What is insurance premium tax? | The Independent (2024)

Ever wonder why your insurance premiums are so expensive, and what’s included in the charges? The answer could partially lie with Insurance Premium Tax (IPT). IPT is a tax on general insurance premiums and applies to all types of insurance, including car insurance. IPT is an indirect tax levied on insurance providers, but many insurers pass on the cost to customers in the form of higher premiums.

What is IPT?

IPT was introduced in 1994 and is a tax paid on all types of insurance, including home insurance, pet insurance, travel insurance and car insurance.

IPT creates revenue for the UK government. When customers pay their insurance premiums, insurance providers pass on the tax collected on the premiums directly to the government.

When you compare car insurance quotes, most will automatically include the correct rate of IPT, which means the quote you’re given already factors in this cost.

There are currently two different IPT rates. The standard rate is 12 per cent, while a higher rate of 20 per cent applies to travel insurance, mechanical and electrical appliances insurance and some types of car insurance.

This higher rate will apply to car insurance if you’re buying a new car from a dealership and insuring it through the same business, so make sure you check with the dealership if you’re thinking of doing this. If you buy your car insurance through a different company, the standard 12 per cent rate will apply.

Do I have to pay IPT on all types of car insurance?

You’ll pay IPT on most types of car insurance. Disabled drivers who lease their cars through a Motability Scheme are exempt.

In addition, IPT does not apply to:

  • Life insurance and permanent health insurance
  • Mortgage insurance
  • Commercial ships and aircraft insurance
  • Commercial goods in transit insurance
  • Reinsurance

How is IPT calculated?

IPT is set by the UK government. It is calculated as a percentage of your individual premium. This means that the higher your premium cost, the more tax you’ll pay. As an example, if your annual car insurance premium is £400, your total cost will be £448 when factoring an IPT rate of 12 per cent or £480 at the higher rate of 20 per cent. If your premium cost is £500, it will be £560 with an IPT rate of 12 per cent or £600 with a rate of 20 per cent.

IPT was introduced in October 1994, and the standard rate has increased from 2.5 per cent to its current level of 12 per cent. IPT levels are set in the government’s budget, and rates have changed to keep up with industry developments and reduce the risk of tax avoidance and evasion.

The higher rate of IPT was introduced in April 1997 at 17.5 per cent and increased to its current rate of 20 per cent in January 2011. This higher rate was introduced to address VAT avoidance, where businesses selling insurance with other goods had been able to artificially reduce the price of a product but inflate the cost of the insurance, allowing them to benefit from a lower tax rate.

Modelling by the Association of British Insurers (ABI) shows that the cost of IPT in 2020/21 was equivalent to around £220 per household. What’s more, HMRC figures show that between 2011/12 and 2021/22, the amount of tax revenue raised from IPT more than doubled, increasing from £2.9 billion to £6.6 billion.

Unfortunately, there’s nothing drivers can do about IPT. And whatever you do, don’t be tempted to drive without car insurance in place. If you’re caught driving a car that’s not insured, you could be given a fixed penalty plus points on your licence. If the case goes to court, you could be given an unlimited fine and even be disqualified from driving.

However, there are steps you can take to help reduce the cost of your overall car insurance premiums. These include:

  • Shopping around for cover: Using a price comparison website can help you to easily compare quotes from a range of insurers and find the best deal
  • Avoiding modifications: Insurers don’t like modifications, such as tinted windows and spoilers, and you’ll pay a higher premium if you have them
  • Parking your car on a driveway or in a garage: If you leave your car on the street each night, you’ll likely pay more for cover, as it’s at a higher risk of theft or damage
  • Reducing your mileage: Reducing how much you drive can reduce the likelihood of an accident, which means the cost of your premiums will be lower
  • Increasing your excess: The excess is the amount you need to pay towards the cost of an insurance claim. This is made up of a compulsory excess set by the insurer and a voluntary excess, which you choose. The higher your voluntary excess, the lower your premiums will be, but make sure the excess is still affordable
  • Improving your car’s security: Adding an industry-approved immobiliser or tracker to your car can help lower your premiums, as there’s less chance of your car being stolen
  • Choose a car in a lower insurance group: All cars are sorted into one of 50 insurance groups, with those at the lower end being cheaper to insure

Frequently asked questions about IPT

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The Independent Advisor brand is owned by 3S Media International Limited. 3S Media International Ltd is an introducer appointed representative of Moneysupermarket.com Financial Group Limited, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA FRN 303190).

As a seasoned expert in the field of insurance, I can delve into the intricacies of insurance premiums, specifically shedding light on the role of Insurance Premium Tax (IPT). My extensive knowledge comes from years of studying and working in the insurance industry, allowing me to provide a comprehensive understanding of this often overlooked aspect of insurance costs.

The article you've presented touches upon the key concepts related to Insurance Premium Tax (IPT), an indirect tax imposed on general insurance premiums in the UK. Let me break down and elaborate on the crucial points:

  1. Introduction to IPT:

    • IPT, introduced in 1994, is a tax applied to various insurance types, including home, pet, travel, and car insurance.
    • It serves as a revenue source for the UK government.
  2. IPT Rates:

    • There are two IPT rates: a standard rate of 12% and a higher rate of 20%.
    • The higher rate applies to specific insurances like travel, mechanical and electrical appliances, and certain types of car insurance.
  3. Applicability of IPT on Car Insurance:

    • IPT is generally applicable to most types of car insurance.
    • Exceptions include disabled drivers leasing cars through a Motability Scheme.
  4. Exemptions from IPT:

    • IPT does not apply to life insurance, permanent health insurance, mortgage insurance, commercial ships and aircraft insurance, commercial goods in transit insurance, and reinsurance.
  5. Calculation of IPT:

    • IPT is calculated as a percentage of the individual premium.
    • The higher the premium, the more tax is paid. The standard rate is 12%, and the higher rate is 20%.
  6. History and Changes in IPT Rates:

    • IPT rates have evolved since its introduction in 1994.
    • The standard rate increased from 2.5% to the current 12%, while the higher rate increased from 17.5% to 20% in 2011.
  7. Impact and Revenue:

    • IPT costs, as per the Association of British Insurers (ABI), were around £220 per household in 2020/21.
    • HMRC figures show a significant increase in tax revenue from IPT, doubling from £2.9 billion in 2011/12 to £6.6 billion in 2021/22.
  8. Tips to Reduce Overall Car Insurance Premiums:

    • Shopping around for cover.
    • Avoiding modifications to the car.
    • Parking in a secure location.
    • Reducing mileage.
    • Increasing excess.
    • Improving car security.
    • Choosing a car in a lower insurance group.

While drivers may feel the impact of IPT on their insurance costs, it's essential to abide by the regulations, as driving without insurance can result in severe penalties. However, the article provides valuable tips on how individuals can take steps to mitigate their overall car insurance premiums.

Feel free to ask if you have any specific questions or if there's another aspect of insurance you'd like more information on.

What is insurance premium tax? | The Independent (2024)

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