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10 Ways To Cut Car Insurance Premiums
If you own a car or are in the process of buying, insurance is the one thing you simply cannot do without. Save precious pounds by taking note of these tips and strategies. Car insurance has become the major day–to–day running cost for many motorists. Rising thefts, accidents and repair costs have conspired to make the insurance bill a significant consideration each time you change your car so think carefully before you jump in feet first to buy that temptingly-priced used car; yes, it's perfect in every respect - low mileage, full service history, a beautiful condition and even relatively cheap to service.
Cutting The Costs
Reducing your insurance bill, or keeping the premiums in check, doesn't mean you have to forgo the security of dealing with a secure company. There are many ways of tailoring the policy to provide the cover you need at a lower cost.
1. Choose Your Car Carefully
OK, most of us already have a car that we need to insure, but it is always important to factor in the insurance cost before you make that final decision on a new model. All cars are rated on a scale of 1 to 20; a Corsa 1.0 is Group 1, a Porsche 911 Group 20; you can guess which way the premiums work.
2. Pamper Your Car
The second major factor is where you live and it’s something you can do very little about. Inner cities are the riskiest for insurers, consequently premiums are higher. Move to the depths of the countryside and your premiums could be halved. Either way, you will get a small discount for keeping your car on your driveway rather than in the street, and a much better one if it is locked away in a garage overnight. Some companies also give a discount if you agree to a limited annual mileage.
3. Limit The Drivers
It is increasingly difficult to insure your car for anyone you care to let use it. That doesn’t mean you can’t have lots of drivers, just that the insurer will want to know the full details of every one before they can get behind the wheel. It will cost, too. Stick to you and your partner or better still, just a single driver, and the premiums will be slashed. Some insurers allow you to add an extra driver for a week or two for a reasonable cost; this may prove a more sensible route for occasional use.
4. Pick The Appropriate Cover
Insurance costs are partly based on the expense to repair
Car insurance is compulsory. By law. No two ways about it. In an ideal world, everyone would buy comprehensive insurance as it pretty much covers everything, including repairs even when the damage is your own fault. The trouble is the cost can be out of reach for many drivers. The major alternative is third party, fire and theft. This covers damage to others as well as the risk of fire and theft to your own car, but not accident damage. Very roughly speaking, the cost might be around half that of comprehensive insurance. There’s a third option if you can find it, “road traffic act” or third party insurance; the legal minimum for the really desperate.
5. Pay The First Part Of The Claim
These days, it's highly unusual to find a policy that will pay the total cost of repairs to your car. Usually there is what's termed the “excess” - ranging from £50 and going as high as £500. You will personally have to chip in this sum towards the cost of remedying any damage. The insurer will tell you the minimum excess on your policy, but you are free to increase it with a consequent cut in the premium in return. However, you need to be sure that you can handle this level of expense should you ever need to make a claim. Non–comprehensive policies may also have an excess on the fire–and–theft part of the cover. It is important to note that these voluntary excesses are in addition to any compulsory excess a company may impose. Excesses in general are often stipulated when a young, old or inexperienced driver is at the wheel.
6. Protect Your No–Claims Discount
Crash tests are essential safety measures
No-claims discount (NCD) has such a substantial effect on the premium that it can be a disaster to lose it. Many companies recognise that even the most careful drivers can have a stroke of bad luck once in a while and will, for a small charge, offer a “protected discount” once you have reached the maximum level. Sainsbury’s scheme, for example, allows you to make two claims in any three insurance periods without loss of NCD. It will cost a little more initially, but it’s a worthwhile benefit.
7. Look For 'Free' Insurance
The only time you are likely to find free insurance is when you buy a new car. That may seem like an expensive way of going about it, but it can be a brilliant move, particularly for younger drivers. Comprehensive insurance on a brand new £8,500 supermini can easily cost a 21–year-old £1,500 a year. So, as long as repayments on the new car are affordable, the insurance deal is very tempting, especially if you are then 'gifted' a NCD of several years at the end of year one. Bizarre perhaps, but it does happen.
8. Try For An Introductory Discount
These are often available to drivers over 23 who are insuring for the first time. However, you do need to have some experience under your belt after passing your test. Most insurers look for a full licence held for at least 12 months.
9. Add Security
Deter car crimes by fitting an alarm or immobiliser and it may help keep your premiums down
Steering wheel locks and similar devices may help your peace of mind when you park your car, but insurers won’t take much notice. To affect your premiums you need a pukka immobiliser; that is to 'Thatcham Category 1', the highest level of security. Bear in mind that it’s expensive to fit and may only be worthwhile on high value cars.
10. Finally, Shop Around
Broaden your mind about car insurance. You can now buy it from the most surprising places. Companies that are relatively new to the insurance market, like Sainsbury’s, offer highly competitive quotes in order to break into the business. In addition, quotes are readily find via an Internet search. Alternatively, you can utilise traditional methods; High street brokers will search through a host of companies in order to find the best quote. The mainstream insurers will sell through brokers but increasingly, they’ll also have direct–sell arms; look in the Yellow Pages for the numbers. Exploring all the options can be a long–winded experience. But you only need to do it once a year, and with savings potentially mounting to hundreds of pounds, it’s worth a few hours graft.