MOTORISTS in Scotland have faced the largest hikes in insurance premiums anywhere in the UK at a time when most drivers are seeing their costs fall.

While average quotes for comprehensive car insurance have decreased by 0.8 per cent to £591 over the last year, motorists in rural parts of Scotland have seen their premiums spike by up 4.2 per cent.

But despite the increases, Scottish drivers still pay far less in insurance than the average UK motorist.

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On average, drivers in the Scottish Borders have seen the sharpest increase in policies over the last 12 months, up 4.2 per cent to £408 - a rise of £17. However, this remains the region with the second lowest premiums of all UK drivers.

Meanwhile, drivers in the Scottish Highlands saw their policies jump by 2 per cent year-on-year, also equivalent a price rise of £17.

Motorists in the Central region of Scotland saw their policies increase by 2 per cent year-on-year - a rise of £8 to £467.

The only region of Scotland that saw a decrease in the cost of their policy was East and North East of Scotland, where the average policy dropped by just 1 per cent. However, the regions' drivers are already benefit from the lowest average premiums for the whole of the UK, with motorists in the East and North East of Scotland paying £406 a year in car insurance.

The quarterly Insurance Price Index, based on four million quotes, has been compiled by comparison website, Confused.com, in collaboration with professional services consultancy Towers Watson.

Steve Sanders, finance director at Confused.com said: "It's a mixed bag for Scotland, with some regions seeing price rises and some seeing decreases. The majority of drivers in Scotland can take solace in the fact they have some of the lowest premiums of drivers across the UK. With young drivers benefitting the most across the UK, young drivers in Scotland are following the trend."

Premiums are set purely based on claims frequency - and the cost of those claims - so the recent increases are likely to indicate that there has been a rise in the volume of claims made north of the Border.

However, Scotland's comparatively low insurance rates suggest that, despite the bad reputation of rural areas for serious crashes, Scots motorists are submitting comparatively fewer claims than the UK average.

Female drivers in the East and North East of Scotland have seen their policies decrease, year on year, by 1 per cent to just £386 - the lowest of any premium in the UK.

The cheapest average policy for male drivers can be found in the Scottish Borders where the average premium costs £411 - although this is a year-on-year increase of 4 per cent.

Meanwhile, younger drivers - regularly stung with the highest premiums - are now benefitting from the cheapest insurance premiums since the Index began in 2006.

The average annual comprehensive car insurance policy for 17-year-olds in the UK now stands at £1,901 - £302 cheaper than a year ago.

Female drivers aged between 17 and 20 in the Scottish Borders are getting the best deal of young people across the UK, with their policies costing just £976. This is £480 less than the national average for female drivers of the same age.

Similarly, male drivers between 17 and 20 in the East and North East of Scotland can expect to pay, on average, £1,454 for their insurance policy - a full £497 lower than the national average for drivers of the same age.