Saving money on your car insurance is easy and quick, but many people still fail to do it.
The mistake most drivers make is not taking the simple step of shopping around for the best premium. Instead they just accept their insurer’s renewal quote, which is likely to be much higher.
The good news is that comparing car insurance is simple and easy and you can find the best price in less than five minutes.
You can then compare the quality of the policy and have a idea of the best price to negotiate with your existing insurer, if you want to stay put.
There are a handful of ways to help reduce your car insurance costs? Whether you are male or female, old or young, follow our ten steps to lower premiums.
The quick way and easy to save on car insurance
We list our ten tips to find the best car insurance deal below – but for a quick money-saver, you can also use our carefully chosen quick comparison engine powered by MoneySupermarket with the link below.
Motoring costs: Use our ten-step plan to lower your car insurance costs
1. Shop around for the best car insurance
This is the number one way to save on car insurance. Savings of hundreds of pounds can be found if you shop around when you renew your cover.
Be careful though. When shopping around for car insurance, it’s important to make sure that you are comparing like-for-like cover. Some policies may seem cheaper, but you may find you don’t have the same level of cover when you have to make a claim.
Use an online comparison service to do the hard work for you. Put in your details and check the prices that come up. You can alter the excess that you are willing to pay and the mileage you will drive and get new quotes.
Try This is Money’s car insurance search powered by MoneySupermarket here – it will search more than 130 insurers for you, remember your details for next year and remind you when it is time to renew.
Also check the insurers that don’t feature in comparison sites, the big two are Direct Line and Aviva. It is also worth checking Admiral separately for its Multicar offers if you are looking to insure more than one vehicle.
Other car insurance comparison options include Confused.com, GoCompare, and ComparetheMarket
If you’ve been happy with the cover your existing provider has given until now but are unhappy with their renewal quote, let them know the best offer you have received from a rival insurer and ask them to at least match it. Comparing prices is essential to finding this information.
BLACK BOX TECHNOLOGY CUT MY PREMIUMS BY £800
Boxing clever: Laura Keely’s premium has been slashed
All drivers, especially the youngest, can also grab themselves potentially much cheaper car insurance by opting for a blackbox policy (also know as telematics policy) – these monitor your driving and reward those who are careful and don’t get behind the wheel at dangerous times.
Laura Keely, right, opted to have a black box installed in the dashboard of her Vauxhall Corsa provided by Insurethebox.
Previously, she paid £1,800 for a comprehensive policy. Twelve months on, her premiums dropped to just £1,000 — a 44 per cent fall.
2. Don’t put everyone on your policy
Ensure that only regular drivers are named on the policy. You can always add someone for a few days when they really need to drive the car.
3. Protect that no-claims bonus
A long no-claims bonus is the single best way of cutting car insurance costs, so protect it.
This may increase the premium by a few pounds, but this fades into insignificance against the potential loss of a 90 per cent discount on a premium of several hundred pounds.
But the definition of a protected no-claims bonus can vary widely between insurers.
Though accidents caused by another driver will normally have no impact on such a bonus, those caused by the insured could. The key is to always check the policy carefully.
4. Increase your voluntary excess
Agreeing to pay more towards the cost of any accident repairs will bring down premiums. If you are not at fault in an accident, the excess can be recovered. Beware being tempted to allow it to rise too high, however, especially if you have a lower value car.
5. Secure your car
Fitting an approved alarm, immobiliser or tracking device can attract a discount of around 5 per cent. Many newer cars will come with these as standard, so make sure you check if you have them and then declare them.
EXTRA TRICKS TO CUT THE CAR INSURANCE BURDEN
Don’t forget to haggle! The car insurance market is notoriously competitive. Once you’ve been on This Is Money’s comparison and found your cheapest price (below), get on the phone and start bargaining!
Avoid paying monthly charges: Direct debit instalments generally come hand-in-hand with high interest rates.
Think outside the box: An accelerated no-claims bonus, such as the Bonus Accelerator from Admiral, could give you a year’s no claims bonus after just 10 months.
Named drivers and friends and family: If you have previously been insured as an additional driver on another policy, see if you can transfer a no claims bonus to your own insurance coverage.
No claims discount: It could be worth paying extra to protect yours
6. Do fewer miles
Reduced mileage equates to a greater saving.
For example, a reduction in annual mileage of 5,000 miles could save a typical 35-year-old driver about £50 a year in premiums.
A cut of 10,000 miles a year could save more than £100.
But you must be honest about your annual mileage, as inaccuracy will jeopardise any claim.
Check your use cover – if you don’t use your car to drive to work or for business – both things that increase your premium – you may be able to get a cheaper rate.
7. Think carefully about adding young drivers
Adding a young, inexperienced driver to your policy can be a false economy, especially if you have a large or higher powered vehicle.
The premium will still be affected by the youngest driver and he or she may not have a no-claims bonus. Insurers have also been cracking down on fronting, where parents insure cars in their name for children to cut costs, so make sure if you are the policyholder on a car driven by your children that you are actually its main driver, or that you declare otherwise.
8. Watch out for insurance trap cars
If you decide to change your car, check with your insurer if the model will have a significant effect on the premium.
Sporty cars can attract a high premium and often a slightly different model or smaller engine can make a big difference in your favour. It will also probably save you on petrol too!
Be aware that Insurers will try to include administration fees for changes to a policy mid-term. This fee, usually between £25 and £50, will be added if you change a vehicle or your home address.
However, you can ask for the fee to be waived if it is a minor adaptation, such as changing to a personalised registration number.
9. Remember what the garage is for
If your garage is full of junk, clear it out and use it for your car.
Insurers like cars kept in garages overnight and this can dramatically cut your premium.
Aside from the benefit of not having to scrape the ice off in winter, there is a higher risk of theft by keeping the car on the road, so keeping it in the garage will be reflected in your premium.
10. Be a better driver and sign up to a blackbox
Blackbox policies, where the insurer installs a system in your car to monitor your driving, reward those who drive carefully.
Officially called telematics, these check your speed, how aggressive you accelerate and brake and how cautiously you drive, and also whether you are on the road at perceived dangerous times – i.e. the early hours of the morning.
They can cut premiums substantially once you start proving you are a good driver. The biggest win is for those whose premiums are high, especially young drivers.
Some insurers even offer an up front discount if you take out a telematics policy.
Women and cheaper insurance
The EU ruled that finance companies can no longer consider your gender when deciding what to charge you.
This was triggered by a European Court of Justice ruling on a challenge by a Belgian consumer group. Its case was that the exemption for insurers contradicted the principle of gender equality.
The ban came into force on 21 December 2012, after fierce campaign for UK firms which argued that they were not discriminating between the sexes — but instead were basing their prices on statistics.
Their argument was that as women live longer they pay less for life insurance, and get cheaper car cover because they have fewer accidents. The move to so-called gender-neutral pricing will affect premiums for all types of insurance — including car, life, private medical and income cover.
Despite this, there is still a significant difference between the prices paid by by male and female drivers on average, which is currently almost £100.