Car insurance companies are so unhappy with customers found guilty of using their mobile phones behind the wheel that they are hiking premiums by as much as 20 per cent for those found convicted of the offence, according to a recently released research study.
In excess of 170,000 English and Welsh motorists are caught using their mobiles whilst behind the wheel on an annual basis. The fixed penalties for being caught red-handed are analogous to those for being caught speeding, yet insurers are dealing much more sternly with customers found guilty of the former than the latter.
Not only are insurers raising car insurance rates for these customers, there are some providers that have begun to turn down motorists for a single conviction, according to the AA’s research study. The motoring organisation additionally discovered that even when providers still offer quotes to convicted motorists, rates increase by as much as 20 per cent, yet those with speeding offences only experience a rate hike of around 9 per cent.
Ian Crowder, spokesman for the AA, commented on the findings, remarking that insurance providers have begun to take offences regarding mobile phone use quite seriously. The rationale behind the disparity between punitive measures is that insurers can imagine someone breaking a speed limit due without realising they have done so, but making a phone call or sending an email or text message is a conscious choice, Mr Crowder added.
The severity might seem high, the spokesperson said, but he pointed out that the use of a mobile phone necessitates taking at least one hand off the wheel and splitting your attention between the road ahead and the phone itself.