Prepare for the cost of motor insurance to go up over the next year. The cost of comprehensive policies rose just over 2 per cent in the last quarter. Non-comprehensive cover rose 1.7 per cent, according to a survey by AA Insurance.

Insurers have been prevented from pushing up costs by competition from several telephone-based insurers and brokers whose entry into the market in the past three years has forced prices down.

But industry rumours of a shake-out, as one or more firms decide they can no longer compete, may mark the end of low prices for policyholders.

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