As Russia plays hard ball with its gas supplies, turning them on and off in the manner of an irrational Bond baddie, so the forthcoming fuel price increases, a direct result of Russia’s actions, are a source of worry for millions of people across the UK.

Russia’s unwarranted invasion of Ukraine has already contributed to the higher costs of various items being passed on to consumers and businesses alike.

For instance, the UK and European insurance industry has taken an unexpected, conflict-induced hit, ostensibly because it is prohibited from providing different forms of insurance cover to businesses involved in Russian-related activities. The impact of the losses caused as a consequence has been absorbed by insurers as well as businesses and consumers.

Ultimately, consumers see the impact when their renewal home insurance notice drops through the letterbox or into their email inbox, but it’s not just Russian aggression that is to blame for a surge in home insurance costs this year; there are at least three other major causes.

According to online personal finance website Moneymapp, the new year began with an unwelcome surge in home insurance costs which saw average premiums rising by more than 9%. But why did this happen?

Ken Carter, head of insurance services at Moneymapp, explains that following the introduction of new rules by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in January, insurance companies could no longer offer new customers price incentives while excluding renewing customers from the same deals.

“The FCA found that insurers were regularly offering below-cost prices in order to attract new customers who they believed would not switch to different firms in the future and eventually would pay more,” says Mr Carter.

The FCA acknowledged that their new rules meant that insurers were "unlikely to offer unsustainably low-priced deals to some customers," which is precisely what has happened, particularly to the over 50s demographic. Homeowners in this age group witnessed a price hike of almost 6% in 2021 and a further 11% increase in January 2022.

While Russian aggression and new FCA rules designed to protect customers account for a significant proportion of the surge in home insurance costs, the unwelcome appearance of inflation has also played a meaningful part.

Insurance companies have noted that rebuilding and repair costs have risen much faster than the official rate of inflation in several countries. Building material and labour costs have swollen because there is a worldwide, post-pandemic shortage of both.

A fourth factor which continues to have a huge influence upon insurance costs is the recurrence of natural disasters such as the recent flooding in Pakistan which put almost a third of the country under water.

Other, weather-related catastrophes include the unprecedented flooding in eastern Australia earlier this year, while the USA has witnessed some of the fiercest tornadoes in recent history. The aftermath of drought and wildfires in southern Europe also caused insurance costs to rise and ultimately, it is the consumer who picks up a part of this global bill.

“When compared with the first half of 2021, global insurance losses caused by storms, flooding and earthquakes was around $45 billion lower in 2022, but once we add the combination of new FCA rules, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and rampant inflation, it’s clear why premiums are rising for UK consumers – whether they’re buying car or home insurance,” says Ken Carter.

“Fortunately, the internet is an extremely useful tool for people determined to save money, irrespective of what they’re buying online – and the same applies to insurance. The insurance market is incredibly competitive and consumers can shave hundreds of pounds off their home or car insurance even though premiums have risen,” he adds.

Indeed, the latest figures published by Moneymapp reveal that by comparing the insurance premiums from more than 100 different insurers (the work is done for you by Moneymapp), visitors to the site can save a whopping £319 on their car insurance costs and an average of £146 on their home insurance.

The new FCA rules are not going to change, nor is there any sign of Russia tempering its military action. Inflation will be with us for another couple of years and natural disasters will, sadly, continue to occur. Given this rather miserable scenario, saving money on your annual insurance costs will at least provide some respite from the gloom.