Owning a car means dealing with various expenses. In addition to general maintenance, car tyres and fuel costs, car insurance is another factor that many drivers need to consider.
Yet this can often be difficult, because so many different criteria determine this, including:
Your age and employment background.
Where you live
The car you drive
Your driving history
The type of cover that you want
As such, finding cheap car insurance that also meets your other needs is never an easy task.
Black box insurance
One of the biggest problems with insurance is that it compares the driver against statistical data, such as the information given above. This often means that your own driving style and capabilities are overlooked in favour of what statistics say you are capable of.
Proving you are a safe driver can help bring down car insurance costs.
The best way to work around this is to allow your insurance company to gather real-time data on your driving, awarding you a better policy accordingly. These are known as black box insurance policies, using telematic devices - installed directly to your car - to record your driving habits.
They can often be beneficial for younger drivers, as an expert over at mustard.co.uk states:
“Telematics insurance doesn’t have the best reputation because drivers feel like Big Brother is watching them.
“That’s not really the case. Basically, if you’re driving the way you should be, you could benefit from substantial discounts on your premium, which is great news for any ‘high risk’ drivers, like those aged 17 to 24.”
Another way to highlight your driving skill is to take an appropriate course. If you’re caught speeding in the UK, you may be asked to attend a speed awareness course. This, however, is not guaranteed to lower your premiums, as some insurers see it as a sign of your original driving offence.
On the other hand, optional courses such as advanced driving, and refresher courses can be beneficial. When you consider that drivers do not need retraining after passing their test, any additional measures can sometimes be used to negotiate a better deal.
Another way to bring down your insurance is to limit what your vehicle is capable of. The top speed of your ride is something that many policies, again, look at from a statistical point of view. It doesn’t matter that you don’t drive over 70 mph on a highway - if your car has the physical means to do so, this is something that needs to be considered.
Car insurance policies often favour cars with capped or restricted top speeds.
A speed limiter, as the name implies, restricts the top speed of your vehicle. This is something many insurers will take into account, so it’s often worth researching the cost of a limiter, compared to the savings you will make over the subsequent years of owning the vehicle.
Compare car insurance offers
This goes without saying, but it really helps to compare car insurance quotes from various providers. Thanks to the internet, this is easy enough to accomplish. There are a number of comparison services available and, with some basic information about yourself and the car (often, this can be gathered through your UK license plate), you can get some general quotes.
Compare car insurance to help save money on your policy.
There are many different types of cover available, but you might find that you don’t need all of the extra features.
According to Lovemoney: “The first thing you need to do is work out what you need from your insurance policy.
“There’s no point wasting cash on things you don’t need, but equally little point in paying for a policy that isn’t up to scratch should you need to claim.
“Give consideration to how much your car is actually worth, how many miles you’re realistically going to rack up, whether you need extras like free car hire if yours needs fixing.”
This way, if you identify what you do and do not need, you can find an insurance policy that matches, helping you to potentially save money.
Where is your car parked?
Location can be a big issue for car insurance companies, as crime rates make for good statistical data. From where you live, it can be determined how likely your car will be stolen.
Additionally, it’s often argued whether it’s better or worse to park your car in your garage. Some argue that this decreases the chance of a theft, while others claim it makes a theft easier, as anyone in your home can find your keys and head to the garage. Others also claim a garage increases the likelihood of damaging the vehicle (through reversing, for instance). Of course, a car parked on a public street is exposed to other motorists and passers by - it seems there is no right or wrong answer in this regard.
Sometimes using a garage can offer cheaper car insurance.
If this is something you’re concerned about, try different quotes or outright asking providers if they provide a discount (no matter how marginal) for secure parking.
Even when you have your policy chosen, you can still decide how best to pay for it. Whether you pay annual or monthly will often depend on the payment plans and costs presented, as well as how the fees fit alongside your other car costs (such as fuel consumption, maintenance and, of course, car tyres).
According to Lovemoney: “Now that you’ve put in all that effort finding a cheap policy, make sure you pay for it up front.
Insurers will charge you as much as 20% extra in interest if you want to pay your premium in monthly instalments.”
How often you drive also plays an important role in car insurance.
Similarly, you might also want to consider a short term policy if you only use your car for certain periods. Specifically, this is worth considering if you’re a seasonal driver, rather than a year-round motorist.
As mustard.co.uk’s expert states: “Per day, Short Term insurance is more expensive than an annual policy but if you rarely drive or only do so in short bursts, it’s worth seeing whether a Short Term policy could save you money.”
When to look
Many people look for new insurance when their current one expires, or perhaps start to look in the new year. Is there, however, a better time to enquire about new insurance deals?
Don’t wait until your insurance policy expires to start looking for new options.
There is, according to a spokesperson from mustard.co.uk:
“With most brokers in the UK, it’s difficult to buy a car insurance policy more than 30 days before your current policy ends.
“However, generally, the nearer you get to your policy start date, the more expensive your premium will be. Buy early and you could save money.”
Ultimately, there’s no such thing as free car insurance. This cover provides a valuable form of protection for your vehicle, so it’s important to find the right solution for you. After all, even the safest driver still needs to protect themselves from other motorists, which is one of the reasons why car insurance is a legal requirement in the UK. What type and level of insurance you choose, however, is up to you.