Drivers across the UK are beginning to return to the roads but, as we head into car insurance renewal season, will you be able to get a good deal?
Insurers reduced premiums as claims dropped during the coronavirus lockdown, and drivers looking to renew this autumn can still secure a good deal.
Here, Which? offers tips on cutting the cost of your premium and advice on the latest COVID-19 insurance rules.
What’s happening to car insurance premiums?
We’re entering peak car insurance season, with the launch of the new ’70’ registration plates seeing a greater turnover of vehicles being bought and sold.
The price comparison site Money.co.uk says insurance searches are also on the rise due to drivers getting back behind the wheel after months of working from home during the COVID-19 lockdown.
Average premiums remain low. Data from Money Supermarket shows that costs fell by £53 to reach £702 in the second quarter of the year. This was the lowest price recorded in four years, with claims falling by 48%.
So far, fears that premiums will start rising again haven’t come to fruition. Compare the Market says prices dropped by £6 in August to reach an average of £695, despite costs for under-25s rising by £64.
- Find out more: how does car insurance work?
How to get the best car insurance deal
If your insurance is coming up for renewal or you’re buying a new car, we’ve compiled these top tips to cut the cost of your car insurance.
1. Pay annually if you can
Paying your car insurance monthly can help you spread the cost, especially if you’re a young driver with a high premium.
Unfortunately, paying in instalments could cost you hundreds of pounds more. Our research shows that insurers charge an average interest rate of 25% APR to customers who pay monthly.
2. Choose the right job title
What you do for a living can have an impact on your car insurance quote.
When getting a quote, you’ll need to select your occupation from a list, and you might find that your job fits into more than one category. Prices can vary significantly – Money.co.uk says average quotes for people describing themselves as bricklayers are £103 higher than those for builders.
One word of caution: don’t stretch the truth when filling out your application. Doing so means you could invalidate the policy and be prosecuted for fraud.
3. Don’t fall into the auto-renewal trap
Loyalty rarely pays when it comes to car insurance, as insurers tend not to offer existing customers their best deals.
With this in mind, it’s important to compare deals from across the board before settling on a policy.
If you particularly want to stay with your current provider, don’t say yes to the first quote – instead haggle for a better deal, as there’s usually room for manoeuvre.
4. Add named drivers
If you’re a new or young driver, adding an experienced driver with a clean history as a named driver on your policy could make your premium fall.
Including a parent or partner who might occasionally use the car as a named driver is acceptable, but it’s illegal to mislead the insurer about the main driver of the vehicle.
5. Check your credit record
When you get a quote from an insurer, it will usually run a ‘soft’ search on your credit record to verify the information you’ve filled out on the form is correct.
If you apply to pay monthly, some insurers will use ‘hard’ credit checks. This will be visible on your record, and a bad credit score might mean you won’t be allowed to pay monthly or are asked for an up-front deposit.
6. Beware of add-ons
Our research shows car insurance add-ons could be loading £50 or more onto your premium.
Add-ons aren’t all a waste of cash, but think carefully about which you need and which you don’t.
For instance, you may already have breakdown cover, or you might not require a hire car if your vehicle is out of action.
- Find out more: car insurance add-ons, fees and charges
7. Consider a telematics policy
Telematics policies (also known as ‘black box’ insurance policies) involve having devices installed in your car to track your driving.
They’re generally aimed at younger drivers, who face the steepest car insurance premiums.
If your driving passes criteria laid out by the insurer (such as not driving at specific times, adhering to mileage caps and speed rules), you’ll be rewarded with discounts.
Best and worst car insurance
To help you find the best insurer, we’ve combined expert analysis of 30 car insurance providers’ policies with feedback from thousands of customers to produce our car insurance reviews.
Use the link below to find out which providers were awarded coveted Which? Recommended Provider status.
Find out more: best and worst car insurers
Car insurance and coronavirus
Earlier this month, the Association of British Insurers provided updated guidance about car insurance during the COVID-19 outbreak.
It says that insurers will extend their support for customers affected by the pandemic until 31 October.
This means key workers, people helping their communities by transporting medicines and groceries, and those needing to drive to different locations for work due to COVID-19 won’t need to contact their insurer or extend their cover.
Further support measures requiring insurers to offer flexible payment plans or deferrals to people struggling to pay will also apply until 31 October.
Finally, the government has pledged to make 395,000 more driving tests available from this week and has extended the period for renewing out-of-date photocard licences by 11 months.
- Find out more: coronavirus advice from Which?