Motorists could be over-paying on their car insurance by a total of £2 billion by automatically renewing their policies, new research suggests.

Comparison website Gocompare.com recently conducted a survey which found that 8.8 million drivers rolled-over their most recent car insurance policy without looking for a better deal. The result was that many of them missed out on cheaper premiums, some passing up savings of up to £238.51.

Nearly half of the respondents (46 per cent) said that they opted to auto-renew their policy because they believed the insurer that had been cheapest last time was likely to be the best option this time, too. Meanwhile, 31 per cent of the motorists asked revealed that they stayed with same insurer for three years of more.

Usually car insurance brokers will send a reminder or notice out roughly a fortnight before the end of a policy. This is the period in which, Gocompare.com suggests, drivers should shop around to see if there are cheaper deals available to them.

Two thirds of drivers said that they didn’t let their policy rollover. Of that number, 52 per cent said they were aiming to save money on a cheaper deal, while two fifths (40 per cent) claimed to not trust the insurer they were with to give them best deal each year. A further 20 per cent believed they could get a better deal as a new customer to a different car insurer.

Of the almost 9 million who auto-renewed their policy, over a quarter (26 per cent) cited loyalty to a company they felt had looked after them well as a key factor. The process being too much hassle (18 per cent), general confusion (6 per cent), and fears about losing their no claims bonus (6 per cent) were also reasons given by respondents for automatically renewing their car insurance policies.

Lee Griffin, chief operating officer at Gocompare.com, said: “Millions of drivers are potentially overpaying for their car insurance to the tune of £2 billion a year in the mistaken belief that an insurer offering the cheapest premium one year is bound to offer the same good value the next.

“However, what many drivers have found is that insurers often offer the sweetest deals to new customers whilst pushing up premiums for their existing customers. Clued-up motorists know that, when it comes to car insurance, loyalty seldom pays.”

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