UK car insurance premiums in Q2 drop to over 5-year lows - survey

July 21 (Reuters) - The cost of a comprehensive car insurance policy in Britain fell 12% in the second quarter to its lowest level since early 2016 due to COVID-19 lockdowns, although it might rebound to pre-pandemic levels as restrictions ease, a survey showed on Wednesday.

UK motorists now have to pay 522 pounds ($709.45) on average, according to the latest index from price comparison site in association with insurance broker Willis Towers Watson.

The fall was the second-biggest annual drop since 2014, and car insurance premiums have now fallen for three consecutive quarters. However, they could start rising as most restrictions on movement have been lifted in Britain.

Even without the pandemic, regulatory reforms across the sector are creating pricing pressures, said Graham Wright, the UK lead of P&C personal lines pricing at Willis Towers Watson.

Britain’s financial regulator in May said it would move to protect consumers from so-called loyalty penalties in motor and home insurance, potentially saving an estimated 4.2 billion pounds ($5.95 billion) over 10 years.

“With so many challenges in play at the same time, the personal lines industry is braced for one of the most turbulent times in its history,” Wright said.

West Central London remains the most expensive place in the UK to buy car insurance, with an average premium of 981 pounds according to the survey, while Llandrindod Wells in Wales offers the cheapest ones at an average of 319 pounds.

$1 = 0.7358 pounds Reporting by Yadarisa Shabong in Bengaluru; Editing by Ramakrishnan M.