Overcome the high cost of running a 4x4 car
As any 4x4 owner will testify, running one of these vehicles doesn't come cheap when you're having to fork out for road tax and fuel - especially with petrol and diesel prices going up and up, hitting motorists' pockets hard.
On top of that, 4x4 drivers are likely to face more expensive car insurance premiums than those who drive a conventional family hatchback.
But while there is little you can do about fuel and road tax, you don't have to pay through the nose for 4x4 insurance, as you should be able to cut the amount you pay by carrying out a little research into premiums at MoneySupermarket.
With just a few clicks of a mouse, you will be able to compare quotes for 4x4 insurance from a wide range of car insurance providers to help you find the best deal at a competitive price.
Why is 4x4 insurance so expensive?
When it comes to car insurance, premiums are calculated by taking a range of factors into account. These include the age of the driver and whether they have convictions. Insurers will also look at how often the motorist will be using the vehicle, and where it will be kept overnight.
However, one of the major factors which can have a big impact on the price you pay is the car insurance group into which your vehicle is placed. These groups are managed by the insurance industry and the famous Thatcham auto research centre in Berkshire, with every car allocated to a group.
In total, there are 50 car insurance groups. Cars assigned to Group 1 are the cheapest to insure, those in Group 50 are the most expensive to cover. Cars are assigned to a group based on factors such as repairs, safety features, the cost of spare parts and repairs and the value of the vehicle.
As a result, a 4x4 is likely to fall into a higher “ratings” group for insurance. This is because repair costs and the cost of spare parts can often be higher than for other vehicles. And 4x4s are generally more expensive to buy (and therefore to replace when written-off) than other cars on the road.
Equally, due to the size and build quality of a 4x4, this type of vehicle is likely to cause significant damage to any other car or property involved in an accident. Once again, this is reflected in a higher 4x4 car insurance premiums.
No motor insurance is not an option
While the high cost of 4x4 insurance could make some people contemplate going without cover in a bid to save money, this is simply not an option. In a bid to crackdown on uninsured drivers, a rule known as Continuous Insurance Enforcement (CIE) was introduced in June 2011.
It is now a legal requirement for the registered owner of any vehicle to have it insured at all times. The only exception where you are allowed to keep a vehicle uninsured if it is declared SORN (Statutory Off Road Notification).
Under the new rules, if you fail to put valid motor insurance in place for your 4x4, or for any other vehicle, you will face a penalty. If you are caught without cover, you will receive a letter and a warning that you will be fined unless you take action. Motorists can then face a fixed penalty notice and court prosecution. You could also have your vehicle wheel-clamped, impounded or even destroyed.
Finding the right 4x4 car insurance policy
When seeking out 4x4 insurance cover, the key is to find the right policy for your particular needs. As a driver, you need to remember that there are three levels of car insurance to choose from:
Third party- third party insurance is the minimum level of cover required by law. However, this level of cover may not be suitable as a 4x4 motorist, as it only covers you if you injure someone else, or damage their property. It does not cover the cost of repairs to your own vehicle.
Third party fire and theft - third party fire and theft car insurance offers the same level of cover as third party, but also provides protection against loss and damage if your vehicle is burnt or stolen. Equally, while you may have considered trying to save money by limiting your cover to third party, fire and theft, you need to research costs carefully, as in recent years, this type of cover has got more expensive - and could actually end up costing more than the average comprehensive premium.
Fully comprehensive - fully comprehensive car insurance offers the greatest level of cover and includes damage to your own vehicle as well as any damage suffered by others from a range of causes, including accidents and fire and theft.
Some comprehensive policies also include further benefits such as breakdown cover, a courtesy car and legal expenses protection.
Generally speaking, as a 4x4 driver, you are unlikely to want to have to foot the bill for expensive repairs to your vehicle, so the comprehensive 4x4 car insurance option is likely to be the most suitable cover for you.
Get cheap 4x4 insurance cover
While you may be worried about having to pay a hefty price for 4x4 insurance, the good news is that it is possible to find cover at an affordable price.
One of the simplest ways to bring costs down is by shopping around using a price comparison site such as MoneySupermarket where you can compare 4x4 insurance quotes from a range of insurers. It's also worth noting that there are often discounts up for grabs if you buy online.
That said, when searching for 4x4 insurance, it's important to remember that opting for the cheapest deal is unlikely to prove the best value for money. For example, a cheap policy may not cover you for going off-roading, so you need to think about whether you'll need this type of over before handing over your money.
Other tips to help you keep a lid on costs
As well as comparing 4x4 car insurance quotes and buying online, there are a number of other simple steps you can take to reduce the cost of over.
Improve vehicle security
An easy way to get lower premiums is by improving the security features of your 4x4. This might involve adding an alarm or an immobiliser.
Park in a safe place
There are also savings to be made on your premium by parking your 4x4 in a garage or driveway, as most insurers will give you a discount for keeping the vehicle somewhere safe.
Reduce your mileage
The less time you spend on the road and the fewer miles you drive, the lower the risk of you having an accident - so make sure you tell your insurer about your mileage to ensure you're not paying for extra miles you're not covering (and vice versa - don't opt for lower annual mileage on your policy than you expect to cover).
Low mileage should translate into a cheap 4x4 insurance premium. Simple ways to reduce your mileage include only using the car when absolutely necessary and signing up to car-share or lift-share scheme with friends or colleagues.
While it may seem more affordable to spread the cost of your 4x4 insurance over monthly instalments, this can work out more expensive overall, as most insurers will treat it as a loan and charge you interest. If you can, try and pay your full premium upfront instead.
Never automatically renew
As tempting as it may be to simply sign up with the same insurer at renewal time, you should never do this, as you should be able to find a far more competitive deal by shopping around.
Don't pay for extras you don't need
If you're opted for a comprehensive insurance policy, you may be offered a range of optional extras such as legal cover and a courtesy car which can soon push up the cost of your premium. Before signing up, ask yourself whether you really need all these features, and remove any that you don't think you'll need.
That said, you must not remove any features that you genuinely do need, such as cover for taking the 4x4 off-road. As mentioned above, this isn't included as standard in all policies, so decide if you really need this type of insurance.
If you do, make sure this element of protection is included. If it's not, you risk rendering your policy invalid by transgressing the limits of your cover.
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