SCOTTISH motorists enjoy far better deals on car insurance than drivers elsewhere in the UK, new figures reveal.
Experts said differences in the Scottish legal system meant there was not the same claims culture pushing up premiums as in the rest of Britain.
A study of more than four million quotes by comparison site Confused.com found many premiums charged to motorists north of the Border dropped last year, but rose by 4.9 per cent elsewhere in the UK.
Meanwhile, separate data from the AA showed the average premium charged in Scotland was the lowest in the UK, coming in at just £593, with the next lowest in England’s West Country – around £150 higher.
In the highest cost area of Britain, around Manchester and Liverpool, drivers had to pay double the Scottish average.
According to Confused.com, seven out of the top ten areas where drivers paid less last year were north of the Border – with motorists in Falkirk seeing their premiums fall by 4.6 per cent, according to the Car Insurance Price Index.
Drivers in Edinburgh experienced the next biggest drop, of 3.7 per cent, with Dundee third at 3.5 per cent then Inverness at 3.3 per cent. Paisley and Aberdeen also saw price drops.
However, drivers in other parts of the UK suffered double-digit increases. Motorists in Bradford saw premiums rise most last year – by 17.1 per cent.
UK-wide, the average cost of a comprehensive policy at the end of December stood at £844, the survey said.
Third-party fire and theft premiums rose even higher last year – increasing by 10.2 per cent compared with 2010, with the year-end average being £1,162.
The average cost of third-party premiums is skewed by the large number of younger people who take them out; they, in general, pay far more for their insurance than older, more experienced motorists who are more likely to have comprehensive cover.
The average cost of insurance for 17 to 20-year-olds hit a hefty £2,590, while those aged 66 paid just £451.
Ian Crowther, of AA Insurance Services, said: “Premiums in Scotland are generally lower than the rest of the UK, largely because of the different legal system, which discourages personal injury claims. There is not quite the same claims culture north of the Border that there is south of it. There doesn’t tend to be the ambulance chasing personal-injury claims lawyers.”
He added: “When high personal injuries claims are awarded by the courts, that tends to push premiums higher.”
Gareth Kloet, head of Confused.com car insurance, said: “This time last year, drivers were paying an eye-watering £804 average premium for comprehensive cover, which has continued to rise to £844.
“In 2012, we can expect to see new factors affecting car insurance prices, such as EU legislation meaning insurance cannot be priced according to gender.”