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Car insurance can be quite an expense depending on a range of variables – age, car type, previous history etc. However, there are a number of things you can do to cut down on the cost.
- Never Auto-Renew & Always Get Your Quote in Good Time
If you browse online forums, you will come across strong but varied opinions regarding the most appropriate times to renew your auto insurance policy, ranging from the week prior to an entire month. The reality is that there’s no single cast iron answer.
The important thing is to get your new quotes in good time. The priciest quotes are those always left to the very last minute. Forward plan and always shop around for the best car insurance.
Extra Tip: Get a couple of quotes, one 3 weeks or so before the expiry of your policy and the second 10 days before. Quotes are often valid for a full 30 days, but not all – so double-check. That way, you will essentially be ‘playing’ the market as opposed to the market ‘playing’ you.
- Pay Straight Up
If money is tight, you might be tempted to spread the load. However, this is almost always the more expensive option, unless your insurance company is a one-off. If you are able to, take the up-front hit. You might end up saving a lot. Insurers have been known to add up to 20 to 30 percent on monthly premiums. Monthly instalments are essentially an extra loan, which you probably don’t want or need.
Extra Tip: Insurers know that older and younger people are more likely to choose monthly payments. If you fall in either demographic, you should expect to be targeted. You should also consider paying on your credit card to receive cashback credits.
- Go Fully Comprehensive
It does not make any sense to only cover yourself partly. Fully comprehensive cover is usually cheaper than third-party, fire and theft (TPF&T).
Extra Tip: Insurance companies are geeks when it comes to stats. The cost-per-accident is usually higher in TPF&T incidents overall. That means that there’s a reason for the insurance company’s decisions, even if it might seem counterintuitive.
- Buy a Car with the Right Engine
A big car that has a massive engine will be more costly to insure. On the other hand, a smaller vehicle with a small engine is cheaper. However, there has been a trend to the ‘downsizing’ of engines in recent years due to pressure from the EU and EPA to lower emissions. That means that some big cars are currently powered by highly-efficient but smaller engines.
So, you shouldn’t cram yourself or your family in a vehicle that’s just too small. Engine size is not that important. It is what you do with it that matters, and auto manufacturers have become smarter with much less.
Extra Tip: Avoid ignoring electric vehicles and automatics. Modern automatics are generally more fuel efficient in certain conditions. The range on electric vehicles has improved significantly.
- Get Black Box Insurance
A black box insurance policy requires that a telematics box, which is about the size of a smartphone, be installed to track your driving. If you drive safely within the policy’s rules then you will be required to pay less.
That’s great news for young or new drivers since what you pay is based on how responsible you are behind the wheel as opposed to how the insurer assumes a person in your demographic is likely to drive.
Extra Tip: Check the small print if you typically do a lot of motorway miles. Black box policies typically have mileage limits and some even have curfews. You may also be charged if you regularly switch the black box across different vehicles. Black box policies are not suitable for everyone.
- Take a Pass Plus Course
The Government’s Pass Plus driving course is a great way for new drivers to improve their skills. The course is an additional 6 hours of driving tutoring. Some insurance providers will actually give you a discount if you take that course.
The reasoning for that is simple: too many auto accidents occur within the first 12 months of getting a driving license, which costs them money. Check that the discount is actually offered before getting the quote since not all insurance providers offer it.
Extra Tip: Some councils discount the price, so don’t forget to check with yours. To qualify, you must live in the council’s area. You are required to take the course within 12 months of passing the driving test.
- Increase Your Vehicle’s Security
Insurance providers like good vehicle security since it saves them money. Vehicle owners, on the other hand, like good security since there’s less chance of their vehicle rudely disappearing thus hitting their no claims bonus.
Either way, the more secure your vehicle is, the lower risk it will be rated by insurance providers. So, if your vehicle is a bit older and less secure, you should consider installing an alarm, tracker, or even an immobilizer.
Defeat Criminals without Breaking the Bank
If you have a modern vehicle with keyless entry, be wary of ‘relay attacks’, which is where 2 criminals work together to hack the electronic defences of your vehicle.
One criminal stands near the vehicle and the other one approaches your property with a device capable of picking up your key fob signal. The device then relays the key fob’s signal back to the vehicle and allows them to drive away.
Fortunately, you can avoid such a nightmare scenario by investing in a simple Faraday-style wallet that blocks these electronic signals.
Extra Tip: Install a dashcam and inform your insurance company. Some will offer you a discount.
- Add an Extra Driver
Insurance companies view the adding of an extra driver as sharing the risk. It isn’t automatic, but it can end up making your premiums cheaper.
For instance, if you are a younger driver, adding a parent might improve your risk profile thus lowering your premium. Conversely, if you are a much older driver and add your child to the policy, the insurance company is likely to feel that the risk profile rises.
Extra Tip: Instead of adding an extra driver since it is too expensive, consider getting temporary insurance.
- Don’t Underestimate Your Mileage
If you estimate that your annual mileage will be 3,000 miles or less, your insurance company may start wondering how much driving experience you are getting.
You might be competent behind the wheel, but risk management, which is what the insurance industry is essentially about, is all about perception. So, avoid pushing down your estimated yearly mileage too much.
Extra Tip: Avoid assuming that a low mileage car that’s privately garaged will automatically translate to lower insurance premiums. Garage accidents occur more frequently than you think. It is all about where you live and the stats too.
- Avoid Drinking and Driving
If you drink and drive and are frequently over the limit your insurance company may reasonably decline an accident claim. A conviction can significantly impact your ability to be covered and increase the cost. You will also need to report any convictions for the next 5 years.
Extra Tip: Stick to sparkling water and stay out of trouble.