Car insurance FAQs

The most commonly asked car insurance questions

By Laura Howard on Tuesday 16 June 2020

Got a question about car insurance in general, or about how MoneySuperMarket works? Here is what you need to know

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Car insurance can be a confusing subject – there are hundreds of insurers on the market, offering even more policies – which offer various levels of cover and types of add-on at all sorts of prices.


What is car insurance?

Car insurance is a deal you make with an insurance company that protects you if you get into an accident. You pay a certain amount of money every month, and the insurer undertakes to pay for repairs you cause to other people’s cars and property during an accident, and to your own car.

Is car insurance compulsory?

Car insurance is a legal requirement if you want to drive on UK roads. You are not allowed to drive without it, and if you are caught you face points on your license, as well as a fine and potential prosecution.

There is one exception: if you declare your car as off the road, using a SORN, you do not have to insure it – but you are also not allowed to drive it on public roads.

Should I auto-renew my car insurance?

The short answer is no. Most insurance companies tend to increase your premiums automatically after 12 months, because they bank on their customers not wanting to switch.

However, if you shop around and compare car insurance deals with MoneySuperMarket, you can actually save a considerable sum by switching every year.

How can I save money on my car insurance?

How do I contact customer services?

To contact our customer services team, you can use the following telephone numbers:

  • Within the UK: 0333 123 1983
  • Outside the UK: +44 1244 976 301

Our lines are open Monday to Friday, from 9am to 5.30pm, UK time.

You can also send us an online message using our contact hub.

Why do I need to give you an email address and password?

When you look for car insurance quotes on MoneySuperMarket, we automatically save your personal details and all your quotes in a dedicated account. You can easily change your personal details, or come back later to view your quotes again without having to retype all your information.

It’s important to us that your personal details are kept safe, and we don’t want anyone else accessing the information you give us without your consent. To protect your information, we secure it using your email address and a password. Whenever you come back, just enter your password so we know it’s you.

What do I do if I’ve forgotten my password?

Next to the login button, there’s a link that says ‘Forgotten password?’ Click that link and you’ll be asked to enter your email address and receive a password reset link.

Why haven’t I got my password reset email?

Our password reset emails should arrive within a few seconds. If you can’t see yours, it’s possible that it’s been mistakenly sorted into your junk or spam folders. Mark the email from MoneySuperMarket as ‘Not junk’ or ‘Not Spam’ or ‘Safe,’ so next time you’ll get your emails as soon as you need them.

What if my car isn’t listed on the car insurance application form?

When you use our price comparison tool to find car insurance, the quickest way to find your car is by entering its registration. We can look up cars registered anywhere in the UK – but if we still can’t find your particular car, you can still get a quote.

Use the link that says ‘find your car by make and model’ underneath the registration field. As long as you give all your details correctly, the quotes you get should be just as valid.

How do I know if my car is modified?

Your car is considered to be modified if you’ve made any changes to its factory settings – even minor ones. A modification can alter a car’s performance, function or appearance – and changes to the interior, exterior or the internal mechanism are all treated as modifications.

For instance, cosmetic things like new paintwork, bodywork, seats, tinted windows or a separate audio system all count as modifications. Performance enhancers, such as spoilers to make the car more aerodynamic, shock absorbers or high-efficiency air filters, also count. As do major changes like a new engine!

What do I do if I can’t find my address?

Double-check to make sure you’ve entered your address correctly. In the unlikely event that your postcode isn’t covered by our system, we sadly won’t be able to help you with a precise quote.

However, if you use a postcode close to your address, you can get an indicative quote – just make sure you never buy car insurance without providing accurate information.

What if my job isn’t listed?

We list many job titles and employment sectors, and continue to update them on a regular basis. If your job isn’t one of them, try describing it differently, or pick the closest match.

Can I enter a no claims discount from a non-UK insurer?

Many UK insurance companies don’t recognise a no-claims bonus earned from overseas insurers, so you'll have to speak to your insurer about this.

How long is my insurance quote valid for?

This depends on the insurer. Some quotes only last as long as your session, but others are valid for a set period of time – perhaps up to 30 days, or even 45 in some cases.

What you need to remember is that insurers can change their prices at any time – so even if you have a valid offer now, it may well change if you come back to it after too long.

Which insurance quote should I pick?

Every driver’s needs are different, so you should pick the quote that gives you the most for your budget and your requirements. We put the cheapest quotes at the top of your results page – but if you want the security of greater cover, it’s worth scrolling down. For more information on how to choose the right car insurance deal, see our guides to car insurance.

What are the types of cover?

There are three different levels of cover for car insurance:

  • Fully comprehensive: The best level of cover and also the least expensive, this covers damage to your car, and any damage you cause to other cars or property – even if the accident was your fault
  • Third-party: The lowest legal level of cover, this will only pay to make repairs to other people’s vehicles and property
  • Third-party, fire and theft: This covers damage to other cars and property, but will also insure your car against theft and fire

How are car insurance premiums worked out?

Car insurance premiums are a very complex calculation, taking into account everything from your age, job and address to your driving history and the type of car you own. Each factor adds up to give you a final sum you have to pay each month.

The good news is that you can have some effect on your own premiums: by driving safely, working the right job and driving a modest car, you can save hundreds of pounds a year.

How do I get a courtesy car, legal cover and breakdown cover?

Most car insurers offer extras and add-ons to their basic policies, which can cover you under all sorts of circumstances.

When filling out our car insurance application form, you can tell us whether you require extras such as a courtesy car, legal cover or breakdown cover as part of your car insurance.

If you’ve already completed the form, and you decide you’d like to see car insurance deals that include these extras, simply check them off at the bottom of the ‘filter results’ pane on the left of your screen.

Can I keep my no-claims discount?

If you’re switching car insurance providers and you’d like to protect your no-claims discount, simply let us know when you fill out the form. Keep in mind that some providers might not let you carry your no-claims bonus forwards, so it’s possible that you’ll see fewer quotes.

What are voluntary and compulsory excesses?

When you make a claim, your insurer won’t cover the whole cost – you’ll also need to make a contribution. This contribution is called the excess. It’s divided into two parts: the compulsory excess and the voluntary excess.

The compulsory excess is set by the insurer, but you can choose how much of a voluntary excess you’re willing to pay on top of that. For instance, if you have a compulsory excess of £200 and a voluntary excess of £100, and you’re in an accident that causes damage worth £800, you’ll pay the first £300 and your insurer will cover the remaining £500.

While it might seem like a good idea to set your voluntary excess to £0, choosing a higher voluntary excess is likely to make your premium cheaper – so if you never have an accident you’ll likely pay much less overall.

What should I do if a provider comes back with a different voluntary excess?

It’s always possible that you could set a voluntary excess that’s too low or too high for your preferred insurer. You can change your voluntary excess on the ‘filter results’ pane – but make sure that you’ll be able to afford it if you have to make a claim.

Why have I not received any quotes?

It’s extremely unlikely, but there’s a chance we might not be able to find any car insurance deals that meet your requirements. Make sure you’ve answered every question correctly, and if you still get no results, consider changing your voluntary excess, your required add-ons, or the type of cover you require.

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