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Six essential steps to getting the best insurance deal

Insurers will show last year's premium against their new offer, helping you measure how competitive their deal is

Getting the best insurance deal should become easier from Monday, when insurance companies start telling you how much you paid last year when they try to get you to renew a policy – letting you see exactly how much your rate has changed.

Three years after Which?’s campaign for a more transparent renewal process began, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has made it compulsory for insurers to make their pricing clearer to customers, along with advice about shopping around.

With premiums set to rise this year for car and home insurance, making sure you get the best offer you can is more crucial than ever.

So, here are six essential insurance hacks to help you secure a great insurance deal.

1. Compare last year’s premium – and how they’ve risen

Many will accept the quote they’re offered at renewal without shopping around or bargaining for a better price. Insurers make a lot of money out of these customers. Don’t be one of them.

Now that you’ll be able to see last year’s price in black and white and the premium your insurer will charge at renewal, check the difference. If you’re unhappy about the new price, you can probably get a better one for relatively little effort.

2. Use comparison sites to check insurance premiums

First, spend twenty minutes or so checking what deals are available across multiple comparison sites. These sites aren’t always 100% reliable, not all providers appear on them and you will need more time to properly compare policies for their cover.

However, what should be quickly apparent is how competitive the figure on your renewal letter is.

3. Haggle with your insurer – and don’t be afraid to leave them

You are now armed with information on how your insurer’s offer compares to what they were prepared to offer last year – and to what other insurers will offer you this year. It’s time to pick up the phone.

When we surveyed 4,000 insurance customers in November, 79% of those who’d disputed the price offered to them managed to secure a better deal, saving themselves, on average, £64.

The odds are in your favour to make a big saving if you’re prepared to ask for it. And if you’re not confident about how to haggle, our handy guides can walk you through it.

And if you don’t get want you want, be prepare to walk away to a new insurer. Loyalty doesn’t always pay.

4. Only get the cover you need

When buying insurance, it’s easy to wind up with a host of add-ons that might not be that crucial to you but are bulking out your premium.

Whether it’s the personal accident insurance, key-cover or courtesy car enhancement, give some thought as to whether it’s providing cover you’d otherwise miss.

Adding to your excess amount is another way to bring down the price considerably – if you have enough put by to pay something towards your claims.

5. Buy annual cover (if you can)

Interest rates for paying monthly can be as high as 44% – which can significantly add to what you’re charged overall. Depending what your insurer charges, paying your premium upfront could potentially save you hundreds of pounds.

Scan our list of fees for car insurance and home insurance to find out how much different companies charge for paying monthly.

6. Sooner is better

Your renewal letter should typically reach you around a month ahead of the policy renewing. But don’t leave it until the last minute to compare prices. With some insurers, the longer the time between the quote and the policy’s start date, the better the price they’ll offer.

In our research, we found a quote for a policy due to begin that day was more than twice as expensive as the same policy deferred to begin after two days.

The differences won’t always be as dramatic – but shopping around in advance pays off.

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