MoneySupermarket.com car insurance money saving tips

Car ownership is expensive. You not only have to buy a car, but you also have to tax and insure your vehicle - not to mention fill the tank with petrol.

Insurance can take a big chunk out of any driving budget, with young drivers paying a lot more than the average because they are statistically more likely to claim. So MoneySupermarket has drawn up a list of money-saving tips to cut down the cost of cover and help you find cheaper car insurance quotes.

Save time and money on your car insurance

Choose your car with care

Insurers divide cars into 50 groups according to various factors including their engine size and the likely cost of repairs. The higher the insurance group, the higher the premium. So if you are buying a new car, it pays to check its rating. You can find out details of car insurance groups at www.thatcham.org.

And don't modify your car with spoilers or fancy wheel trims because many insurers will load the premium. For more information on this visit our modified car insurance page.

Limit your mileage

If you drive your car only on local roads at the weekend, you are statistically less likely to be involved in an accident than someone who commutes along a busy motorway every day.

Talk to your insurer about your driving habits because a low mileage usually leads to a low premium. Our car insurance comparison tool features a useful calculator to help you work out how many miles you drive each year. But make sure the figures are accurate because you could invalidate your policy if you breach the agreed mileage limit.

Pay as you go insurance

Motorists who drive relatively few miles or are willing to avoiding driving during a rush hour could cut the cost of their premiums with pay as you go car insurance.

With pay as you go, the insurer will fit a tracking device or 'black box' to your car to monitor your driving habits so that you pay only for the insurance you need. Pay as you go cover can be particularly useful for young people who often cannot afford standard insurance.

Drive with care

Points on your licence mean pounds on your premium, so obey the rules of the road. If you have committed a serious traffic offence, you could find it difficult to buy cover at all.

Increase your excess

Most policies carry a standard compulsory excess of about £150, which is the amount you must pay towards any claim. If you agree to a bigger voluntary excess, you will normally be rewarded with a lower premium. Just make sure you can afford the higher amount should you have to make a claim.

Don't claim

Drivers who don't make claims can build up a no-claims discount (NCD). The NCD can be valuable, knocking more than 50% off your premium after five consecutive claim-free years. If you have a minor accident, it can therefore work out cheaper to pay for the repairs yourself and safeguard your NCD. You can also pay to protect your NCD - and the cost is often worthwhile.

Check your cover

There are three types of motor insurance policy: Fully Comprehensive, Third Party, Fire & Theft and Third Party. Third Party is the most basic and the legal minimum to drive on a UK road. It covers the policyholder for any injury or damage to another person or their property. Third Party Fire & Theft is a step up and includes loss or damage to your car as a result of fire or theft. Then there's the more common Fully Comprehensive, which offers a broad range of cover including damage to your own vehicle if you are involved in an accident.

It can be cheaper to opt for a more basic level of cover - and it might be a sensible option if you are a young driver with a car that isn't worth very much. But you should always compare all policy types, because the cost of comprehensive cover sometimes stacks up well against the more limited third party fire & theft.

For more detailed information check out our guides to the different types of car insurance policies.

Cut out the frills

Many comprehensive policies offer a range of optional extras such as legal expenses and courtesy cars, but they come at a price. It's a good idea to work out which, if any, additional benefits you need so that you don't pay for unnecessary cover.

Buy online

Many insurers offer a discount to customers who buy their insurance online because the applications are cheaper to process. It's also a good idea to pay for your policy up front if possible. Monthly installments are convenient but they are usually more expensive because of interest charges and admin fees.

Make your car more secure

Motorists who make it tricky for thieves to steal their vehicle often pay less for their car insurance. So fit your car with an approved alarm and immobilizer. If you have a more expensive car, the insurer might insist that you install a sophisticated tracking device.

Watch where you park

More than half of vehicle thefts occur at night, so keep your car in a securely locked garage overnight. If that's not possible, at least try and park the car off the road, perhaps in a drive way.

Enhance your driving skills

The Driving Standards Agency's Pass Plus course is aimed at newly qualified drivers and covers various aspects of motoring, including night and motorway driving. It's not free, but if you complete the course, you could earn a reduction on your premium of up to 35%. If you are considering completing this course, please take advantage of our pass plus insurance page.

The Institute of Advanced Motorists also runs driving courses to boost driving skills and so reduce the statistical likelihood of an accident.

Search online for the best deal

It's tempting to stick with your current insurer when your policy comes up for renewal, but it might not be the best deal. Motorists should always shop around for quotes and they can compare deals from a wide range of insurance companies on MoneySupermarket's price comparison website. It's quick, easy - and it's free.

Save time and money on your car insurance

†82% of shoppers obtained a quote in 5 minutes or less. Source eDigitalResearch December 2012.