How Do I Get the Best Deal on Car Insurance?
There is much more to buying car insurance than simply finding the cheapest deal. You need to be sure the policy provides you with the peace of mind that you have the level of cover you want in the event that your car is stolen, broken into or if you’re involved in an accident. That said, as car-insurance premiums are based on how much of a risk you are perceived to be, there are ways you can reduce your risk and keep your premiums down.
Make Your Car More Secure
Taking steps to make your car as secure as possible could make a different to how much your car insurance costs. Whenever possible, park your car in a garage or driveway, and if your car doesn’t already have one it would be worth fitting an alarm or immobiliser – just make sure it is Thatcham approved, as this is the industry benchmark for security.
Choose Your Vehicle Carefully
Every make and model of car belongs to one of 50 ‘insurance groups’, a system that bands cars from the cheapest to the most expensive to insure. The more powerful and rare your car is, the more expensive it will be.
You can find out which insurance group each car belongs to on the Parkers website.
Don’t Guess Your Mileage
While it’s dangerous to understate your mileage as this could invalidate your insurance policy, make sure you don’t overstate it either. Try and be as accurate as possible because this really does have an impact on your premiums. If you give a mileage figure that’s too high, you could end up paying too much.
Because insurers reward the lowest-risk drivers with the lowest premiums, doing everything you can to prove that you are low risk really does pay dividends. Taking a Pass Plus or Advanced Driving Course can attract a discount on the overall cost of your policy with some insurers.
Try and avoid obtaining points for motoring offences, as this will make your premium higher. Previous insurance claims can also have this effect, but it is important that you disclose any previous claims.
Consider Telematics Technology
Telematics (or ‘Black Box’) technology is when an insurer uses an in-car device to monitor and assess your driving habits and set your premiums accordingly. There are three types of telematics equipment available:
- Black box: your insurer literally installs a ‘black box’ in your car, which uses GPS to monitor your driving
- Plug-and-drive: your insurer will send you a device that plugs into your car’s charging port or cigarette lighter and, like a black box, uses GPS to track your habits on the road
- Smartphone app: some insurers offer a telematics app you can install on your smartphone
This kind of technology is extremely helpful for anyone who is considered high risk by insurers, this includes drivers under 25 and those with motoring convictions. Essentially, it provides your insurer with information about when, where and how you drive and can help you to prove you are a safe and responsible driver. Your premiums are adjusted by your insurer in response to the data they collected, this is either done every month or every year at your renewal date.
Is There Anything Else I Can Do?
There are some other steps you can take to reduce the cost of your car insurance:
- Add a second, low-risk driver – this can have an impact even if they don’t use your vehicle much. Avoid adding a young or inexperience driver to your policy as this will increase your premiums
- Paying for your car insurance annually rather than monthly often attracts a discount and is interest free, whereas paying in monthly instalments often means you pay interest on top of your premium
- Only pay for what you need: optional add-ons, such as breakdown cover, may be obtainable for a lower price elsewhere
- If you have five or more years with no claims, it’s worth paying extra to protect your no-claims bonus as this will make you an attractive customer to a new insurer
- Adding a voluntary excess will lower your premium, but remember you will have to pay this amount on top of the compulsory excess if you make a claim, so make sure it is affordable
Do Your Research
Shop around for the best deals, using at least two comparison sites as well as going direct to insurers that don’t use them. Many of the large insurers only sell their policies directly to customers. You could also consider using an insurance broker.
Even if you would prefer to stay with your current insurer, it’s worth knowing what deals are out there, because you are well within your rights to ask your existing insurance to come up with a better deal for you if you are unhappy with their renewal cost.