Insider Tips for Cheaper Car Insurance

by John on January 12, 2012

in Money

I wrote a post a while ago called Nifty Tricks for Cheaper Car Insurance, this was picked up by, who offered to chip in with their own insider tricks, on how to get the best car insurance quote possible. So here you have it, car insurance tips straight from the horses mouth…

Car insurance: Love it or hate it, if you want to drive you’ve got to have it. It’s one of the few legally required purchases we make in life and, because it typically costs hundreds of pounds it tends to be one of the most expensive purchases we make in a year. So we’re always on the lookout for a good deal.

People have always been encouraged to shop around for car insurance since…well, since there was more than one car insurer probably, and was set up to make that process simpler and easier, especially as there are now more than 100 car insurance brands in the UK. So we know a few things about it and how to reduce your premiums while still getting the cover you need. Read on for some insider tips…

Shop around
OK, we’re a price comparison site, so we would say this, wouldn’t we? But it’s true. Premiums for new customers are calculated differently to those for existing ones which means you can never be sure that your current insurer is offering you the best deal. It might be their best deal, but is it the best deal? You won’t know unless you look.

As your situation changes so does your premium
There are many factors that go into calculating a car insurance quote: Age, car, gender (at the time of writing anyway), address… the list goes on. If you have ever bought car insurance you’ll know the number of questions that get asked. Only one of these has to change for the cost of your car insurance to rise or fall.

These days, car insurance brands are all aimed at a section of the driving market. The most obvious ones, if you pay attention to TV adverts, are women and the over 50’s, but others will aim to be competitive for young drivers, people living in London, families, etc. Chances are you fall into more than one category so it’s a good idea to look at what the different companies offer you, and as your situation changes (getting older, married, divorced, have kids) then the companies that are most competitive for you will change.

The details matter
In fact, your situation doesn’t have to change at all; it just depends on how an insurance company looks at it. Let’s take jobs as an example. If you have ever filled in an online form that has a list of jobs for you to scroll through and select then you’ll know that they can vary. One car insurer may, for example, list nurse, doctor and surgeon as their medical professions. Another may split the category of nurse further, into midwife, ICU nurse, army nurse, A&E, heart, etc. The details can matter – just think of the differences in job between a general ward nurse and one in the army.

Fully Comp could be cheaper
It may go against the grain but a quote for fully comprehensive cover could be cheaper than third party only (TPO), the reason being that people looking at cutting down the cost of their insurance by considering TPO or third party, fire and theft (TPFT) cover tend to be high risk drivers – i.e. young or with convictions, or driving a heavily modified car.

Garages can be dangerous
You may think that parking your car in a garage will reduce the cost of your insurance because it’s more secure and protected from the elements. Not necessarily. Parking your car in a garage can increase your insurance premium. Why? Simple: Plenty of insurers have had to pay out for drivers having accidents getting their car into and out of the garage. Plus, it’s rare that a car is the only thing stored in there – ladders, pots of paint, saws, plenty of things that can fall of a shelf and damage a car.

A protected no-claims bonus might not be worth it
Got a no-claims bonus (NCB) of 20 years and proud to have it, so want to protect it? Fair enough, but it might not be worth it. Most insurance companies state that with a protected NCB the discount will still apply should you become involved in an accident that wasn’t you fault. That’s true, but come renewal your premium will still go up. Why? Because you were in an accident, and statistically that means you are likely to be involved in another in the next few years. It sounds crazy, but it’s true. So although the NCB is being applied, it’s being applied to a higher overall figure.

The cheapest quote might not be the cheapest quote
We’ve already said that there are different factors involved in calculating a car insurance premium, but there is also what the policy covers as standard and what is extra. One simple example is that one quote is cheaper than another because it does not include a courtesy car in the event of yours being repaired after an accident. The second quote does and costs £30 more, and to add a courtesy car on the first quote will cost £40, so if you want that car you would be better off getting what appears to be the more expensive quote.

What this boils down to is checking what is involved in a policy as standard and what is extra, because to drive down the price some insurance companies strip out certain benefits, making them optional extras. So think about what you really want from your car insurance cover beforehand so you know what to look for and what to compare on.

Excess payments
An excess is the amount of money you pay towards the cost of repairs before an insurer pays anything, so if you have an accident that causes £500 worth of repairs and a £200 excess, your insurer pays £300. The higher the excess you are willing to pay, the less your premium is.

It’s a gamble, but so is everything with insurance.

This article was written by Rob Powell from, the car insurance comparison website.

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