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.

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.