Car insurance is the recurring nightmare of the average motorist. Just when you’ve started to forget about it, you realise it’s that time of year, and it all comes flooding back: the cost, the frustration, and the sheer inconvenience of having to deal with it.
Sometimes it can get annoying enough that you capitulate and simply stick with the insurance package you already have, only to soon realise that you hugely overpaid. And the more expensive your car, the more money you’ll be asked to pay. The sums can be massive.
Now, no amount of guidance here will change the fundamental irritation involved in renewing or securing car insurance, but you can come away with some straightforward nuggets of advice that will help you cut your costs the next time you need a quote. Here are 7 simple tips you can follow to come away with a smaller bill for your car insurance:
Keep up your no-claims bonus
Nothing speaks more to your safety as a driver than a record of your insurance policy essentially going unneeded, and your safety is paramount to insurers. After all, your insurance going unused is the ideal scenario for them — they get to make some money without doing anything in return (other than covering you legally).
It’s simple enough, then: just don’t claim anything on your insurance. If you clip a wing mirror backing out of your drive, don’t get your insurer on the phone to discuss it. Just reposition it and carry on with your day. The longer-lasting your no-claims bonus, the better your quotes will be.
Improve (and declare) your car security
What type of locking system does your car have? How do the alarms function? The more comprehensive and reliable your car security system, the more confident insurers will feel that it will remain safe, and the more inclined they’ll be to give you a good deal.
You’ll need to be mindful of two things, though: firstly, you must ensure that you get any security work carried out by a reputable installer (aftermarket work from amateurs won’t look good to prospective insurers), and secondly, you need to proactively mention the security work when you’re getting quotes (it’s no use having great car security if insurers don’t know about it).
Store your car in a garage
Leaving your car on the road or on a driveway might be most convenient for you, but it will invariably have a negative effect on the quotes you receive. This is because a car left outside is relentlessly exposed to the elements, as well potential thieves.
Keep your car in a garage, though, and it will stay safe and dry. Confirm to potential insurers that your car remains protected during the night, and they’ll consider it far less of a risk to take on, allowing you to get a cheaper quote.
Get plenty of like-for-like quotes
The more quotes you can get, the better, particularly when you’re just starting to consider the type of insurance you’re looking for. Perhaps your requirements have changed since the last time you agreed a policy — well, this is the time to get a comprehensive glimpse at all of the options on the market.
But when you reach the point of comparing specific policies in an effort to whittle them down and come away with a definitive top choice, remember that most policies aren’t directly comparable. Taking a surface-level view might leave you thinking that there’s a clear frontrunner, only to find upon closer inspection that the deal is hugely worse. Only like-for-like comparisons matter.
Be wary of admin charges
Not all insurance companies are kind enough to fully list the numerous administrative charges that enter into their car insurance policies, and overlooking the matter can leave you feeling confused and exploited when you check the bill and find a number you weren’t expected.
The best thing you can do, then, is commit to always reading the fine print. It will make the process take longer, admittedly, and potentially cause some friction, but there’s no shortage of insurers out there — and if one you’re considering won’t be direct with you about the various miscellaneous charges, simply walk away and look elsewhere.
Try black box insurance
A black box, otherwise known as a telematics box, is a device that connects to your car and records information about how you drive, including details such as speed, time, and distance, as well as more granular details about actions such as braking and cornering. Why would want such a thing? That’s simple: because insurers would love it.
Using such a box, you can have specific telematics insurance which determines how much you pay based on how you drive. If you’re truly confident in the quality of your driving, and you don’t mind knowing that your driving stats are being tracked, then this is a great option. (You should also consider that some insurers are now looking at dash cams and other driver assists, so the more data you’re recording, the better).
Negotiate until it stops getting results
When you get a quote from an insurer, it can feel quite cut and dry. There’s the figure, take it or leave it. But that isn’t the reality of the situation. A quote is just a jumping-off point, a rough estimate of what you might need to pay, and you don’t have to weigh up the offer as it is. You can push back on it and seek a better deal.
This is particularly useful when you’re getting plenty of like-for-like quotes, because you can play the insurers against one another. When one gives you the best quote, you can take that quote to the previous leader and challenge them to beat it. At some point, your negotiation will stop getting you improved results, and might even cause some insurer frustration — but you should come away from the experience with a much better quote than you started with.
No one likes forking out their hard-earned money for car insurance they’ll likely never use, but it’s an unavoidable part of being a motorist. Using these 7 tips, you should at least be able to find a much-improved offer on your next quote.