other cities in the comparison saw price drops by as much as $24.64 on the Gold Coast.
Mr Smith warned drivers that impending price hikes are set to continue in 2011.
"The full extent of higher costs expected to result from the latest natural disasters across Australia have clearly not been implemented yet by many car insurance providers," he said.
Mr Smith said the research continued to demonstrate the value of shopping around. "Too many drivers simply renew their current car insurance by default," he said.
"While there are many other features other than price that need to be considered, it's fair to say that some drivers could save hundreds of dollars by shopping around; in any event, there's no excuse not to spend an hour or two comparing quotes online."
ninemsn owns 50 percent of RateCity.