10 tips and tricks for lowering the cost of your car insurance

Young female driver driving

Anybody who has owned a car will know just how difficult it can be to find value for money when it comes to looking for car insurance.

Whether you’re a young driver or an experienced motorist that's looking for affordable cover, we’ve combined a list of simple ways in which you can reduce the price of your premiums.

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Why is my car insurance so high?

There are many reasons why your car insurance might be so expensive or why you have noticed an increase in your premiums since your last policy. Some include:

In recent years, the cost of car insurance has risen due to an increase in Insurance Premium Tax (2017), a rise in claims (particularly whiplash claims), uninsured drivers and insurance fraud – to name a handful of examples.

Learn more: The average cost of car insurance (UK) – How is it calculated?

How to reduce car insurance - Top 10 tips

If you’re wondering “how do I get my car insurance down?”, try some or all of the following 10 tips when doing a quote comparison online.

1. Shop around and compare quotes

The cheapest way to get a good deal on your car insurance premium is to shop around.

Price comparison websites are often the quickest way to find a good deal on cover, and if you need to get the best price, make sure you use a few comparison sites to make sure you’re really getting the best deal on the market.

It’s also worth getting quotes from insurers who are not on comparison sites, such as Direct Line and Aviva, as they may be offering better deals. Contact them directly via their website or phone number.

Importantly, it is not always cheaper to stick with your current provider year after year as they tend to charge loyal customers more than new customers (known as a type of loyalty tax), so always check for the best deal when your policy is coming to an end and is going to auto-renew - the best time to do this is around 21 days before the end date.

It might also be worth calling your insurer directly to see if they can offer you a better deal on renewal – they won’t want to lose you as a customer so they may be able to match your renewal with a cheaper quote you have found online, or they may even beat it!

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TIP: Remember, a cheaper car insurance premium may turn out more expensive in the long run if you aren’t fully covered. Make sure you are fully insured for your driving needs with the policy on offer before you commit to it.

2. Consider a telematics policy (black box insurance)

Especially popular with younger drivers, telematics – or ‘black box’ – insurance policies allow insurers access to information regarding how you drive, such as the speed at which you drive on different roads, whether you brake or accelerate sharply and your total mileage to assess the price you will pay at renewal. Essentially, the better you drive, the cheaper your insurance will be.

Many telematics policies also provide you with money back on a quarterly basis depending on the data that they receive, while some offer other incentives such as bonus miles.

If you’re worried about having a curfew placed on your policy, you’ll be glad to know that most insurers offering black box policies do not set one (Admiral’s LittleBox policy, for example), so you don’t need to worry about being penalised for driving during the night.

You can find out more about black box insurance by reading our guide on the pros and cons of telematics cover.

TIP: If you want to save money with a telematics car insurance policy then make sure you tailor it to your needs. For example, if you do not need to drive at night, make sure you specify this with your insurer as it can help to reduce your insurance premium further.

3. Alter your voluntary excess

Typically, the higher your voluntary excess, the lower your car insurance premiums will be. If you think you’re unlikely to have an accident and make a claim on your policy, then increasing your voluntary excess could save you money on your renewal.

However, it is important to remember that while this can save money in the short-term, you don’t know for certain that you won’t be involved in a car accident, so if you do, you will have to pay both the compulsory excess amount as well as the voluntary excess you set when taking out the policy. This is why it’s important to set it at an amount you’ll be able to afford.

TIP: You can get excess insurance on top of your standard car insurance policy to cover you in the event that you can’t afford to pay it after making a claim.

4. Annual payments are always cheaper

Monthly payments may look like an attractive and more affordable option when taking out car insurance, but the added interest you will need to pay means that you will always end up paying more in the long-run.

Remember, if you have a bad credit score, insurance companies may not allow you to pay monthly as there is the risk that you may not make the repayments on time or at all – either that, or the interest may be higher than usual to account for the risk. Additionally, if you miss a monthly payment, this will have a negative impact on your credit score.

TIP: If you have the means to pay for your car insurance on an annual basis then it should be an absolute no-brainer to do so. However, it might also be worth looking into applying for a credit card with a 0% interest period – just be sure that you can pay the money off before the interest-free period ends!

You might like: Does your credit score affect car insurance applications in the UK?

5. Have more than one vehicle? Get a multi-car policy

Is multi car insurance cheaper? Yes, if you have more than one car at home, you’ll get cheaper premiums by having a multi-car insurance policy instead of separate policies for each individual vehicle.

Depending on the insurance company, you are usually allowed to add up to six or seven cars onto one policy. It can make life so much easier as you only have one renewal date, rather than say 4 if you have 4 cars, so it helps you be more organised when it comes to securing cover.

TIP: Not all insurers offer this type of cover, so you’ll need to do some research. Admiral offer multi-car policies as well as multi-cover policies, if you want to put your home insurance into the same policy too – it’s much easier as you only have the one renewal date!

6. Look out for policy add-ons

Before committing to your chosen car insurance policy and premium that you may have found on a comparison site, make sure that you require everything that is included.

Most car insurance providers will offer you the option of having:

  • Courtesy car cover
  • Windscreen cover
  • Breakdown cover
  • Personal accident cover
  • Car key cover

Take the time to read up on what you are being offered and consider whether they are essential for your needs. Removing some of these additional extras can be a great way to reduce your car insurance premium, but only if you don’t deem them necessary.

TIPBreakdown cover is often cheaper when purchased separately to your car insurance, so shop around for the best deal!

7. Add the latest security devices to your car

Informing your insurer that you have gone the extra mile to secure your vehicle with car security devices can bring your premiums down by up to 5%, even more depending on the insurer.

Cars are rated on their levels of security by letters which range between E, A, P, D and U. ‘E’ stands for exceeds – and will often result in a cheaper car insurance premium – while ‘U’ indicates that the car’s security is unacceptable, making it expensive to insure.

Consider whether the added investment will save you money in the long-run or check your vehicle to see what it has included. Many new cars come fitted with devices such as alarms, immobilisers and tracking devices so make sure that you’re insurance provider is aware of any if you have them.

TIP: While not technically a security measure, some insurance providers will lower your car insurance premium if they know you have a dash cam on-board. Not only can this help to provide them with evidence if you have an accident that wasn’t your fault, but it can also deter potential vandals and thieves.

8. Consider adding a more experienced driver to your policy

Particularly as a young driver, adding a more experienced named driver (such as a parent) to your policy can often save you money on your car insurance premium.

However, adding more drivers to your policy than necessary will almost always lead to an increased cost – especially if your additional drivers are under the age of 25, have relatively little driving experience or previous convictions.

TIP: Remember, the main driver must drive the car more than the named driver. While adding a parent as a named driver will reduce your premiums, if they drive it more than you (the named driver), this is a crime known as fronting and you’d be breaking the law!

9. Park your car in the safest place possible

Your insurance provider will always ask where you park your car both throughout the day and overnight.

If you can ensure them that your car will be parked in a secure location throughout the day and in a locked garage overnight, the risk of your car being stolen or vandalised is significantly lower and therefore helps to save money when renewing your insurance premiums.

TIP: Some car insurers will check the parked location of your car using geospatial technology - like Google Earth - and can refuse to deal with claims where your vehicle has been maliciously damaged or stolen if they find that you haven’t been entirely truthful - be careful not to twist the truth or lie as this will invalidate your policy and you’ll have to cover any costs yourself.

10. Choose your car carefully

No matter how long you have been driving, the make and model of your car will always be a determining factor when it comes to pricing up the cost of your car insurance premiums, so if you want the cheapest premiums, you’ll be better off looking at low insurance cars if you’re thinking of getting a new vehicle.

Each car belongs to a different insurance category, which is numbered between 1 and 50, with the cheapest insurable cars grouped within 1 and 5. Vehicles with larger, more powerful engines will usually result in a higher car insurance premium given that the relevant statistics suggest that they are at greater risk of being involved in an accident.

TIP: Think carefully about the type of roads you drive on too, as cars with more powerful engines not only tend to be less efficient when driving around town, but they will also force your insurance premium upwards.

When would the cost of your insurance be reduced?

The cost of car insurance goes down in line with your experience, so the more years you have been driving without making a claim on your policy, the cheaper your premiums will be (as you will have a no claims bonus).

The newer you are to driving, the risker you are to insurers because you are at a higher chance of having an accident, but once over 25, you should start to see premiums decrease.

Remember, it is important to be honest when applying for car insurance, so do not try to lie in order to lower the cost – this will only void your policy and cost you if you are ever involved in an accident. The policy can also easily detect uninsured drivers, so do not attempt to drive without cover as you’ll end up with a driving conviction and even more expensive premiums as a result.

One of the cheapest and best ways to get car insurance is to look at quotes online with comparison sites. Get started right now by tapping the button below or read our guides below for further information and advice!