Car insurance: how to swerve the cost of paying monthly

Over four in 10 drivers pay for their car insurance by monthly instalment. But doing so bumps up the cost of cover even further. We’ve analysed the 11 million quotes run on our car insurance channel in the 12 months to May 2015 and found that 44% of drivers pay by instalment. This is understandable, given that typical premiums are the thick end of £500 – a hefty sum to stump up in one go. But the problem is, paying monthly for car insurance adds an average £62 to each policy. Our stats show that the average premium for drivers paying annually is £452, versus £514 to pay monthly – an uplift of 11%. But there is an alternative if you can’t or don’t want to settle your premium all in one go.

Zero hour

Here’s how: You take out a zero per cent purchase credit card and use it to pay your premium in one go. Then you divide your premium by 12 and set up a standing order from your current account for that amount. So if your premium came in at £600, you’d pay £50 a month. And because a zero per cent purchase credit card doesn’t charge you interest for a given period (anything up to 23 months), you’d only pay £600 in total. Paying the insurance company by instalments would probably bring your total bill nearer to the £700 mark. You might have to pay a small fee to pay by credit card – maybe 1% of the total, so £6 in this example – but the overall savings would still be significant.

Disciplined approach

Here’s a really important point if you go down this route: you should adopt a disciplined approach and stick to a maximum of 12 monthly payments, regardless of how long the card’s interest free purchase period lasts. That means you’ll have stopped paying for this year’s cover by the time you have to shop around for next year’s cover. And before you take the plunge with a new card, check whether you’re likely to be accepted using our credit card Smart Search facility. If you apply for a card and are declined, you’ll leave a stain on your credit rating – but we’ll find the cards you’re likely to be approved for before you make your application.

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