Comparison shopping for car insurance yields the best price.
It pays to plan ahead when renewing. This ensures that you keep your premium costs down.
Buy in Advance
Auto insurance is a necessity, but with household bills soaring, many motorists will be looking for ways to cut costs.
Don’t wait until the renewal date to buy insurance. Ideally, compare the cost of policies three to four weeks in advance.
According to comparison site Go.Compare, buying insurance 21 to 26 days in advance can be significantly cheaper than buying it the day before.
Ryan Fulthorpe, an auto insurance expert at Go.Compare, said: “We believe insurers will price people who seek coverage after the renewal date because they are perceived to be more organized and less risky.”
So it’s important to allow enough time to ensure you get the right policy for your needs and budget, he added.
According to Comparethemarket, the average annual premium is £571, rising to £1,277 for young drivers (people aged 17 to 24).
Changes to industry regulations that took effect in January mean insurers cannot offer policyholders higher renewal prices than they offer new customers.
Still, it’s worth comparing costs, with the site saying it estimates that shopping can save people around £328 a year on average.
There are plenty of comparison sites out there. In addition to the two mentioned above, there are companies such as Confused.com and Moneysupermarket.
As a driver, you must at least have liability insurance — but keep in mind that it’s not necessarily cheaper than comprehensive coverage. Because many high-risk drivers opt for liability insurance to keep costs down, because damage is usually more frequent.
Get a black box policy
Black box (or telematics) insurance rewards you for safer driving. It is particularly beneficial for younger drivers, who can be hit by sky-high premiums, but there’s usually no age limit when it comes to taking out a policy.
Typically, your insurer fits a small device in your car, or it will ask you to download a smartphone app that will monitor your driving and send data.
The device, or app, uses information such as the speed you drive, how smoothly you brake and the times of the day you tend to drive to decide on a score. This is then used to work out your premiums, and, hopefully, reduce them substantiallyover time.
There are dozens of black box insurance brands, such as Admiral LittleBox, Tesco Bank Box Insurance, insurethebox, Autosaint, Bell, RAC Black Box Insurance and Carrot Insurance.
Who to add to your policy
If you are an older driver, adding a younger driver can increase your premiums. Insurance companies generally consider young drivers to be riskier, so this may add to your costs. However, adding the name of an older relative as a designated driver can reduce costs for younger drivers.
However, be aware of “advance”, which is illegal and happens when a parent or senior claims to be the primary mover of the policy.
Remember that you can have two separate policies for the same vehicle.
Depending on who the driver is, this may be the best option as it also won’t affect your no-claim bonus if someone else has to make a claim
Lower your mileage
The fewer kilometers you drive, the lower your premiums should be, as there are fewer chances of a claim.
Check your MOT certificate to see your mileage from previous years and make sure you don’t overestimate it when applying for insurance.
Consider reducing your mileage by, for example, taking a few trips by bike or by bus.
In addition, using other transportation methods with higher fuel costs can also reduce your overall travel costs.
However, you must be honest when applying for coverage, as your claim may be denied if your mileage does not match.
Don’t modify your car
Making changes to your car, such as installing alloy wheels or installing tinted windows, can significantly increase your premium.
Sara Newell, Auto Insurance Specialist at Moneysupermarket, said: “Alloy wheel, suspension and exhaust system modifications are among the most common modifications. Other common customizations include tow hitches and engine management systems.”
Motorists with high-performance vehicles are more likely to be involved in an accident, she added, and with many modifications improving the vehicle’s performance, insurers figured their premiums should be higher.
“Furthermore, modified vehicles are generally more attractive to thieves and carry a higher risk of theft, which also increases your premiums.”
Before making any changes, be sure to check with your insurance company to see if you’ll have to pay extra – if you don’t, your policy may lapse.
Consider your occupation
When applying for insurance, be honest about how you make a living. But you may need to think about how to describe your work.
Moneysupermarket said football players and fast food delivery drivers were the top payers.
Typically, you have to choose from a drop-down menu of majors, but you’ll find that multiple positions work.
For example, if you’re a journalist, you might be able to call yourself a writer or publisher, and if you’re a chef, you might call yourself a caterer (if that option is available), see if you can call yourself Publishers keep costs down because of this.
You can use the tools on the car rating, review and advice site Parkers to check which group a car belongs to.
These range from 1 to 50, the lower the number of sets, the cheaper the insurance.
As you might expect, the most expensive group is filled with high-performance sports cars, while the cheapest contains many hatchbacks. However, there are some surprises that suggest you should check which group the vehicle belongs to before buying a car.
For example, Minis can be expensive to insure because some models are particularly popular with younger drivers, and the small Citroën DS3 falls into the same category as the Range Rover, according to Parkers.