10 tips on how to get the best car insurance
Getting car insurance right is all about asking questions and making some checks.
Before you rush for what might seem like the best quote just because it’s at the top of a comparison list, here are Ten Tips and questions to keep in mind.
Why is it cheap?
Going cheap, if you’re not careful, may well cost you dear.
Ask yourself what the cheapie quote leaves out – does it cover shattered windscreens, is there a large excess (the amount you pay on any claim)?
If it’s very cheap compared to all other quotes, there’s a reason, and it might be one that should make you steer clear.
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Third party or comp?
Don’t imagine third party is going to be cheapest. It used to be the case a few years back, but no longer.
If you opt for third-party cover only, it might tell the insurer that you’re less bothered about you car than someone who opts for comprehensive.
That could make you a higher risk.
Look at all options to get the cheapest AND most appropriate cover.
How many miles… Be honest!
Make sure you give a realistic assessment of your yearly mileage.
Then again, don’t put down more than you need to.
It’s easy to think that if you say fewer miles than you are likely to drive, no one will notice and you’ll get a lower premium.
That’s fine until you make a claim.
If it’s found your actual mileage is completely out of synch with your estimate, you could void your insurance all together.
The average is just over 8,000 miles a year.
Pump up your excess
This is the amount you’ll pay before the insurer pays out on any claim.
You can often make a significant saving on the cost of your policy if you raise it.
It’s worth considering what kind of amount it’s actually worth claiming on anyway, because a claim will really whack up your premium the following year, making it a false economy – see below.
Try really really hard not to claim!
The best way to get the lowest price for the best policy next time round? Be someone who hasn’t made a claim.
It’s that simple.
Of course, there will be times when it would be silly not to claim, but in the end you will always pay an increased premium, possibly a vastly increased one, if you have a claim.
And that still applies even if you switch provider – and, yes, they will know you claimed
Drop the extras
Make sure you know what is covered in the way of legal and medical expenses or any other add ons.
Some policies won’t cover these at all, but others will offer them or make them a default option.
Can you save by opting not to have them?
Do you have other insurance that will do the same job?
Do you really need some of these extras?
We're always amazed at how many people have breakdown cover on their insurance when they already have a separate policy with the AA or similar.
Driving in Europe?
All policies now have to provide automatic third-party cover in EU countries, but some will also as a default cover you comprehensively in Europe.
You might save money by opting for a policy that doesn’t do this.
If you’re young, you’re a risk!
If you’re young, you will pay a higher premium than an older, trouble-free driver. You’re statistically, a bigger risk.
But adding an older person with a clean driving record as a second driver can actually lower your premium because insurers see this person as averaging out the risk of the younger driver.
But make sure this is someone who will actually use the car.
And never 'front', that is name a less risky driver as the main one as this will cost you dearly in the event of a claim.
Pay the premium in full to avoid the cost of credit.
If monthly charges are available, they will probably involve paying a higher amount over the year, possibly a much higher amount.
These type of monthly payments are best avoided, if at all possible.
If you really want to stagger the cost, the best way is to pay upfront with a zero percent credit card deal.
But make sure you're ready to clear that credit card balance when the deal runs out.
Auto renewal – don’t be daft!
Never, ever just accept a renewal quote from your existing insurer!
We’ve featured many cases where insurance companies attempt to whack huge percentage price increases on their customers by hoping they’ll be too lazy to check how much their premium has gone up.
Or they hope the customer will assume that because the price was good the first year, that company will always offer a good deal.
Do not fall into this trap because insurance companies don’t reward loyalty!