Is yours one of the most expensive car insurance postcodes?
When it comes to car insurance, motorists in Scotland are having the last laugh as they pay the lowest premiums, according to new research from moneysupermarket.com.
Analysis carried out on one million car insurance quotes over the last 12 months has revealed that out of the top ten areas, seven of the cheapest postcodes are in Scotland. The hardest hit areas are postcodes in Birmingham and Manchester which feature six times in the top 10 most expensive areas - with motorists in Manchester standing to pay £500 a year more on average than those living in Scotland.
However, while Scotland may generally be the cheapest part of the country for car insurance, Truro in Cornwall actually bags the top spot among individual postcode areas. Penzance in Cornwall is also in the top 10 as is Bury St Edmonds in Suffolk.
Here’s the list of the top 10 areas and bottom 10 areas for car insurance:
The 10 cheapest areas in UK for car insurance
Average lowest quote
Postcode Postal area
Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk
Dundee, Scotland Quotes based on a total sample size of 988,742, taken between September 2008 and August 2009.
Top 10 most expensive areas in UK for car insurance
Average lowest quote
Postcode Postal area
Ardwick / Longsight / Chortlon-on-Medlock, Manchester
Small Heath, Birmingham
Crumpsall / Cheetham Hill, Manchester
Edge Hill / Fairfield / Kensington, Liverpool
Girlington / Manningham / Lower Grange, Bradford
Sparkhill / Tyseley, Birmingham
Balsall Heath, Birmingham
Washwood Heath / Ward End / Saltley, Birmingham
Manor Park, London
Falls, Belfast, Northern Ireland Quotes based on a total sample size of 988,742, taken between September 2008 and August 2009.
Steve Sweeney, moneysupermarket.com’s head of motor insurance, said: “It is great to see motorists living in areas in Scotland, Cornwall and Suffolk getting such competitive deals on their premiums. At a time when most motorists are looking to save pounds, car insurance is yet another added, but necessary, expense – so the more cost effective the car insurance the better”.
So why does the area you live drive the cost of your insurance through the roof?
Unsurprisingly, it’s all to do with risk factors and claims histories. According to Steve, urban hotspots like Birmingham and Manchester are densely populated, therefore their crime rates will naturally be higher than a rural area of Scotland. Most insurers will factor in the area you live and rate the premium you pay on risk, therefore if you live in a high risk area you will have to pay the price. Steve says that if premium costs were evaluated on a case by case basis then many motorists would receive quotes at a better price to match their individual circumstances.
How to cut the costs
Whether you live in a low or high risk area there are always steps you can take to drive down the cost of your car insurance. Here are our top tips on how to ensure you get the most competitive deal possible:
Shopping around is the easiest and quickest way to save money. Many people assume loyalty pays but when it comes to insurance that is almost certainly not the case. Insurers know that many customers won’t bother to move their cover elsewhere when their policy is up for renewal, so they reserve their best prices for new customers. You should therefore shop around every year to compare prices from as many providers as possible to ensure you find the best deal. Moneysupermarket.com’s car insurance tool makes this job easy as we compare prices from more than 100 insurers, cutting out all the leg work for you.
Look at ways to reduce your mileage.When you carry out a quote you will be required to enter the estimated miles you drive per year: the more you drive the higher your premium is likely to be. So car sharing with a work colleague or taking another form of transport to work a couple of times a week will cut your mileage and bring down the cost of your insurance.
Where you park your car overnight. This is a major factor when it comes to assessing the likelihood of you having to make a claim. If you can keep your car off the road overnight in a garage or on a driveway you are reducing the chances of it being vandalised, stolen or damaged by another vehicle. As a result, your premium will be lower.
It’s not just where you live and where you park your car that affects the amount you pay. The car you drive is the main starting point for how the insurer will calculate your premium. For example, driving a sporty little number may look and feel good, but the bigger and faster the engine, the more you will fork out. Changing to a smaller engine may not do much for your street cred but it will do wonders for your wallet.
Increasing the excess you pay can cut your premiums considerably. Agreeing to pay a higher excess than you do currently is a good idea. However, you must remember in the event of a claim, you will have to stump up the excess amount - so make sure you amend this to an amount you can afford.
Add an older driver. Adding an older, more experienced driver to your policy could again reduce the cost of your premium, particularly if you are young and have only been driving for a year or two. However, this person should only be added as a named driver – don’t be tempted to insure the car in their name if you are the main driver. This is known as fronting. It’s illegal and could invalidate your insurance.
Please note: Any rates or deals mentioned in this article were available at the time of writing.