Good news and bad news for policyholders

It’s time to play Good News, Bad News – which would you like first? It actually doesn’t matter much, but I like giving you the illusion of choice sometimes.

It’s usually nothing but bad news for the motor car insurance industry, usually in the form of increased premiums, but believe it or not there’s some evidence that we might be off a bit better than we were last year at about this time. In January of 2013 there was a massive furore amongst car insurance companies because of an EU directive that made it illegal to use gender-based rate determinations, and many industry wags said this would tear apart the insurance markets like Vesuvius steamrolled Pompeii – but the truth could be much less bleak, according to a major car insurance comparison website.

The site did some figures recently, finding this week that in general rates are cheaper for everyone now than they were just after the EU directive went into effect. Sure, there are bigger winners than others – men seemed to benefit more than women since there was a massive disparity before this – but overall people are paying much less for car insurance than they were just 12 months ago, so there’s your good news for once.

Now the bad news: there are still people struggling to get good rates on their insurance, and they’re being targeted by con men online and lured into taking out ‘too good to be true’ cheap car insurance only to find out that they weren’t actually buying anything at all for their hard-earned money.

The scammers are posing as reputable insurance brokers, but they’re simply pocketing the cash and dashing off into the night. These ‘ghost brokers’ are insidious in that they actually furnish falsified insurance documents to their victims, leaving them thinking everything is on the up and up – only to be faced with the grim realities of being without valid cover in the event that they’re stopped by the police, or even worse when they’re involved in an accident!

Official estimates feel that some £500,000 in payments were made to ghost brokers over the past 12 months. That’s a princely sum – and it’s a lot of Brits that are being victimised by these sneaky bastards. So that right there would be your bad news – sure, you’re able to find relatively inexpensive car insurance, but you might end up buying it from a complete criminal – so for pity’s sake be careful out there!

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