People with a conviction for using their mobile phone while driving could face a 20% hike in car insurance premiums or even be turned down for cover, new research from the AA has found.
More than 170,000 motorists a year in England and Wales are caught using their phones while driving, and while fines for this offence are the same as those for speeding, drivers are facing much higher car insurance premium rises.
Car insurance premium hikes of up to 20%
Car insurers don’t always providing quotations for motorists with convictions for texting or making mobile phone calls while driving. Companies are turning down drivers if they have a single conviction for using a mobile at the wheel, even though this offence carries a similar punishment to speeding.
The AA investigation found that even if companies will still provide the convicted driver with a quotation, they are hiking car insurance premiums by up to 20%. This compares with a 9.3% increase for a single speeding conviction, which carries the same penalty of a £60 fine and three points on your license.
Car insurers taking offence seriously
AA spokesman Ian Crowder said: ‘Insurers are taking mobile phone offences very seriously. Their opinion is a motorist might break a 30mph speed limit without noticing but no one sends a text message, email or makes a phone call behind the wheel by accident.
‘It might seem severe but when operating a mobile phone you don’t have both hands on the steering wheel, you aren’t looking fully at the road and can’t change gears safely.’
The Association of British Insurers said: ‘One conviction for using a mobile is unlikely to preclude a motorist from getting insurance altogether although inevitably it will cost more.’
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