When I mention to people I work at MoneySupermarket, car insurance usually comes swiftly into the conversation. And when I tell them that the cost of car cover has been falling in recent months for most people, I usually get raised eyebrows and knowing glances in the direction of my drink. You see, motorists have become so used to premiums rising steeply over the years that they can’t get their heads round the possibility that they might have levelled off.
But that’s what’s happened as improved road and vehicles safety and a clamp-down on insurance fraud has allowed insurers to charge less for the cover they provide. Comparison sites such as MoneySupermarket have also done their bit by making it easier for people to shop around, thus stimulating competition between insurers. But even if drivers accept that premium inflation has eased in many instances, it doesn’t alter the fact that car insurance is expensive. The fact that we can typically save drivers £300 on their annual premium shows that many Brits are paying way more than they should for their cover.
Shop around – every renewal
So that’s our number one tip to reduce the cost of car insurance: shop around among 134 UK insurers by using our free, easy-to-use quotation service. And don’t just do it once and assume you’ve found an insurance company that will provide cheap insurance year on year for life, because insurers reserve their best prices for new customers, not those who renew. So, every year, when it comes to renewal, check back with us to see if we can find an even better deal. Don’t just allow the insurer to automatically shunt you onto the next year’s policy at a higher premium.
Other tactics to reduce your quote
- Park off-road overnight, preferably in a locked garage, but failing that in a driveway, if you have one
- Increase security with an immobiliser, alarm and tracking device
- Reduce your annual mileage
- Add an experienced driver as a ‘named’ driver
- Consider ‘telematics’ insurance that rewards you for safe driving
- If you’re a young driver and you’ve recently passed your test, take the Pass Plus course
- Pay up-front rather than monthly to avoid hefty credit charges.
Types of cover
- There are three types of car insurance, which provide different levels of cover and cost different amounts accordingly.
- Third party is cheapest, but only covers your liabilities if you cause death or injury to others or damage their property (including your passengers)
- Third party fire and theft (TPFT) extends this protection by covering your car if it is stolen or damaged/destroyed by fire – and costs more as a result
Comprehensive cover is the most expensive because, in addition to TPFT protection, it enables you to claim for damages to your own car, and your own medical costs, in an incident for which you are to blame. Opting for TPF&T, say, will cost you less than taking out comprehensive cover. But many drivers prefer to pay extra for the greater protection afforded by comprehensive cover.
Buy your car with cover in mind
A longer-term strategy to reduce insurance expenditure is to move to a car in a lower insurance group, The insurance industry maintains a grouping system where every model of car in the UK is allocated to one of 50 groups, with the cheapest to insure in group 1 and the most expensive in group 50. You can check out how this works at www.thatcham.org and see what car you would need to choose to secure a lower quote.