Motor convictions or claims? You MUST compare cover!

Motoring convictions and accident claims are two factors that can have a significant impact on the cost of your car insurance and, if you have either – or both – against your name, you could be forgiven for assuming that there’s no point in shopping around for cheaper cover. After all, you’re now considered to be a greater insurance risk, which means your premium is going to increase whoever you go with, so you may as well stick with your current insurer, right? Not exactly. It’s highly likely your premium will increase, but by how much will depend upon the type of offence you were convicted of, the cost of and reason for your claim and, crucially, the company insuring you. So let’s a look at how and why claims and convictions can affect the size of your premium…

Counting the cost of a conviction

If you’re convicted of a motoring offence you could be fined, receive penalty points on your licence or face a driving ban, depending upon the seriousness of the offence. For instance, a speeding offence will usually result in a £60 fine and three penalty points, while if you’re found guilty of one of the more serious offences, you could be hit with a fine, penalty points and a driving ban. Get caught drink driving and the points, fine and driving ban are inevitable. The type of offence committed dictates the number of penalty points you pick up, which range from three to 11, and if you accumulate 12 points within three years you could face an automatic driving ban (for a full list of offences and penalties, click here. The type of offence also has a bearing on how long the endorsement stays on your licence, which can be anything from four to 11 years, which means that committing a motoring offence could have an impact on the cost of your car insurance for over a decade. And this is something that could really hit you in the pocket, as a recent study by MoneySupermarket found that convicted drivers could see the cost of car insurance increase by up to 150%. A series of insurance quotes were run for a 30-year-old male, with five years NCD who had been convicted of a DR10 motoring offence (driving or attempting to drive with alcohol level above the legal limit), and the findings were a real eye-opener. While one insurer’s prices jumped from£291.66 before the offence to an eye-watering £1,719.28 afterwards, a difference of £1,427.62, another insurer quoted prices of £502.51 beforehand and £667.24 after, a difference of just £164.73. This means that by simply shopping around for insurance, a convicted driver could save a staggering £1,262.89 on the first year’s cover after their conviction – case closed.

Counting the cost of a claim

Claiming on your car insurance can prove costly in more ways than one; not only do you have to stump up the compulsory and voluntary excess on your policy, you will most likely see your current premium increased and lose your no claims discount (NCD), which will lead to higher-priced quotes in the future. Even if you make one claim on your insurance this will stay on file and affect the price you pay for cover for at least three years. However, it’s also worth noting that making a claim does not automatically mean that you’ll lose your entire NCD – if you’ve notched up five years then you may only lose a percentage of that - so always check with your insurer. So before you make a claim it makes sense to do your sums first and see if it’s worth footing the repair bill yourself – something Rowan Atkinson probably didn’t bother doing after crashing his McLaren F1, a mishap that cost his insurers over £900,000, making it the most expensive repair bill in British history.

The importance of comparing quotes

Although your policy price will rise after a claim or motoring conviction has been added to your records, by how much will largely depend upon your insurer. So don’t just accept your current insurer’s renewal price, make sure you get the best deal by using MoneySupermarket to instantly compare quotes from a range of insurers. And be sure to check out our money saving tips for even more ways to keep the cost of cover down.

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