What sort of car insurance ‘risk’ are you?
Ever wondered why everyone pays a different premium for their car insurance? It’s because the amount you are charged for cover is based on a statistical assessment of how much risk you pose.
The greater risk you pose of being involved in an accident or having your vehicle stolen, the more likely it is your insurer will have to pay out for a claim.
Someone with a very expensive and powerful car will generally pay more than somebody with a cheaper, less powerful car. Similarly, someone with 20 years’ driving experience will tend to pay less than someone who’s just removed their L plates because, statistically, an experienced driver poses a lower risk.
But these are only rules of thumb, and insurers take several other factors into consideration when setting your motor insurance premiums. At MoneySuperMarket we regularly crunch the numbers behind millions of car insurance quotes to analyse market trends and help you get an estimate on your premiums.
What is the cost of car insurance?
According to MoneySuperMarket data, the average cost of annual car insurance in spring (March – May) 2016 was £470. This is an increase of 11.8% compared to last year (meaning you will now pay £50 more than a year ago). Compared to two years ago the change is even more significant. The average cost in spring 2014 was just £390 – prices have jumped £88 or a big 22.6% since then.
MoneySuperMarket’s car insurance data monitor analyses the impact of age, gender and location on car insurance premiums to find out how much of a risk different groups are considered to be in the eyes of insurers.
Average car insurance premiums 2010 – 2016 by age*
The graph below shows how the cost of car insurance has changed in the last six years and is segmented by different age groups.
*Source – MoneySuperMarket data
Why are age and location important when calculating car insurance?
We have focused on these areas as they tend to be among the most influential factors when it comes to calculating car insurance quotes.
Age is a big factor when it comes to motor insurance premiums, as older drivers are seen by insurers to be less likely to be involved in accident. Generally speaking, this is because older drivers tend to have more experience behind the wheel, whereas younger drivers tend to have less experience.
Those living in areas with higher crime rates also tend to pay more for cover. If your postcode is in a high-crime area, insurers will weight your premiums to account for the added risk of your vehicle being vandalised, damaged or stolen.
How to bring down the cost of car insurance
Bear in mind that our car insurance calculator only gives you the average price you can expect to pay. In reality, your premiums could be higher or lower. If they are higher, there are some steps you can take to help bring the cost down.
1. Opting for a lower level of cover: Third party only cover tends to be cheapest of the three options, because in the event of a claim, the insurer is only obliged to pay for damage caused to third parties and property. It does not cover the driver against fire, theft, or damage to their own vehicle or themselves.
Remember that although third party cover may be the cheapest option, were you involved in an accident you would have to pay for repairs to your own vehicle, so it may be a false economy.
2. Pay a higher voluntary excess: Doing so typically earns you a lower premium as the insurer will be left with a smaller bill. However, you must not set your excess at a higher level than you can actually afford, because you will have to pay it in the event of a claim.
3. Improve your car’s security: Keeping your car parked in a locked garage overnight and even installing insurer-approved security equipment such as immobilisers or steering wheel locks reduce the chances of it falling prey to thieves, and insurers should reflect this in their car insurance quotes.
Years without claiming
Discount offered by most insurers
4. Build your no claims discount: For every year you drive without making a claim you can build up a discount when it comes to renewing your car insurance policy. The range of discounts offered are shown in the table.
5. Take a young drivers advanced driving course: Pass Plus is a course that teaches young drivers extra skills outside of the practical and theory test, such as motorway driving, and, in some cases, helps young drivers to get cheaper premiums with some insurers.
Read: Understanding Pass Plus
6. Add an experienced driver to your policy: In theory, having another driver on the policy reduces the amount of time you’ll spend behind the wheel and could therefore reduce your premiums if the insurer believes that the named driver is less likely to be involved in an accident.
A word of warning though; you must never have a more experienced driver ‘front’ your policy for you as the main driver to get cheaper cover – this is known as fronting and is illegal. If you’re caught fronting you could end up in court for driving without motor insurance.
Our car insurance comparison tool can give you an idea of what you can expect to pay, but follow these steps and you can earn yourself a better deal and feel epic.