16 Tips to Reduce Car Insurance
We all hate that time of year.. when you have to contemplate car insurance quotes and make sure you are not paying more than you should do; which surely we can all agree is always the case! How insurance companies can get away with charging staggering amounts for insurance.. I will never know..
Looking on the brighter side of life, there are a few things you can do that can cut down your car insurance. They will require you to invest a little time in them (you could do this all in a day), but it is always worth it when you can save yourself sometimes hundreds of pounds by knowing these tips.
Below is a list of 16 tips I have personally found useful to know for when getting quotes for my car insurance. I sincerely hope being aware of them will help to bring down your car insurance premiums.
No 1. Shop Around
Please don’t be lazy enough to phone the first car insurance company you spot on the telly and pay whatever they ask for just to ‘get it out of the way’, or even worst; just auto-renew without seeing what deals might be out there. For all you know, even if you think their price is reasonable, they could be the most expensive on the market. Always compare car insurance prices from a range of companies. Remember not all car insurance companies are on price comparison websites, so be sure to ring some of the others up too, as they may be able to beat the best quote you’ve found on comparison websites.
My recommendation would be to see what quotes you get from price comparison websites and then use the best priced one as a baseline to judge if the other insurance companies quotes are good value for money. Please invest your time in shopping around. I know it is time-consuming but it is the single most effective thing you can do to get your car insurance down. This can all be blasted out on one ‘get it out of the way’ day.
Here are some links to some price comparison websites you may find useful:
- Comparethemarket.com – The Meerkat one, if you buy through them you can choose between a cuddly meerkat toy or 2 for 1 cinema tickets all year on Tues/Weds only.
- Quotezone.co.uk – This is not advertised as much, but when I retrieved a quote from them using the exact same information supplied to get my comparethemarket quote, it was £5 less. So it may be worth trying if you are not interested in cuddly toys or cinema deals.
- GoCompare – The one with the Annoying Adverts on TV where a guy with a mustache sings.. yes.. that one!
- Confused.com– No not what we say to each other when we are confused.. the price comparison website..
No 2. Don’t assume Third Party is cheapest
This is not always the case. And for me, third party has always cost more on price comparison websites. Some insurers will think that because you only opted for third party you are an irresponsible driver and as a result could increase your insurance. Comprehensive cover gives you more cover, so if it costs less why go for third party? Case closed.
No 3. Add a Responsible Named Driver
By responsible, I mean a driver the insurance companies would consider responsible or low risk, such as a parent or someone over 25 with no history of making a claim. For some people this will make their car insurance premium go down, for others it could make it more. It is worth a try though. Try different named drivers and see who brings your premiums down. For some insurance companies, adding your Uncle Bob may increase your premiums and for others it may reduce it.
It’s a case of trial and error but using price comparison websites should help as you can usually change the named driver details easily. The named driver you add doesn’t have to be someone who will actually drive the car regularly, they may just be someone who may use your car if you are not able to, such as if you are ill or need dropping off somewhere. So if you know anyone who is a ‘responsible driver’ ask them if you can add them as a named driver on your policy.
No 4. Tweek your Job Title
Now I’m not asking you to lie and say you are a beautician when really you are a plumber. I’m talking about looking at all the ways you can describe the work you do and seeing what quote each of them gives, then of course going for the most cost effective option. As an example, if you work in retail in a customer facing role, you could say you are either a ‘shop assistant’or ‘sales assistant’ and maybe some others in the list provided.
Please note that not all jobs are listed so it may be a case of choosing the job title that best fits what you do. Remember in the event of a claim you will be expected to prove everything, including your work so make sure you can back up the job title you give with evidence.
No 5. Pay Annually if you can
This one probably won’t surprise you, but indeed paying monthly can cost you tens to hundreds more. Try to save up to pay in one lump sum instead of having to pay interest on top of the car insurance already high premium.
No 6. Loyalty is Expensive. Never Auto-renew
I have mentioned this in the first point about shopping around. Don’t assume that because your last insurance quote was cheapest with your current insurer they will continue to be.. because more often than not they will be more expensive than many other insurance companies. You could however always compare other quotes and they see if your current insurer is willing to beat your quotes. Don’t take the easy and costly life.. be loyal to no one except yourself and save yourself some money!
No 7. Don’t kit out your car
It’s as simple as that. If your car is kitted out in anyway, with alloys, low profiles, spoilers.. you know the kind of thing, you could pay much higher premiums. Insurance companies are like kill joys to those of you who invest in the aesthetic appeal of your cars or those who tend to buy already kitted out cars. Owning a cool ride comes at a price and it is something to bare in mind when trying to keep your insurance low.
No 8. Don’t feel compelled to Add Add-Ons
Just because they list add ons doesn’t mean you either need them or are obligated to buy them. Add ons are a great way for insurance companies to get even more cash out of you, so if you only came for car insurance, only buy car insurance.
No 9. Get the Excess right
Most of the time adding a voluntary excess will reduce your premium, but it is worth getting quotes for different excess amounts to hit the sweet spot, where if you opt for a higher excess your premium will go up and if you opt for lower excess your premium will also go up; but at the same time making sure you will be able to pay the total excess in the event of a claim (your excess will be made up of a compulsory excess and a voluntary excess).
Note too that you don’t have to add a voluntary excess amount, especially if your insurer has a high compulsory excess and when adding a voluntary excess doesn’t reduce your insurance by much. In my case, I haven’t added any compulsory excess because the voluntary excess was already high (a few hundred) and adding voluntary excess didn’t bring my premium down by much (only a few quid per £50 of excess), so it didn’t make much sense to add any excess in my case this year.
No 10. It’s Okay to Switch Mid-Year
If other car insurance prices are more competitive at any time, so long as it works out to be cost effective, you can swap to another provider. Here are some points you should consider:
- You can usually cancel existing policies and get a refund for the rest of the year, providing you haven’t claimed.
- There will normally be a cancellation fee of around £50 so your savings from switching should outweigh any fees applicable to make it worth it – the longer you’ve got to go on your policy the more likely you’ll be better off switching to save.
- You won’t earn the current year’s no-claims bonus if you switch so you’ll need to be making a substantial saving in order to benefit.
If you think you will benefit from swapping insurance companies mid-year, go and investigate to your heart’s content and see if you will save more in the long run.
No 11. Get your Mileage Just Right
You have to see this from the insurers point of view. If you don’t do many miles a year, you are on the road less so are less likely to have an accident. However on the other hand if you do not drive regularly you may also get out of practice and be more likely to have an accident. If you underestimate the amount of miles you actually do, you could be charged extra by the insurer. However if you overestimate your mileage, it seems that this is okay because you have made allowances to drive more miles. It will depend on the individuals mileage but generally the more mileage you put down the better, up to a certain point as you are considered to be less likely to crash due to being an experienced driver; driving a lot.
On the other hand, if you overestimate your mileage massively you could end up paying a higher premium than you need to. It’s all about hitting that sweet spot and sometimes more mileage will bring your insurance down. Play around with the numbers and see what is a best fit for you. Remember not to forget all those holiday trips to the seaside and visits to friends and family.. the miles all add up. It can be helpful to base this years mileage on last years and you can use servicing reports and MOT certificates if you have them to hand. You could also work out mileage using a mileage calculator. Simply typing in ‘annual mileage calculator’ on Google will bring up a few for you to try out. Always round slightly up from what you calculated as you are bound to have missed something out or have unexpected journeys, such as a wedding here and there you didn’t plan for. After all, you don’t want the insurance you just paid for to become void, just because you underestimated your annual mileage.
No 12. Think about the value of your car
We all like to think our cars are worth more than an arm and a leg, but in reality cars depreciate from the moment we purchase them. It helps to know the actual worth of your car. Overestimating the value will result in you having to pay higher premiums as this figure is (generally) what the insurance company will pay out in the result of a claim (e.g. if your car gets written off). Statistically more expensive car owners are more likely to make a claim, which is why for these owners, their premiums will be higher since they are seen as likely to want to claim on their insurance if anything happens. At the same time, sometimes devaluing your car to a ridiculously low amount can also make your premium more expensive than valuing it at a bit more, because they could think you will not take care driving your vehicle as they may think you see it as not worth much and it wouldn’t be the end of the world if it got a few scratches here and there.. a mindset that could lead to more careless driving. Remember you have to see things from the insurers point of view.
No 13. Consider Telematics
Sometimes (not always) for young drivers in particular; having a ‘black box’ fitted to your car can lower your premiums. Insurers can increase premiums if they find your driving is not up to par with what they expect from you though, so bare that in mind too. In contrast, they can reduce premiums for people who drive well in accordance with what the insurers think. The things they pay particular attention to are: how early you break, if you rev your engine a lot unnecessarily, driving at night and if you keep in line with the speed limits of the roads you drive on. It would always be worth checking for both telematics and non-telematics insurance quotes, to see what is better for you.
For me personally, I had telematics for my first two years of car insurance and now have non-telematic insurance because it happens to cost less. I liked telematics at the start of my driving years as it was a powerful indicator in letting me know how well I was driving, in terms of the law (speed), the environment (how much I revved) and safety (breaking early as apposed to breaking late). Fortunately for me my driving was rated very good on the online portal I had access to and in the end this safe driving helped to bring my second years insurance down by a just under £200. For a new driver this was a massive bonus and I would dance a little inside when I heard by peers insurance was much much higher when they had been driving for the same amount of time. Now I have gotten used to non-telematics, I wouldn’t like the idea of an insurer checking on my driving and it would make me feel less free and could make me overthink how I drive and thus cause me to make silly mistakes.
No 14. Look for Quotes a Month before your Insurance Expires
This is a really important one. When you do this insurance companies will see you as an organised and careful individual and are likely to see you as a responsible driver who plans well in advance and sticks to the speed limits (instead of being disorganised, rushing around, speeding or going through red lights because you don’t want to be late). My recommendation to you would be to write in your diary or planner a month before your insurance runs out: ‘Note to self: Get car Insurance Quotes’, to remind you to check. This is what I did and it helped me save more than £500 via a comparison website for the car insurance with the same company than to simply auto renew with them the day my insurance runs out. Therefore, if you are going to take any of these tips on board, please start off in the right way and get some quotes at least a month before your current car insurance is set to end. Jobs a good’n’.
No 15. You Live Where?
When it comes to the post code you provide, insurers will look at the number of accidents and risk factors directly related to where you live. If you are one of the lucky ones who happens to spend half of the time living with parents or a partner and half the time living at your own place, you could use this to your advantage and put down the address that comes up with the lower premium. It could make a lot of difference in your premium so it is worth looking into if you are in this situation.
No 16. Honesty is the Best Policy
Unless you want your car insurance to be made invalid during a claim due to false information, be honest and don’t lie. Your car insurance company will do their best to prove that your car insurance is invalid when you make a claim so don’t give them a reason to invalidate it. That’s all there is to that one.
Well, there you go. Hopefully you will find this useful when you next renew your policy. The main thing I would advise, is to think about what you would think if you were the insurer. It is all about risk to them, so try to give the insurer the impression that you are not a risky driver (I would like to think we are all trying to be safe on the road) and do your best to be the driver you say you are (a safe one).
Comment your thoughts below. I would love to see whether reading this post has had an effect on lowering your car insurance. Don’t be shy to share. I am trying to promote a friendly community who are willing to share their tips and tricks to make life easier, especially for those of you on a budget who are arguably in bigger need of helpful tips.
Here are some of my other posts which you may find intriguing:
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- My 5 Top Tips on How to be a Savvy Shopper
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- Organic Shopping – the Items I have Actually Bought and Love
- The 5 Grocery Items I Buy From ICELAND, Copy my Savings
‘My aim is to help the world in any way I can. Awareness is the first step to positive change. That’s what I am trying to achieve with my blogs’ ~ Robyn Elms, I n x i t e Blogger (Insta: @robynelms, Twitter: @iamrobynelms)
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