Top ten tips for getting cheap car insuranceReduce your car insurance premiums, within the law
03 November 2010
Car insurance premiums are on the rise, mainly due to the number of uninsured drivers on UK roads and growing numbers of accidents involving young motorists.
And it’s not just young and new drivers who are targeted with increasing insurance prices. Recent Which? research has found that 60-year-old women are charged up to £80 more than men of the same age for their car cover.
With this in mind, here are our top 10 tips to get a cheaper insurance quote, while staying on the right side of the law.
1. Choose the right car
The biggest factor in how much your car cover will cost is the car itself. Therefore, if you are looking for a new car, search within the realms of what you can afford when it comes to insurance, not just the upfront price of the vehicle itself. Young drivers in particular are subject to high insurance prices, so searching for cars by insurance group is a good start. Insurance groups are determined by risk, so powerful cars and those susceptible to theft will be in a higher group. Insurance group one and two cars are the ideal for new drivers on a budget. Also, avoid modifications to the car where you can, as because these will also hike prices up. Some manufacturers may also offer free insurance deals on a new car.
2. Add older named driversAdding an experienced driver to your policy is an easy way to save some money, especially if you are a new motorist or under the age of 25. Ideally, add a family member who has no claims and a clean licence to get the best savings. Ensure that you do not mark one of these drivers as the main driver of the vehicle if they are not – this is known as ‘fronting’ and can invalidate your cover.
3. Be aware that your profession makes a difference
Your job title might not appear to be a big determining factor in the cost of your car insurance, but many insurers highlight certain professions as riskier than others. You can legitimately tweak your job title and this could make a difference. For example, if suitable, you can change ‘journalist’ to ‘technical writer’. Claiming you have a completely different job role is insurance fraud, so ‘pilot’ could not be changed to ‘school teacher’.
4. Fit an immobiliser if you don’t have one
Most car insurers will ask if you have an immobiliser and factor this into the policy price. An immobiliser is an electronic device that prevents the engine from starting unless the correct key is used. They’re designed to cut down on keyless car thefts when thieves 'hotwire' the vehicle instead. If you don’t have one, you may find buying one will cut down your insurance costs over time. You’re best off getting a Thatcham-approved device, which come in varying categories determined by their security level. A category 1, or cat1, immobiliser will reduce your car insurance quote the most, but these are the most expensive, with prices starting in the region of £100.
5. Pay a higher excess
Being willing to pay a higher voluntary excess will generally drag down the price of your car insurance. The voluntary excess is the initial amount you will have to pay out yourself if you make an insurance claim, with the insurer covering the rest of the cost of the claim. Don’t go too over the top though - you don’t want to set an excess well out of your budget and then be unable to pay it if you make a claim.
6. Use comparison sites
…but you don’t necessarily need to buy from one. Price comparison sites are a quick and easy way to get the cheapest quote from a number of different reputable insurers. However, they are also a good bargaining tool when your insurance is up for renewal. Never accept your renewal quote without shopping around. The easiest way to make sure you’re getting the best deal is by entering your details into a price comparison site. If there is a cheaper quote there and you want to remain with your current insurer, use this to haggle with them.
7. Be willing to buy online
If you don’t already buy your insurance online, it may be worth investigating if you can get a better deal through your insurer by logging on and buying your cover over the internet. Many insurance companies offer discounted rates if you buy online direct from their website. You should definitely research this if you use an insurer that isn’t on price comparison sites.
8. Build and protect your no claims
A no claims bonus (NCB) is earned over time. Every year that you have insurance on a car and don’t make a claim, you will earn another year’s no claims bonus. Most insurers offer discounts for five years claims-free driving, but you will find some offer discounts for up to eight years, too. You can pay extra to protect your no claims; this ensures that, if you do have an accident, your no claims bonus remains. However, if you make another claim in quick succession, you’re unlikely to be able to protect it again.
9. Pay upfront
Paying for your car insurance in one lump sum will save you money over the twelve months. Most car insurers will offer a monthly payment package, but you will have to pay more over the twelve months if you opt for this choice. Paying all at once at the beginning of your policy will save you money over time, even if it does mean a large single outgoing.
10. Keep a clean licence
Motoring offences will have an affect on your car insurance cost. If you’ve been convicted of any offence, be it speeding or driving using a mobile phone, car insurance firms will see you as a higher risk and charge you more. By law, you have to notify your car insurer if you are convicted of a motoring offence. Not doing so could be classed as fraud and invalidate your cover.
Although getting cheap car insurance is good for your bank account, it it vital that the cover you are getting is of high quality. Ensure that you are going to get a quality package with the correct additional benefits including free windscreen repairs, a courtesy car and legal cover.
Check out our Which? recommended car insurance providers.