Car insurance can be a minefield of confusion, expense and irritation; so here’s a few tips to help you through the process.
It’s a necessity
The first thing you need to know about car insurance is that it’s mandatory. Wherever you live, whatever you drive, you need to be covered. If you’re not and you risk driving without it and the worst happens then the police won’t be too happy. You’ll end up with a bill for your car, the car you hit and potentially end up with a prosecution.
Paying for car insurance may seem mundane and annoying but it is the law and it has to be taken seriously.
Prices have gone up
The past year has seen motorists up in arms over the rising prices of petrol and the cost of living. The price of a barrel of oil is at record levels and we’ve all been fuming, but while all that’s been happening we’ve been missing another price hike – car insurance.
According to reports, car insurance has hiked up 34% from late 2009 to late 2010. This means that people who are due a renewal won’t be best pleased when they receive their new price. It’s time to get those computers and telephones out – get searching!
Amend your details
It is a legal requirement to tell the truth when entering your details for car insurance, but sometimes amending your particulars slightly could save you a packet. Work out exactly how much mileage you do each year, because altering and lowering this option can result in lower premiums. Don’t just put the national average, if you think you drive less then work it out and save those pounds.
Add a driver
It may seem odd, but adding a driver onto your policy – who has experience and no claims – can significantly reduce your premium. It doesn’t always work – and granted, it is more likely to work for a man adding a woman onto the policy – but it is better trying and failing than not knowing.
It’s the little things that can change the price of your policy significantly. Remember that!
The more points you have on your license, the more money your insurer will want off you. Remember, you’re a driving liability to the company, so you need to reduce any possibilities of fines, points or lawsuits. Drive safely, drive slowly and drive calmly.
If you do get caught speeding, some councils offer an alternative penalty to taking points in the form of a day of learning about how speeding can kill. It may be a good idea to think about that to avoid insurance hikes.
Keep a good credit rating
Most people don’t realise that insurance companies will look at your credit rating to determine how likely you are to pay out every month or every year. At the end of the day, they are taking a risk in insuring you and they need to make sure you’re a safe bet.
So, make sure you look after your credit rating. Taking out credit cards – but making sure you pay them off before the deadline – can be a great way of bumping up your rating. Just make sure you are vigilant and careful with your money and you’ll be on your way to a happy credit rating and happy insurers.
Make sure you’re covered
Does your policy cover you for everything that you need? Windscreen cover, legal cover and courtesy cars can all be an ‘option’ for most insurers, so make sure you know what you need and what you’ll be getting in the package.
Read the small print – it’s boring, yes – to ensure you’re not in any financial pickles after an accident.
Use comparison sites
Comparison sites have become a welcome part of the modern drivers’ way of searching for car insurance quotes, and while they are great, they still charge the companies who are visible commission for every ‘click through’.
There’s no doubt that some bargains can be had, but remember that there are several companies who aren’t on the sites that can still offer a great deal.
If you’ve ever been to Turkey you’ll be familiar with haggling, but if you’ve not and you’re British, then you’ve probably never haggled in your life. Haggling, in Britain, has become a bit of a taboo. But it doesn’t need to be.
Just because your insurer offers you a £500 renewal price doesn’t mean you have to take it. Scare them with the threat of leaving for another company as they have offered you a better deal. You never know, they might just lower their original price.
If you’re under 25, you’ll know the pain of car insurance. For the youth of today the ability to drive a car is as alluring as ever, but it’s so expensive that most of the new drivers in the country can’t afford to run a motor – despite having a license.
A good way to go would be to go onto your parent’s insurance for a couple of years. It should work out considerably cheaper – just make sure you still earn a no-claims bonus!