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Finding the right car insurance can be tricky business, but we’ve put together our top tips on how to choose car insurance that suits you.
Ahhh, car insurance. No matter how user-friendly the website or how great the advert, it’s still not something you look forward to, is it?
In fact, we’d be willing to bet that nobody in the history of mankind has ever muttered the following eleven words:
Oh man! I’m so excited to start shopping for car insurance!
But shopping for car insurance doesn’t have to be such a daunting experience. There are secret techniques — passed down from generation to generation in scrolls and dusty leather-bound books — to make it easier for you to find the right cover for your needs.
And now, eager reader, we’re ready to pass those secret techniques onto you.
Here’s how to choose car insurance that suits you:
Technique 1: Know the difference between the types of cover
Insurance lingo can get a little confusing. Third-party; third-party, fire and theft; fully comp…
What do they all mean?
Well, understanding the difference is a crucial step in learning how to choose car insurance that suits you. Let’s break it down:
Third-party: This is the minimum level of cover required to drive on UK roads and only covers any damage you do to other people’s property or compensation for their injury. That means that any damage to your vehicle or an injury you pick up in a collision does not qualify for pay-outs. It doesn’t protect your car against theft or fire damage either.
Because of this, it’s usually the cheapest form of insurance on the market, but it’s not without its downsides.
Third-party, Fire and Theft (TPFT): Unsurprisingly, this type of cover offers the same level of cover as third-party — so still no pay-outs for any damages or injuries you sustain — but covers you against fire damage and theft of your vehicle.
Fully comprehensive (or fully comp): Fully comprehensive is the highest level of cover you can buy. You’ll be covered for any damages to your vehicle, injuries you sustain, and damages/injuries caused to other people or their property.
Now, fully comprehensive was traditionally the most expensive option, but as younger drivers have used third party insurance to build up a no-claims discount, the playing field has evened up a little. That means that it’s not too difficult to find fully comprehensive insurance quotes that match third-party quotes if you know what you’re doing.
This leads us to step two of how to choose car insurance: finding the best deal.
Technique 2: Don’t stick with the same insurer year after year
It’s easy to fall into the trap of renewing your insurance without thinking about it. At least you don’t have to shop for insurance again, right?
However, shopping around can help you find significantly cheaper offers from different insurers.
Likewise, speaking to an insurance broker might help you get access to certain insurers and offers that are only available through brokers.
And if you really want to flex those new insurance-fu muscles, you can even call up your current insurer and ask if they can beat the best quote you’ve found before you decide to switch insurers.
Technique 3: Add a second driver
Adding a second driver to your insurance policy — especially if they’re a low-risk driver (anybody over 25 and under 70) — should reduce your premium, even if they don’t use your vehicle all that much.
Just make sure you don’t say they’re the main driver if they’re not: this is illegal and can get you in trouble for insurance fraud!
Technique 4: Lower your risk and report your driving habits accurately
Just like your eligibility to borrow money, insuring your car is all about the risk you present to the insurer. Here are a few things you can do to make yourself less of a risk (and therefore find cheaper insurance):
- Choose a car that’s in a low insurance group: insurers will provide cheaper quotes for popular models that are not as expensive to repair. CarWow’s list of the top ten cheap-to-insure cars is a great place to start!
- Accurately report your mileage: as a rule, lower mileage = less time on the road = less risk = lower premium. So, if you’re one of those people who says “Let’s just say 10,000 miles to be safe” when, in reality, you just pop to work and back, you’re probably not getting your insurance as cheap as it could be. However, be careful not to underestimate, as this could invalidate the insurance.
- Park in a garage or driveway if you can: again, less time on the road = less risk = lower premium. It’s as simple as that.
- Make sure you have an alarm: it’s very rare that modern cars don’t have alarms or immobilisers, but if you don’t have them, get them. They can help reduce your quote.
- If you’re a newer driver, take a Pass Plus or advanced driving qualification: by getting formal evidence you’re a good driver, you can help lower your premium.
- Don’t get points on your license: this does the opposite of the Pass Plus qualification and makes you more of a risk to the insurance providers.
- Consider having a black box installed: if you find it hard to find affordable insurance — perhaps because of previous accidents or points on your license — you can get a black box (or “telematics device”) that monitors your driving quality to lower your insurance. Some people don’t like the idea of being tracked and observed, but it can really help reduce costs.
Technique 5: Become a no-claims discount wizard
No claims discount is the holy grail of car insurance shopping. Have a few years’ worth of no claims and you’ll see your insurance quotes plummet in price.
Why? Because no claim is a bit like a credit score: it shows the insurers that you’re a safe bet and that you’re less likely to claim on your insurance.
As such, you should protect your no claims discount like a protective mother hen protects her chicks. Don’t claim on your insurance for minor cosmetic damage or smaller dinks. If you have a very minor accident, offer to pay to have the car checked and fixed out of pocket rather than go through your insurance.
Technique 6: Increase your voluntary excess
If you agree to increase your voluntary excess (on top of your standard excess), you can nab yourself cheaper deals, even if that voluntary excess is only an extra hundred quid or so.
So, there you have it! 6 secret techniques on how to choose car insurance that’s right for you and make sure you’re getting the best deal.
To find out more about choosing a car, applying for car finance or what to look for in a second-hand car, make sure you check out the car section of our personal finance blog!
- Author The Bamboo Team
- Posted 30 October 2019