Car insurance - cover not cost

The average car insurance premium is now a whopping £724.28, according to the AA British Insurance Premium Index. But don’t be tempted to cut corners on your cover, as you can get the right policy at the right price - as long as you know how.

If you are involved in an accident and you don’t have the right motor insurance – and there were nearly 30,000 road accidents in the UK last year alone that resulted in injury, according to the Department of Transport – you could be left short-changed.

The answer is to tailor a deal to suit your circumstances, so you get the best price based on the level of cover you require.

Construct your own policy

At moneysupermarket.com our brand new car insurance comparison tool compares quotes from more than 88 brands. The prices you receive through the tool are the same as through the providers direct but you have the added advantage of comparing them like-for-like in further detail with other policies from different insurers.

In addition, our recently revamped tool now includes a host of new features to help you accurately design your own policy. When you reach the results page you can now make use of a new "policy wizard" allowing you to add and remove features and see how the insurance quotes change in real time. You can now choose to change the vehicle you are insuring (ideal if you’re shopping around for a new car); whether or not you require a courtesy car; how high you want the excess to be; and whether you need features such as personal accident cover or windscreen cover.

Altering a policy to suit your needs can make a significant difference to the price you receive. For example, a 26-year-old male driver in a 1998 Ford Fiesta Zetec with five years’ no-claims could pick up a policy for as little as £272.55 a year with a £250 voluntary excess. However, if the same driver decided he couldn’t afford an excess the price would leap to £296.07 a year – an increase of nearly £25.

If the same motorist chose to add no-claims discount protection, their cheapest premium would rise to £322.17.

The key is to think about the options you need and also to ensure you are honest with your insurer. There is no point in claiming you park your car in a garage overnight for example, as if it is then stolen off the street your claim will be invalid. However, if you do legitimately reduce your risk level to the insurer you could make significant savings.

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Which policy options do you need?

When designing the right car insurance policy for you, think about:

  • The type of cover you need: Third party only cover is the minimum requirement but it does not cover any damage to your vehicle or injuries you may suffer – only liability to others. Generally this is only recommended if your car is worth less than £500. Third party fire and theft adds fire damage cover and cover if your vehicle is stolen. Comprehensive cover is the most complete form and should definitely be taken out if your car is new. With a comprehensive policy you will have many additional options with accidental damage usually included.

  • Whether to protect your no-claims: If you have built up several years no-claims then you probably don’t want to contemplate losing that bonus. Protecting your no-claims can offer vital peace of mind in case an accident occurs – but many insurers will only protect the bonus through one claim and it does come at an additional premium.

  • If you need legal cover: If a legal dispute needs to be resolved following an accident your car insurance company could cover you.

  • If you want breakdown cover: Many insurance companies offer breakdown cover at an additional price but it’s worth comparing their policies against a traditional breakdown provider. You can compare breakdown insurance policies with our comparison tool.

  • Whether you need a courtesy car: Not being able to get around while your car is with a repairer can be frustrating and a courtesy car can offer welcome relief. However, it may be unnecessary particularly if you have a second vehicle in your home.

  • How high to set the excess: The higher the excess, the lower the premium as this is the amount you pay in the event of an accident. However, you should only set the excess at a level you can comfortably afford or you could be left out of pocket should a claim be necessary.

By designing a policy that’s suitable for you, you will have the peace of mind of finding the right cover for your circumstances and knowing that you’re still getting the most competitive deal available.

If you are looking for more ways to save, check out our article '20 tips to cut the cost of car insurance'.

Disclaimer: Please note that any rates or deals mentioned in this article were available at the time of writing.

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