Car insurance premiums have risen by record amounts in the last year, with an average rise of 40.5 per cent compared to the same time last year.

Comprehensive motor insurance has soared by 11.5 per cent during the three months to the end of September alone, costing on average £703.79, while third party, fire and theft cover saw an untenable 57.1 per cent rise in the last 12 months. The average policy now costs £1,098.

According to the figures published by the AA, the worst of the increases are being put upon cash-strapped youngsters. Men aged between 17 and 22 have seen the cost of their cover increase by 46.6 per cent during the past year, to £2,457. Women in the same age group have experienced an even steeper jump at 58.7 per cent, although their average premiums – at £1,423 – are still nearly half those paid by men.

The AA said it based its index on the three most competitive quotes available for 2,800 different customers. A spokesman said the rise were the steepest it had seen since it first started the index 16 years ago.

But the group, which monitors the whole market, said price increases had been greatest at the cheapest end of quotes, suggesting that the availability of competitive deals was coming to an end. It blamed the steep rises on the combination of rising fraud and increasing personal injury costs.

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