10 ways to save on car insuranceTips on how to cut your car insurance premium

13 September 2011

Modifications can make your insurance more expensive

Modifications can make your insurance more expensive

With car insurance premiums having risen by 40% in the past year, there's never been a better time to look for ways to keep costs down.

1. Good and bad modifications

Insurers have a love/hate relationship with car modifications. They will invariably increase premiums where alterations may make your car more attractive to thieves and vandals, such as alloy wheels, spotlights or tinted windows. However, having your registration number embossed onto windows and lamps or increasing its security could well make your car premium less expensive. 

2. Named drivers

If you are a young or inexperienced motorist, adding an experienced driver to your insurance could result in a lower premium, as you would be sharing the driving with someone who has a good track history. 

3. Don't accept auto-renewal quotes

Auto-renewal quotes are sent out by many insurers in the weeks leading up to your current policy expiring. However, insurers often don't offer a particularly competitive quote, relying on customer inertia to automatically renew their insurance before shopping around for a better deal. Use the auto renewal quote as a reminder to start looking around for new cover. 

4. Protect your no claims bonus

If you have been driving for a few years, and build up a sizeable no claims bonus (NCB), consider protecting it so that if you had to make a claim, you would not find your NCB drop back. Be aware that different insurers offer varying levels of NCB protection at different costs, so bear this in mind when looking around for new cover.

5. Review your driving habits

It's easy to draw assumptions about your driving habits. Note how many miles you did in the last year and update this if possible. Also, if you have retired or don't use your car for commuting, ensure that you select social and domestic driving only. Adding commuting can increase premiums, as insurers will conclude that you regularly drive in rush hour, thus increasing the potential for claims. Likewise, consider the value of your car - which will probably depreciate with age, so don't just input what you paid for it. 

6. Pay up front

Car insurance may be very expensive, with the average shop-around cost being almost £900, but if you can afford it paying up front will save you money. The APR on monthly payments could see your total premium rise substantially. 

7. Excesses

The amount you are willing to pay up-front in the event of a claim can have an impact on your premium. If you are willing to pay a little more, you could shave a sizeable chunk off your premium. Beware though - always check the total excess as some comparison sites will add what you stipulate as your voluntary excess to the insurer's compulsory excess. So it pays to be vigilant and tweak your quote if necessary.

8. Use cashback sites

Which? research has shown that cashback sites can offer very competitive quotes, sometimes even without the cashback deal. If you are registered with one, don't forget to try them for a quote when looking for insurance. 

9. Shop around

Give yourself time to shop around for insurance. Buying insurance is not fun, but it's made slightly more palatable if you put aside an hour or so to get a few quotes from comparison sites, cashback sites, and direct from insurance providers, and make big savings. 

10. Argue the toss

Whatever quote you get from your existing insurer, or from another source, contact your current policy provider and see if they will match or beat it. One call could save a lot of time and money.

For more on this

Which? Recommended Providers - Car insurance policies rated for policy and customer satisfaction.

Younger and older drivers - Age is a major factor when it comes to premiums.

Which car to buy - different cars will attract higher or lower premiums, so bear this in mind.