CAR INSURANCE NEWS ROUNDUP: 7 DAYS ENDING 23 JULY 2014:
It’s nowhere near fair or equitable, but it’s come to light that car insurance companies routinely use your postcode to determine your base insurance rates.
Hold on to your hats, ladies and gentlemen: new research has revealed that where you live as far as your postcode can make or break you when it comes to the cost of your motor car insurance. If you live in Birmingham for example – one of the cities with the highest car insurance rates already – you’d better hope you don’t live anywhere near Benefits Street.
Of course that’s not it’s name, but you most likely remember that Channel Four documentary as well as I do: James Turner Street has shedloads of residents on the dole. As a result, anyone within a stone’s throw of the street has absolutely horrid insurance premiums. In fact, 22 of the worst 100 postcodes in the UK are all in Birmingham – and all suspiciously close to Benefits Street.
This is something that insurers do routinely, though. It shouldn’t come as any surprise, even if it’s not exactly good cricket. What’s worse is that this isn’t something that’s prevalent across the pond, as well – our American cousins have been putting up with this blatant postcode prejudice for years as well. According to more recent research, things could be even worse in the US, as something called ‘redlining’ may be in play – it’s carving up geographical areas by zipcode and specifically assigning horrid insurance rates along socioeconomic lines. However, more and more evidence is emerging that there’s a serious racial divide at play as well. It’s truly nothing more than discrimination, and somehow it’s socially acceptable in the US, most likely because it goes under the radar.
Sadly the UK seems to be following in those footsteps. Will this change any time soon? Well that all depends. When are we going to line the surface of Mercury with solar collectors and then wirelessly beam the energy back to Earth to power all our homes and vehicles? Because that’s probably the day that insurance prices – and prices for everything – will probably drop like a stone. Before that? Well, don’t hold your breath.