The latest findings from the AA British Insurance Premium Index, which has been tracking the quarterly movement of insurance premiums since 1994, show that the average cost of a comprehensive car insurance policy is now an eye-watering £892, up from £536 this time last year.

Although the study also forecasts that these price increases will slow down over the coming year, it still highlights the need for motorists to ensure that they get the right cover at the right price.

Finding the right cover

The first thing you need to consider when buying car insurance is which type of policy you require. There are generally three levels of cover; Third Party Only (TPO), Third Party, Fire & Theft (TPFT) and Comprehensive.

TPO and TPFT insurance are the lowest levels of cover available as they do not offer any protection for your own vehicle in the event of an accident.

This means that they will probably not be suitable if you drive a relatively expensive car, as they are normally aimed at those with less valuable vehicles and higher risk drivers.

That said, Third Party insurance policies have been subject to an average increase of 82.1 per cent over the last 12 months and so they may no longer be the cheapest option.

When you have decided upon the level of cover you require you then need to consider other factors such as the type of car that you drive and the policy add-ons you may need.

For instance, some providers offer specialist policies for drivers of classic vehicles that will offer a discount if you have an agreed valuation on the vehicle or agree to cover a limited amount of miles each year.

Similar policies also exist for drivers of modified, imported or sports cars and so it may be worthwhile reading our guide to buying car insurance to see if your car falls into any one of these categories.

Many insurance companies will also offer a range of add-ons, such as legal protection and breakdown cover, and you need to determine which of these extras you will require.

For example, many high street banks now offer breakdown cover as part of their current account package or you may be part of a motoring organisation that provides breakdown assistance and so this is something that you would not need as part of your car insurance policy.

It is important to take note of the optional extras that are included on your policy so you can remove the ones that you do not need.

Finding the right price

Once you have determined the level and type of cover that you require you need to make sure that you get that cover at the right price and there are a number of ways in which you can reduce the price of your premium.

One way you may be able to do this is by altering your voluntary excess - the amount you pay up front in the event of an accident - as the general rule of thumb is that a higher excess leads to a lower priced premium.

It is worth noting though that this is not always the case and once you reach a certain level of voluntary excess the savings can be marginal.

Other ways to reduce the price of your policy include adding extra security to your vehicle and ensuring that it is parked off-road overnight, preferably in a secure garage.

However, the best way to ensure that you find the right cover at the right price is to simply shop around. That doesn’t mean thumbing through directories and spending hours on the phone to countless insurance brokers and insurers - using our price comparison tool will give you quotes from more than 100 insurance companies across the UK in a matter of minutes.