The motor insurance industry accused of rip-off

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Driving - a pricey business Photo: REUTERS/David Gray

For years our motor premiums have been rocketing - up 20% in three years by the most conservative estimate.

Time and again the industry has blamed its customers, pointing to fraudulent claims, fake whiplash and risky driving habits.

From today we know that the truth is different. In a complex series of inside deals and sculduggery insurance firms have created a system which leaves customers paying far too much.

The costs of repair work is artificially inflated Credit: Ian Nicholson/PA Archive/Press Association Images

The Office of Fair Trading says the insurance market is "dysfunctional", and they have asked the Competition Commission to investigate further.

Customers sick of those ever-rising annual bills will perhaps have more colourful language to describe what has been happening.

The system means policy holders are overcharged repeatedly: on average the affected repairs are inflated by £155, replacement vehicle hire by £560.

Overall it's adding at least £10 to every motor policy.