One of the country’s largest car insurers has admitted that what email account drivers use could see them pay more.
Admiral says people using a Hotmail account do pay higher premiums as data it has compiled shows certain domain names were “associated with more accidents”, hence prices were bumped up.
An investigation showed online inquiries via Hotmail were £31.36 more than those through a Gmail account, for example.
Admiral said that certain email addresses did impact risk assessments for motorists and their subsequent quote.
“Certain domain names are associated with more accidents than others,” it said.
“We use a variety of pieces of information to accurately produce a competitive price for our customers.”
The Association of British Insurers published research on Wednesday that revealed car insurance premiums have risen to a new high.
Between October and December 2017, average premiums hit £481, a rise of 9% on the previous year.
That is the highest figure since the ABI started recording data in 2012, and the eighth successive quarter in which premiums have risen.
The average price paid for private comprehensive motor insurance was £493, up 6% on the same quarter 2016, and the highest again since 2012.
Rob Cummings, ABI’s assistant director, said: “The rising cost of motor insurance shows no sign of abating.
“Changes to how compensation payouts are calculated, Insurance Premium Tax, more whiplash-style claims and rising repair bills are all piling on the pressure for cash-strapped drivers.
“The government must urgently bring forward relief for motorists by introducing its reforms to create a fairer compensation system, and tackling low value whiplash style claims without delay, as well as freezing Insurance Premium Tax.”
All insurance premiums have been taxed at 12% since June of last year.
So-called crash-for-cash cons – where rogue drivers and criminal gangs deliberately cause accidents to claim for bogus injuries – have plagued the industry in recent years.
Equally, claims firms are known to try to encourage motorists involved in minor shunts to seek compensation for injuries, such as whiplash.
These incidents have seen the cost of premiums climb for all drivers, says the industry.
A pledge to crackdown on fake claims was part of last summer’s Queen’s Speech of policies outlined by the Tory government.