Read our specialist car insurance guides
Insurers like to tick boxes, which means they aren't too keen on drivers or vehicles that are out of the ordinary. So, if you are a learner driver, or you drive a sports or high performance car, a mainstream insurer will either turn down your application flat, or charge an unaffordable premium. It's all about risk - and some drivers are deemed riskier than others.
Here at MoneySupermarket we understand that drivers and their cars have different insurance needs. So we have put together a series of expert guides to help you find the right specialist car insurance.
Learner driver insurance
The problems can start before you have even passed your driving test. Insurers are wary of learner drivers because they lack both qualifications and experience. Insurance can therefore be tricky. If you are learning to drive at a recognised driving school, you shouldn't have to worry about insurance during your lessons.
But what about private practise with your Dad or a friend? Driving authorities recommend at least 20 hours of private practice, in addition to 47 hours of professional tuition. But to practise, you need insurance. Our guide to learner driver insurance tells you all you need to know to make sure you are fully covered before you go out for a practice spin.
Car insurance for new drivers
Newly qualified drivers pose a problem for many insurers because they are high risk. They might make up only about 7% of the driving population, but they are involved in 21% of the injury collisions. And one in five newly qualified drivers has a crash within a year. So it's perhaps not surprising that many mainstream insurers steer clear, or rack up the premiums. However, there are specialist car insurance policies available to newly qualified drivers - and a number of steps they can take to reduce their premiums. You can find out more on our guide to car insurance for new drivers.
Car insurance for young drivers
Young drivers are another high risk group - for the same reason as newly qualified drivers. Car insurance for drivers between the ages of 17 and 22 is typically more than double that paid by the average motorist. This statistic explains why: teenage motorists are ten times more likely to be killed or seriously injured in a road accident than drivers over the age of 35. If you are finding it difficult to buy affordable insurance, or if you are confused by the types of policy available, you can read our guide to car insurance for young drivers. There are also lots of useful tips to help you cut the cost of cover.
Black box insurance
Insurers consider a number of risk factors before they quote a premium, including your age, postcode, the make and model of the vehicle. They also ask about any previous claims, but it's quite a crude measure of your driving skills. A careful driver can end up paying a sky high premium because they are young and live in a statistically dodgy area. Telematics insurance is a little different. Basically, the insurer fits a tracking device to your vehicle - known as a black box - so that it can monitor when, where and how your drive. The premiums can then more accurately reflect your personal risk profile. Black box insurance could reduce premiums for a wide range of motorists, but is particularly useful for young drivers who often have trouble finding a decent policy at an affordable price.
Modified car insurance
Some motorists aren't happy with a standard vehicle. They want to customise a car to make it their own, perhaps adding spoilers or tinted windows. The alterations might seem harmless enough, but insurers don't like cars that deviate from the original manufacturer's specification - and they charge higher premiums. Why? It's all down to the greater risk of costly claims. A car with a souped-up engine is more likely to be involved in an accident than a gentle runabout. Plus, it is more expensive to repair. For more information on this, visit our modified car insurance page.
Classic car insurance
Owners of classic cars might be able to arrange cheaper cover than a motorist who drives an ordinary saloon for two reasons: classic cars are often better maintained than standard vehicles; they are also driven fewer miles. There is no standard definition of a classic car for insurance purposes. Some firms consider a ten-year-old car a classic, while others do not classify a vehicle as classic until it is 20 years old. So it's worth shopping for classic car insurance cover in order to make sure that you get the best possible deal.
Sports car insurance
Sports cars can spook insurers because they are generally capable of greater speeds than standard vehicles - and the bill for parts and repairs can be high. In other words, claims are not only more likely but are more likely to be expensive. Mainstream insurers either refuse cover for sports cars or charge whopping premiums. But a specialist insurer can help - as can our page on sports car insurance.
Performance car insurance
High performance cars have powerful engines that can accelerate quickly and reach high speeds. Insurance for a high performance car can therefore be expensive. If you need some advice on finding affordable insurance for your high performance car, read our performance car insurance page.
Imported car insurance
Many motorists these days choose to drive imported cars, not only because they are cheaper, but also because they are sometimes built to a higher specification. But insurance for imported cars can be difficult to find, especially at a competitive price. The size of the premium is largely determined by the status of the import. Parallel imports from other EU countries are generally cheaper to insure than so-called grey imports from countries such as Japan and the US that are not built to EU standards. There is more information on our imported car insurance page.
Kit car insurance
Kit cars are built from scratch by the owner - rather like putting up some Ikea shelves, only a bit more complicated. It is essential to take out specialist insurance because a Kit car is not like an ordinary car. For example, you will probably need cover while you assemble the vehicle so that all the component parts are insured. Many kit car owners also want salvage retention cover so that they can salvage any usable parts if the car is involved in an accident. Kit cars are also more tricky to value than standard vehicles. Plus they can increase in value as they get older, so again, specialist kit car insurance cover is important.
It's not unusual these days to find more than one car sitting in a driveway or garage. If you are a multi-car household, you might want to consider a multi-car policy. Many insurers offer discounts of about 15% if you insure more than one vehicle on the same policy. It can cut down on paperwork too. For more information, go to our multi-car insurance page.
European car insurance
Millions of people take their car abroad every year, but how many understand the insurance implications? Some insurers will not cover your car in Europe at all. Others downgrade the policy to the legal minimum requirement. So, comprehensive insurance in the UK might drop to third party cover as soon as you take the car into Europe. You can find out more about the pros and cons of specialist European car insurance on our guide which is dedicated to the product.
Short term car insurance
Most insurance policies run for 12 months, but what if you only want temporary car insurance? You might, for example, want to insure your wife to drive your car on holiday. Or maybe you want to borrow a friend's car while yours is off the road. Short term car insurance is the answer - and we give you the run down on the best deals in our temporary car insurance guide.
Women are statistically safer drivers than men but insurers can no longer take gender into account when setting premiums, following a ruling by the European Court of Justice. As a result, women could end up paying up to 30% more for their car cover as insurers adapt to the new legislation. If you are worried about the effect on the cost of your premiums, read our guide to car insurance for women.
Business car insurance
Do you drive your car for business or pleasure? The answer is important because you might need specialist cover if you use your car for business.
A standard insurance policy covers social, domestic and pleasure use, which means day to day driving such as visiting friends or the shops. Most policies - but not all - also include commuting to and from a regular place of work. If you use your car to visit other sites, you will need business car insurance. Your premiums will almost certainly be higher because the higher mileage which is commonly associated with policies that cover business use make it more likely that accidents will occur and claims will be made. There are also different classes of cover, and it is important to buy an appropriate policy or you could end up out of pocket - or even on the wrong side of the law. You can find out more about this in our business car insurance guide.
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