It is more than likely you have had an unwelcome surprise this year when renewing your car insurance, though few would have had the shock Rhys Barker had when he was quoted £1.2 million for a year’s cover.

27-year-old Rhys from Salford Quays, Manchester, was quoted the astronomical sum by Zenith, when he sought a quote for his 10-year-old £1,400 Vauxhall Corsa.

He rang the insurance company assuming there had been a mistake, only to be told that he could spread the cost by paying in installments of £104,000 a month.

They didn’t even seem to be shocked by it. They checked it for me and then said it was right,” said Rhys to the Daily Mail.

“I’m convinced they were just trying to price me out of buying insurance with them but it’s a ridiculous way of doing it. I’d love to know how they would have reacted if I’d just agreed to it – although with a car worth less than £1,500 it was never going to be likely.

Despite having a clean driving record and no other convictions, this is not the first time Rhys has encountered problems trying to get car cover. He was previously quoted £2,000 to insure a Ford Fiesta.

He criticised the way insurance companies calculate risk, stating that living arrangements and postcode criteria were unfair.

Rhys has now managed to find cover for his Corsa. He is still forking out £2,000 and has a black box fitted to his car to monitor his driving habits.

Gary Humphreys, a spokesman for Zenith, defended the £1.2 million offer, saying: "The price Mr Barker was quoted reflects that we have ‘declined’ to provide cover, as we would not expect a customer to pay such a high premium.

This is not a case of pricing customers out of the market but quoting on the risks that are within our rating parameters and declining if they are outside.