Automatic cars are £100 more expensive to insure

Drivers of cars with automatic gearboxes are paying almost £100 more for their insurance than owners of manual vehicles.

A study of more than 15 million insurance quotes found that automatic drivers pay an average of £94.07 more than manual drivers and the gap has widened over the last two years.

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The data from MoneySuperMarket shows that an average policy for an automatic car is £560 compared to £466 for manual drivers a 20 per cent mark-up between transmissions.

The data, covering the period from January 2018 to February 2020, also shows that the gap has widened from around five per cent in early 2018. Automatic drivers now pay an average of £560 compared to £466 for manual drivers.

Rising popularity

Despite being more expensive to insure, enquiries for automatic cars have risen steadily over the last two years from 22 per cent to 28 per cent of all enquiries.

The reasons for automatic cars being more expensive to insure are complex and could relate to everything from them generally being fitted to larger, more expensive cars to the added complexity of the systems and costs associated with repairing them.

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Dave Merrick, car insurance expert at MoneySuperMarket commented: “There are many factors that can affect the cost of insurance premiums, such as age, driving experience and the car make and model.

“From January 2018 to January 2020 we have seen a huge increase in the price difference between insurance for both automation and manual cars. This has risen from 5 per cent to 21 per cent and has stayed stable for the last six months.

“One reason for this could be a result of increased technology in automatic cars over time for, example, the parts that make up an automatic gearbox are more complex and could cost more to repair. However, due to improvements in technology, an automatic car might help you save money in the long run through better fuel efficiency.”

Licence costs

The data also shows that the type of licence a driver holds has a far greater impact on their policy costs. According to the MoneySuperMarket figures, the average policy for a full UK licence holder is almost half that of an automatic-only licence - £483 compared to £833.

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Londoners were found to be the most likely to look for automatic insurance, with more than half of all enquiries in London postcodes relating to automatic models.

Outside of London, other areas of the UK with the highest proportion of insurance enquiries for automatic cars include Jersey, St Albans and Guernsey, while at the other end of the spectrum the Isle of Lewis, the Shetlands and Belfast saw the smallest proportion of automatic drivers.