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Car insurance renewals

When is the best time to renew my car insurance?

Don’t leave renewing your car insurance until the last minute – you could save as much as 17% by being prepared

By Mehdi Punjwani

Published: 21 April 2021

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When you take out a car insurance policy lasting a year, you’ll often find that many providers will automatically renew your cover once the year is up. They may also change your premiums based on factors like your previous claims, your driving history and the vehicle you’re insuring.

However, letting your policy renew automatically might mean you miss out on potentially better available prices. It’s better to get ahead of the curve and start comparing quotes beforehand, so when it is time for a new car insurance policy you’ll be able to get the cheapest available for the right level of cover.

When is the best time to renew car insurance?

The best time to renew your car insurance is within 15 to 29 days of your policy renewal date. The average motorist will pay 17%  less for a new quote with more than a week to go on their policy than if they renew on the last day.

Customers saved an average of 17% on their annual premiums by renewing 29 days in advance, compared to on the day your cover starts

Based on MoneySuperMarket data, December 2020

 

But for a quarter of the quotes we analysed, however, the average saving was 28.1% or more – representing a saving of £132 – for people looking to renew at least eight days before their insurance ran out.

How do I know when to renew my car insurance?

MoneySuperMarket discovered this car insurance sweet spot by comparing tens of thousands of pairs of enquiries made by our customers up to 29 days before they were due to renew and again on the last day of their policy. Every other detail was the same in each pair we looked at, including customers’ circumstances and the insurers who offered the quotes – the only thing that differed was the date.

The conclusions are clear: the quotes you receive rise sharply in price throughout the last week before your car insurance runs out.

Can I save money by switching car insurance companies?

Comparing car insurance quotes before switching means you’ll be able to see a range of policies available offering the cover you need from various suppliers across the market. You’ll be able to compare these quotes by the overall annual and monthly price of cover as well as the protection you’ll get.

This means you could stand to make a saving on your car insurance by comparing quotes and switching car insurance providers, rather than going for the immediate automatic renewal offered by your current insurer.

Is it cheaper to buy car insurance in advance?

The increase in car insurance premiums usually occurs within eight days of your current policy ending, and the sharpest rise around three days before – so as long as you buy before then you should avoid the big price hike. However renewing any further in advance is unlikely to have any real impact on your premiums – the curve before eight days is generally flat.

How easily can I renew my car insurance?

Renewing your car insurance is easy – if you’ve opted out of auto-renewal, you’ll just need to contact your provider and ask them to renew your policy.

How does car insurance renewal work?

When your car insurance policy is renewed, you may find that your premiums have changed. This is likely to happen if you’ve made changes to the cover you need. For example, if you’re insuring a different car or driver, if you’re adding or removing a level of cover, or even if you’ve moved home or changed jobs.

However your premiums may also change even if none of the above apply – this is because there are a range of other factors that influence the cost of car insurance. It may be that you’ve recently made a claim on your policy, or just that the market conditions have changed.

The best way to get a good price on your new car insurance policy is to avoid renewing with your current provider right away. You should shop around and compare quotes – this way you’ll get to see what’s available from a range of other providers, to be sure you’re getting the right price.

What else can I do to cut the cost of car insurance?

Aside from comparing quotes before your renewal date, there are a number of other way you can get a cheaper car insurance quote. 

Reducing the cost of car insurance before buying a policy

  • Before you take out a new car insurance policy, consider the following:
  • Policy type: You’ll generally find that fully comprehensive car insurance policies are the cheapest option, and they also provide the most cover – making them the win-win option
  • Estimated mileage: The lower the estimated mileage you give when getting a car insurance quote, the cheaper your policy is likely to be – simply because the less time you spend on the road, the lower the chances of you being involved in an accident
  • Job title: Insurers factor in your job title as certain occupations may statistically pose more of a claim risk than others
  • Other drivers: If you’re adding one or more named drivers to your policy, bear in mind this will increase your premiums – and if they’re young, inexperienced, or they have a history of convictions the rise will likely be more significant 
  • Other cars: It may be cheaper to add multiple cars to one policy, rather than insuring them separately – but this isn’t guaranteed. Some cars, like classic, modified or racing vehicles, require specialist cover, so these are probably more suited to their own individual policies
  • How often you pay: The general rule of thumb is that paying an annual lump sum to your insurer up front will be cheaper than spreading the cost over 12 monthly payments
  • Avoid extras: Car insurance providers offer many policy features and extensions – some will be included in your policy as standard, particularly with fully comprehensive policies. However others may only be available for an extra fee – so consider whether you really need additions like key cover or wrong fuel cover before opting in
  • Pay more excess: Volunteering a higher excess payment indicates to insurers that you’ll avoid making small or frivolous claims – so they’ll usually reward you with lower premiums

Reducing the cost of car insurance while using your car

  • When you’re insured and on the road, bearing the following in mind can give you a better chance of keeping your premiums down for the next time you renew or compare quotes:
  • Drive safely: Ensuring you stay safe and sensible on the road will help you keep insurance costs down – particularly with a telematics policy, which actually tracks and measures your driving habits to give you a greater chance of reducing your premiums
  • Drive less: As with your estimated mileage, actually driving fewer miles will also have an effect on your premiums. Some insurers offer pay-per-mile insurance policies, which use technology similar to telematics to charge you by the miles you drive – alongside a usually much lower flat rate for when your car is stationary
  • Avoid small claims: Making any kinds of claims on your policy is likely to lead to an increase in your premiums the next time you renew or compare. Some claims are unavoidable – things like widespread damage or expensive fixes. But for smaller things like dents or scratches, paying for the repairs yourself can work out the cheaper option – especially as you’ll also avoid having to pay an excess fee
  • Keep your car safe and secure: The location in which you’ll keep your car when not driving is also considered by insurers – this is particularly true for overnight storage. Garages and carports tend to be seen as safest, reducing the risk of burglary and vandalism, whereas you’ll likely need to pay more if you keep your car parked on the street at night
  • Avoid modifying your vehicle: It can be tempting to add modifications to your car – but while you benefit from a custom feel and potentially improved performance, it will make your vehicle more expensive to insure

Compare car insurance quotes

Comparing car insurance quotes with MoneySuperMarket is a quick and easy way to find affordable cover for your vehicle. Just enter a few details about yourself, your car and the cover you need, and you’ll be able to compare quotes from providers across the market. Once you’ve found the deal you want, just click through to the provider’s website to finalise your purchase.