Why your job affects car insurance costs

Published:
31 October 2012
Topic:
News,Insurance,Car

If you play sport, work in a theme park or deal in scrap metal for a living, you are probably used to paying top whack for your car insurance.

Don't bother complaining about the cost of car cover to nurses, proprietors of guesthouses or magistrates, though.

They pay the lowest average premiums because insurers view them as less likely to make an expensive claim.

Kevin Pratt, insurance expert at MoneySupermarket, says: "Insurers have built up a bank of knowledge of how those who have a particular profession behave behind the wheel, so to them, your profession can therefore speak volumes about you as a driver.

"Our research clearly shows that the racier your job, the more expensive your premium will be."

Here, we take a closer look at the impact your profession can have on your motor premiums - and suggest ways you can keep your car insurance premiums down, whatever you do for a living.

How will my occupation affect my car insurance costs and why?

What you do for a living can have a big impact on the cost of your car insurance. The MoneySupermarket figures show that drivers who describe themselves as nurses on their insurance applications pay an average of just £255 a year. 

At the other end of the scale, racing drivers' reputation as speed fiends means they pay more than anyone else for standard car cover - typically £1,591 a year. That's more than six times the amount paid by the average nurse.

In this case, however, the reasons for the huge differences are fairly obvious: "Generally speaking, nurses tend to be female, so this is reflected in the premiums they pay," says Kevin Pratt.  "Racing drivers, on the other hand, are generally young men who drive fast for a living and are likely to drive expensive cars."

Footballers and other professional sportsmen are second only to racing drivers when it comes to paying high motor insurance premiums.

Part of the reason is that high earners whose 'work' involves physical activities or who appear in the media are at greater risk of suffering a career-threatening injury in an accident - along with their passengers, who could well be colleagues. This could trigger a higher pay-out on their policy if they were judged 'at-fault' in an accident.

Exotic dancers and DJs, on the other hand, pay the price for working unsociable hours and being more likely to go out partying than a guesthouse owner, for example.

"Most of the professions topping the most expensive premiums list have a reputation of living hard and fast," says Kevin Pratt.

"Insurers also know that people in these professions will be on the roads when other drivers are tired or have been drinking, and will often have to leave their cars parked in high-risk places after dark."

I don't work. How will that affect my premium?

For anyone with a bit of common sense, the fact that older retired Britons typically pay just £253 for their annual cover, while students with little driving experience pay more than £1,000 a year on average, is unlikely to come as a shock.

Kevin Pratt explains: "Students and apprentices are hit by high premiums as they are likely to be young, inexperienced drivers.

"Retired drivers on the other hand are considered less risky because they have years of experience and no claims bonuses, and are likely to drive fewer miles each year."

Being out of work could also cost you dear, though.

Motorists registering themselves as unemployed are charged an average of £773 a year for car insurance, our figures at MoneySupermarket show.

This is because insurers see people without a steady job as high risk.

How can I keep my car insurance costs down?

Some people try to reduce the impact their job title has on their car insurance premiums by trying out all the possible descriptions of their occupation and opting for the cheapest quote.

However, you run the risk of any future claims being rejected if the job title you give does not accurately describe what you actually do for a living.

Our expert, Kevin Pratt, recommends people looking for cover concentrate on picking the most accurate description on the list, rather than the one that might provide the cheapest quote.

But fortunately, there are lots of ways to keep your costs down without risking invalidating your policy...

  • Install an approved alarm and immobiliser, such as a Thatcham 1 or Thatcham 2 in your car.
  • Try switching to telematics so that you can prove how safely you drive. You can read more about how this works in Les Roberts' article.
  • Minimise chances of theft or vandalism by keeping your car in a locked garage overnight. Adding a partner or parent to your policy as a named driver could present you as a lower risk and reduce premiums. 
  • Choose a less powerful make and model of car - especially if you are a young or inexperienced driver.
  • Finally, don't forget to shop around for the best possible deal. There are some huge savings to be made, for everyone from nurses to sports stars.

Kevin Pratt adds: "Currently, the typical saving made by those using MoneySupermarket to take out their car insurance is £411, which has got to be worthwhile whatever you do for a living."

Please note: Any rates or deals mentioned in this article were available at the time of writing.

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Jessica Bown

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Financial journalist

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