Insurance premiums 'rise due to tax change'
Insurers have warned customers that premiums will go up thanks to a tax rise that has now come into force.
The Insurance Premium Tax (IPT) rate has increased from 10% to 12%, with motor, home, pet and health insurance all affected.
Companies warn that the average family will be paying £47 more a year as a result.
Successive chancellors have found IPT to be an irresistible way to raise money for their spending plans.
This latest rise of two percentage points to 12% means that the rate has doubled in only a few years.
Calculations suggest that the tax rise will add £8 to the average motor policy.
It may add £20 to the bill for a 19-year-old whose motor insurance premium was already much higher than the average, owing to the greater risk posed by younger drivers.
A percentage tax bears heaviest on those who have the most expensive policies, such as young drivers or people living in less well-off areas or flood zones.
A spokesman for the Treasury said: "Insurance Premium Tax is a tax on insurers, not consumers - insurance firms decide whether to pass it on to their customers or not.
"IPT is higher in several European countries, including France and Germany, than it is in the UK."
However, the Association of British Insurers said it punished responsible people who had done the right thing by buying cover for their cars and homes.
Are you a young driver? Have you been warned your premiums will go up?