Choose the right level of cover
There are many different types of car insurance, but all insurance policies fall into one of three groups. They are:
Third-party insurance means you’re covered for injuries to someone else, and damage to their car or property, if you’re involved in an accident.
Third-party, fire, and theft insurance also covers your own car in case it’s stolen or damaged by fire, and you’ll also get a payout if your car is damaged in an attempted theft.
Comprehensive insurance covers all of the above, plus any injuries or damage to your own car you sustain as a result of any accident – even if it was your own fault. It’s the most comprehensive cover, and usually also the cheapest. This is because insurers often think that drivers who choose third-party cover are more likely to pose a greater insurance risk.
Pick the right car
One of the most important factors affecting your car insurance premiums is the type of car you drive. Insurers classify every vehicle into one of 50 insurance groups, based on considerations like engine size and the cost of repairs. Cars in group one are the cheapest to insure, while cars in group 50 are the most expensive.
If you’re buying a car and on a tight budget, you should find out the car’s insurance group before you buy – it can have as big an influence on your finances as its asking price. You can use MoneySuperMarket’s insurance group checker tool to see what group a car falls into by simply typing in its registration number.
Build up your no-claims discount
The cost of car insurance depends on how much of a risk insurance providers think you are. If you can prove that you pose less risk, by showing a record of safe and careful driving, you’ll be rewarded with lower car insurance premiums through your no-claims discount.
Insurers tend to give larger and larger discounts up to five or seven years, but the kind of reward you get depends on your insurer: some might offer bonuses as high as 80%, so it might be wise to look at what kind of discounts you can get before picking a car insurance deal.
A quick and easy way to compare no claims bonuses is through MoneySuperMarket’s no claims discount calculator. Just choose your insurer from the drop-down menu and we’ll give you an unbiased account of what you can expect.
Add a named driver
If you’re a younger driver, you’re likely to pay more for car insurance – but you can help reduce the cost by adding a named driver.
A named driver is a second driver of the same car named on your insurance policy. If your named driver is an older, more experienced motorist – such as a parent or guardian – then you can balance out some of the difference between premiums for older and younger drivers.
This is because insurers will assume that the car is being driven some of the time by the older driver. Therefore, insuring the car will be less of a risk overall.
However, you should always make sure that the person named as the main driver on your insurance policy is in fact the main driver. If you insure the car in someone else’s name while you continue to do most of the driving, this becomes an illegal practice known as fronting. If caught, your insurance will be invalidated and you’ll risk criminal prosecution.
Pay your premiums annually
Most insurers will give you the option to either pay your car insurance in one yearly sum or to spread the cost around by making twelve monthly payments. Paying monthly is often more convenient, but you’ll usually save money by paying annually.
This is because when you pay monthly, chances are you’re actually paying on credit – and most insurers charge interest for monthly payments. This interest is added to your premiums. Paying annually might put a dent in your finances – but if you can afford it, it’ll end up being cheaper in the long run.
How to make a claim
At some point, you will almost certainly make a claim on your car insurance. The claims process can be stressful, particularly if you have been involved in an accident or your car has been stolen, but your insurance company should offer some guidance.
It’s important to contact the insurer as soon as possible, while the incident is fresh in your mind. You should also try to gather as much evidence as possible, including any photos. You will be sent a claim form in the post or directed to one you can download off your computer, which you should fill out as requested. If the claim is valid, the insurer should then pay up promptly.
Compare insurers online
The best way to avoid paying too much for car insurers is to shop around for a cheap car insurance quote via MoneySuperMarket. Insurers rarely offer their best deals to existing customers, so it always pays to look at all the options available.
MoneySuperMarket’s dedicated price comparison service compares hundreds of insurers, and brings you the best deals available at the click of a mouse. It’s quick and easy: just let us know about you and your car, and we’ll show you how much you could save.