As you may have already heard, car insurance policies are on the rise (in the region of 8% on average over the past year according to reliable figures from the Association of British Insurers).
Whilst the reasons behind this might be multiple – the introduction of the IPT rise last November, tumbling oil prices = more miles driven = increased odds of crashing, rise in low-value personal injury claims (ensuring that the UK is now referred to as the whiplash capital of the world no less) – the singular result is that all of us are facing largely unavoidable hikes in premiums over the course of 2016. Happy new year and all that.
However, before we throw in the towel, let us first tell you about ways in which you can help to bring down these frustrating premium increases without so much as breaking a sweat.
Although we’re not promising on affording you sweeping reductions if you seek to employ our examples of simple ways in which you can minimise car insurance policy premiums, if adhered to in some form or function you will significantly help your cause going forward.
And as a famous supermarket duly informs us, ‘every little helps’ (other supermarkets are available).
How to save money on car insurance
Read, read and read again
We’re talking about your motor insurance policy wording, and specifically the small print and all-important (yet nearly always presented in a diminutive typeface and unreadable font) T’s & C’s.
It’s absolutely imperative to know exactly what you’re paying for and the only way of determining this is to scrutinise the wording used.
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By paying attention to this you may well be in a better position to rule out features included in the deal on the table which are surplus to your requirements here and now, and ergo reduce that premium quote.
Don’t max out those miles
We all love driving our cars. Well, most of us do. However, it’s worth denying ourselves a few of those extra-curricular (and not really important) joy rides if you’re looking to minimise your car insurance premiums.
Work out how many miles your daily commute is, add on regular trips to the shops, gym, friend’s house, school etc… (at least in terms of an average) and then inform your insurance provider as to the approximate total. By keeping your projected mileage within certain pre-defined figures (i.e under 8,000 per annum) can have seriously impressive effects with regards to premiums. So calculate just how many miles you’re likely to drive in the year and conversely don’t over insure yourself.
Two heads are better than one
By adding a second driver (providing they’re considered low risk by your insurer) to your car policy, preferably an experienced one with no previous claims or driving convictions, can reduce your premium quote by one of those odd insurance quirks. Beware of recruiting a young or newly qualified driver though, as this will only ever have the reverse effect.
Pay in one hit
It may seem more convenient and cost-effective to pay monthly when it comes to your car insurance, however this actually turns out to be false economy as you’re charged significantly more interest if you choose to pay by 12 monthly (or as is more typically the case, 10 monthly) instalments. Of course this may not always be financially plausible, but if you can stretch your budget to accommodate this, our advice would be to go for it.
Ride on time with a black box
We’ve all heard of the benefits of telematics-based car insurance by now (those little black box devices which monitor the driver’s behaviour, reactions and all-round driving patterns whilst behind the wheel to establish how likely they are to be involved in potential accidents). Well, by going out of your way to prove to your insurer that you’re a safe driving proposition could end up paying you dividends by reducing the premium you’re quoted. Which is definitely worth a try in our opinion.
Be a clock watcher!
Although don’t take your eyes off the road for too long to ascertain what speed you’re travelling at. If in any doubt, take things easy at the wheel. Yes, it may seem like an obvious tip, but if you do need a timely reminder, remember that speeding = points on your license. And if there’s one thing that’s a dead cert to increase your policy premium then its accruing any penalty points.
They’re everywhere these days. No, not reality TV stars but car insurance policy comparison sites. Indeed, more and more insurers themselves are jumping aboard the aggregator bandwagon, which essentially means choice will be even greater than ever before, as together with the equally omnipresent motor insurance best buy tables there are now a myriad of ways to track down the best premium deal for you. Get a quote from Confused.com here
Play the name game
You’d be surprised what substantial differences your job title has from car insurer’s perspectives, and how the risk factor calculated can vary quite dramatically. Take for example describing your employment remit as being akin to that of a nurse.
A subsequent quote could easily turn out more expensive than if you instead described your role as a ‘community nurse’ or, alternatively ‘staff nurse’. Of course, ensure that whichever you plump for accurately describes the job you do, otherwise you could find yourself uninsured if you do submit a claim at a later date.
The word on the street isn’t good
Not if you’re planning on leaving your newly insured vehicle parked on it overnight. Historically it’s always made more premium sense to park your car on a driveway (or better still, in a secure garage) from an insurer’s viewpoint; providing that is you have access to either. There’s less opportunity for damage to be caused to your car if it’s out of harm’s way as such.
Avoid breakdown cover
And breakdowns as well, but there tend to be more difficult to side-swerve in real time. We naturally refer to the breakdown cover as offered by your motor insurance policy provider, as rarely is it competitively priced and the bottom line is that you may already have a similar feature in place – yet unbeknownst – as part of a current account with your bank, as is often the case today. If you haven’t, secure a cheaper breakdown cover deal by purchasing it separately.
Sit another driving test
Although this may sound scary (and largely uncalled for) at first glance, you’ll be pleased to learn that there’s applied method in our perceived madness. And that’s because we’re discussing the premium-reducing merits of taking an advanced driving test.
By passing an ADI-obliging course then you’re proving to insurers that you’ve got an even better understanding of the road, which means in theory (and hopeful practice) you’re less likely to be involved in an accident/make a subsequent claim on your policy. Which often means ‘hello discount!’……
Volunteer for voluntary excess
Despite you effectively receiving less money should you put in a claim after being involved in a road traffic accident which wasn’t your fault, opting for a decent sized excess at the point of sale does make a monetary difference to the premium you’re quoted from the outset. It’s a gamble of sorts, sure, but if it’s the difference between affordable car insurance premiums or not it may be one worth taking.
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Tell your insurer how it is
By informing your existing car insurance provider that you’ve been quoted a cheaper premium price by a competitor, they may be inclined to at least match (if not better) this figure to retain your custom. You could also try the whole ‘loyalty’ line as well if you’ve been with them a number of years.
Erect a ring of steel around your no claims bonus
Do whatever it takes to safeguard this and only ever make a claim if you really need to, as the greater your no-claims discount is the more likely you are to secure a more affordable car insurance quote.
Raise an alarm before and not after an event
In other words, have a decent, insurance industry-approved vehicle alarm system and immobiliser fitted to your car before looking at quotes, with Thatcham-acknowledged anti-theft devices the best of the bunch. This added security will go a long way to insurers looking more favourably on your policy application in terms of premiums quoted.
More car insurers are now offering cashback deals for switching to them from your existing provider; which is a nice incentive and effectively brings down the cost of your insurance; especially when coupled with acknowledged low prices used to encourage potential policyholders to make the move.
But remember, a year down the line you premium will probably return to previous values and beyond.
Don’t be too flashy
Driving more popular cars (think along the lines of the Ford Focus, Vauxhall Astra and VW Golf) will effectively reduce your motor insurance premiums, based on the underlying fact that they’re more straight forward to repair, and thanks to plentiful parts being widely available results in lower costs all round.
Overlook a courtesy car
The majority of the time when you’re thrashing out a car insurance policy with a provider they’ll throw in a courtesy car option should your insured vehicle be off the road for a period of time in the aftermath of an accident.
Although sounding like a perfectly good idea at the time, the question is could you survive without one in the interim? Factoring in a courtesy car nearly always bumps up the premium, whilst policies without can lower the quote.