Car insurance premiums in the UK have shot up 11% over the past year - the fastest year-on-year rise since records began five years ago.

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) said the average price for comprehensive cover in the second quarter of 2017 was £484, a jump of £48 on the same period in 2016.

It puts the rise, which is about four times the rate of inflation, down to a 2% increase in Insurance Premium Tax charged to companies and the Government's decision to award larger compensation payments to people who have an accident and suffer life-changing injuries.

Check NOW if you can lock in a cheap deal

New rules which came into effect on 1 April mean insurers are now forced to tell you what you paid last year when writing to you with an auto-renewal quote, highlighting how much they hike costs from one year to the next.

So check now if you can cut your costs and lock in to a cheap deal to beat price hikes. Here's what to do, depending on how close you are to renewal:

  • If you're at renewal, it's easy – NEVER automatically accept your renewal quote, just use our car insurance system to bag the cheapest deal.
  • Not at renewal? Lock in a quote 60 days ahead, some insurers let you get a quote before your renewal's due and keep that price, meaning you'll beat the hikes if prices rise.
  • Even if you're midway through your policy, it's worth checking if you can save – for a £50ish admin fee (factor that in) you can usually cancel your existing policy and get the rest of the year refunded, provided you've not claimed.

Martin Lewis
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To find the cheapest policy, use the system set out in full in our Cheap Car Insurance guide – in brief:

  • Combine comparison sites to speedily find your cheapest deal before hikes hit. There's no one cheapest insurer, as prices are different for everyone.
  • Then check the biggies comparisons miss. Direct Line* and Aviva* won't appear on comparison sites, and can be competitive.
  • Then check the hidden hot deals comparison sites miss, eg, £50 Amazon voucher. See our full list of current hot deals.

Also see our Young Drivers Insurance, Cheap Van Insurance, Cheap Motorbike Insurance, and Cheap Classic Car Insurance for more information.