How small cars cut insurance costs

The spiralling cost of motoring is driving increasing numbers of people to use smaller, more economical cars in a bid to keep bills down.

Small red car in a meadow
A recent study carried out by Moneysupermarket.com analysed the top 50 insurance quote searches carried out by motorists during 2010 and found that the average engine size of the top 20 most searched for cars was 1.6 litres.

The research also showed how the average registered date of these cars was 2001, which could suggest that drivers are looking to buyer newer, more reliable models that have the added benefit of cheaper road tax after the tax classes were re-banded in March 2001.

Furthermore, cars with smaller engines are often more fuel efficient than the larger ‘gas-guzzling’ models, so rising fuel costs are likely to also have an influence on the type of cars being bought.

Smaller cars also tend to have lower insurance costs, but it’s not just engine size that can influence premium prices as Peter Harrison, car insurance expert at Moneysupermarket.com explains: “We’ve seen rising fuel prices and escalating car insurance premiums over the past year, so it’s no surprise motorists are taking steps to combat these costs; age, engine size and make or model of car all have an impact on the cost of insurance premiums, and fuel consumption too.”

This may explain why, according to the study, the most popular cars of 2010 were small hatchbacks such as the Ford Fiesta, Volkswagen Golf and Renault Clio.

The car which ultimately came out on top in insurance searches was the Vauxhall Corsa.

How can make and model affect insurance costs?

The general rule of thumb is that the more expensive the car is then the more it costs insurers to replace in the event of a claim.

In addition, more expensive cars, particularly those with modifications or powerful engines, may be more attractive to thieves and so will demand higher insurance premiums.

Vehicles are also categorised into car insurance groups by the Insurance Group Rating Panel and one of the factors they are assessed on is the cost of repair.

This means that cars such as the Vauxhall Corsa or the Ford Fiesta should fall into one of the lower insurance groups simply because parts are relatively easy to come by and, due to the popularity of the cars, there should be no need to send them to specialists for repairs.

Cars bought in the last 10 years are also more likely to benefit from better safety ratings and those with smaller engines should have lower top speeds, both of which influence insurance groupings and, ultimately, insurance costs.

How else can you reduce the cost of car insurance?

As well as choosing a car that is in one of the lower insurance groups, there are a number of other ways that you can cut the cost of your car insurance.

One of the easiest ways to save money is to shop around for the best quote. Never assume that your current provider is going to give you the best renewal quote and see what you can save by using the moneysupermarket.com car insurance comparison tool.

Furthermore, savings can be made by simply buying your insurance online as many providers offer discounts to customers that take out insurance directly via their website.

Savings can also be made by ensuring your car security is up to scratch and you should see a reduction in your premium price if your car is fitted with an alarm and an immobilizer and is kept in a locked garage overnight.

Increasing the amount of voluntary excess can also reduce costs but you need to remember that this excess is the amount that you will need to pay up front in the event of a claim so ensure that are able to afford it.

In addition, there is often a point whereby the savings made through a higher voluntary excess become nominal so be sure to check whether any savings you can make in this way will actually be worthwhile.

If you are a younger driver you may also find that you can cut insurance costs by adding a more experienced driver to your policy.

However, although adding another driver is a perfectly legitimate way to reduce costs, it is illegal to falsely declare that they are the main driver of the vehicle. This is known as ‘fronting’ and can not only invalidate your insurance but can lead to a fine, penalty points on your licence or even a complete driving ban.

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