The cost of car insurance can take a big chunk out of your driving budget, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Here are 15 tips to help you get your annual premium down.
1. Shop around
The Association of British Insurers (ABI) reckons you can save as much as a third on your annual premium, simply by shopping around. So don’t just automatically accept your renewal quote each year.
2. Limit the number of people allowed to drive the car
The more people who are covered by a policy, the more it’s likely to cost. Young drivers are particularly expensive to insure, so make sure you remember to take your kids off your policy when they get their own.
3. Request a higher excess
Most insurance policies include an excess charge (the amount you have to pay towards any repairs that are claimed for). If you’re prepared to increase this, you can get a reduced premium.
4. Don’t use your car for work
Insurance policies that cover only “social, domestic and pleasure” are generally cheapest.
5. Agree to a mileage cap
This can earn you a discount simply because cars that are on the road less often are less likely to be involved in an accident. AA Insurance reckons that accepting a 12,000-mile annual cap would earn a 5 to 10 per cent discount. A 5,000-mile cap can earn even more. This is particularly useful for households with more than one car.
6. Avoid brokers’ commission
Direct Line claims that buying through intermediaries can increase the cost of insurance by up to 30 per cent.
7. Buy through the internet
Many insurance providers offer an automatic 5 per cent discount for online transactions.
8. Consider downsizing
Cars that are worth less and have smaller engines qualify for lower insurance bands, which means they attract lower premiums.
9. Keep your car garaged
Keeping your car in a garage or on a drive rather than out on the road can take between 5 and 10 per cent off your premium.
10. Ask for an introductory discount
You may be eligible for this, even if you don’t have a no claims bonus but have driven a company car – or someone else’s car – with a no claims bonus on its policy. Some insurers just offer you a discount because they want your custom. And if you have built up a no claims bonus, say so.
11. Look for ways of protecting your no claims bonus
Some policies allow you to make a claim in set circumstances without it affecting your no claims bonus. You’ll pay a small premium up front, but it could save you a fortune in the long run.
12. Have a black box fitted to your car
This is where the insurer installs a device that monitors how the car is being driven so that careful driving can be rewarded. You can also agree to curfews that limit what times of day you can drive. It works especially well for young drivers.
13. Improve your driving skills
A Pass Plus driving test, or similar qualification, can cut the cost of your premium.
14. Don’t assume third party cover is cheaper
Third party insurance is the legal minimum, covering you against damage caused to other people’s property and the cost of any compensation for injuries. However, this isn’t always cheaper than fully comprehensive cover, which covers your own vehicle as well, because the insurer can assume you care less about your car and are therefore more likely to have an accident.
15. Don’t pay by direct debit
Paying for your insurance in monthly instalments – rather than in an annual lump sum – makes it seem more manageable. But it’s likely to cost you between 10 and 25 per cent more in the long run.