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Drivers could save up to £33 on their annual car insurance bill by running quotes as soon as possible, rather than waiting until the last minute, according to our in-house number-crunchers.
They’ve scrutinised the facts and figures behind 13million quotes run on our site, and found motorists could save up to 7% on their premiums if they bought their car insurance with more than two weeks to go on their policies, compared to the actual day of renewal.
Two weeks before renewal day, the average driver will pay £434 for car insurance, whereas they’d pay £448 if they waited until a week to two weeks before, £452 a week before and £467 on the day of renewal.
Collectively, Britain’s motorists could save more than £500million if they stopped putting car insurance off until the absolute last minute, but the stats show more than half of us do.
55% of us start shopping around for car insurance with less than week to go before our existing policies end, including two-fifths of us who leave it until the absolute last day.
Almost a third of us are more organised and start thinking about renewal with more than two weeks left on our policies.
However, a poll we ran last week found that a savvy 53% of those who voted get their car insurance renewal quotes a month early.
Peter Harrison, car insurance expert at MoneySupermarket.com said: “Our analysis clearly shows that when it comes to renewal time, the early bird really does catch the worm, with renewal premium prices likely to be lower. Those who do leave it to the last minute are often viewed by some insurers to be a greater risk so they will price accordingly.
“Planning ahead is key to making significant savings on your car insurance as insurers tend to change pricing daily. Many do allow you to lock in your quote for 30 days, leaving you free to continue shopping around.”
Regardless of when you start shopping around for cover, it’s vital that you actually do shop around rather than automatically renewing with your existing insurer. Car insurance companies tend to reserve their best prices to attract new customers, so you won’t be rewarded for loyalty by sticking with the same insurer.
You can use this to your advantage by making sure you’re always a new customer (shopping around and switching to a new provider each year).
Bear in mind, however, that one insurer is only cheaper than the other if they’re offering the exact same level of cover. It’s tempting to go for the absolute cheapest price, but you must make sure you’ll be getting the level of cover you need, as well as any extras you might require, such as a breakdown cover or a courtesy car.
Beyond comparing quotes as early as possible, there are plenty of other things you can do to make sure you get the best possible price on the cover you need.
Driving carefully and sensibly will earn you a no claims discount on future policies. Some insurers will discount your premiums by as much as 70% if you have the maximum number of years’ no claims discount they recognise.
You should also know that different car insurance companies deal with proof of no claims discount in different ways, and you can be caught out if you’re not careful – as I explained in my blog.
Keeping your car secure against thieves and vandals should also reduce your premiums, as it reduces the likelihood of the insurer having to pay out for damage or a replacement. Keeping your car parked in a locked garage overnight or using an insurer-approved security device such as a steering wheel lock are two good examples.
For more tips on keeping car insurance costs down, see Kevin Pratt’s 10 car insurance essentials when you want cheap cover.