Motoring organisation The AA has recorded the biggest jump in the cost of car insurance since it started tracking the market, with young people bearing the brunt of the rise.
Figures due to be published this week show premiums for 17 to 22-year-olds have risen by as much as 47% in a year.
Young male drivers are paying the most, with the average of the three cheapest quotes they get being a staggering £2,457 which is nearly double the premiums offered to young women.
The insurance costs are being blamed on another surge in claims for injuries sustained in accidents.
“If you have an accident which leaves someone disabled, the claim can be up to £15m,” said Simon Douglas, director of insurance at the AA.
“Young men are twice as likely to be involved in these incidents than young women.”
The impact of the rises is to make driving unaffordable for some young drivers and a huge burden for those who can gather the cash.
Drivers have little chance of finding an affordable quote, unless they put a huge effort into shopping around. Some insurers have pulled out of the young end of the market entirely, because of losses.
The AA blames lawyers for exacerbating the problem by taking a 40% cut of personal injury claims.
“The number of claims is increasing and the number of passengers involved is increasing,” said Mr Douglas, of the AA.
“Some of that is being driven by no-win, no-fee lawyers. Their numbers have doubled in the last two years.”
The AA started compiling an index on car insurance rates 16 years ago. These are the sharpest rises it has seen since then, with premiums accelerating to new highs.
Tips for cutting costs
1. Call firms with cheaper quotes, to see how the premium might be reduced
2. Opt for a higher excess – the amount of a claim a driver pays before the insurance kicks in
3. Look for insurers who specialise in young drivers
4. Buy a cheaper, smaller car