How to get cheaper car insurance

Car insurance tips

Before we get started on our car insurance tips, here are a few bits of car insurance lingo that you should learn ;

NCB – No claims bonus, you get one years no claims for every year that you do not claim against your car insurance. Also referred to as a ‘No Claims Discount’, typically if you build up 5 years NCB this can reduce your car insurance by 60-75% dependant on the insurance company.

Many insurers offer ‘protected’ no claims bonus, it will cost you a little extra but in the event of an accident your NCB will be protected. So it can be worth the extra as the savings from your NCB can far outweigh the cost of the extra on your premium.

Excess – This is the amount of money that you will pay your insurers in the event of a claim. Voluntary Excess allows you to top up this amount and the higher the voluntary excess the cheaper the car insurance premium will be.

Fully Comprehensive – This is the highest level of car insurance cover. It includes what is covered under TPFT (see below), but in the event of an accident which was your fault (even if no-one else was involved) the insurance company will pay to repair or replace your own car.

TPO – Third Party only – This car insurance policy will only pay out to repair the other persons car in the event of an accident that was your fault. It will not pay out for repairing or replacing your vehicle. This policy does not cover you for fire or theft of the car. This is the cheapest type of insurance policy available.

TPFT- Third Party, Fire and Theft – This is the same as TPO above, but will cover your car for fire and theft.

Car insurance tips

1. Shop around (read more about this below), those companies with the biggest and flashiest websites and adverts may not be the cheapest.

2. Cheap and Small. Drive a cheap car with a small engine. This is important especially if you are a young driver and perhaps it is your first car. It is tempting to buy a nippy motor and stretch yourself to afford the car insurance, but it is better in the long run if you get yourself a car with a small engine and has a low insurance group. The insurance will be lower and you will be able to build up your no-claims bonus.

3. Pass Again. If you have recently passed your driving test, look into whether it’s worth going through the Pass Plus training programme to qualify for car insurance discounts. Not all insurers give discounts for Pass Plus drivers, but the number that do is increasing all the time.

4. Online Savings. Consider using the internet to get quotes and buy your insurance online. Most companies offer a 10% discount for buying online instead of over the telephone.

5. Excessive Excess. Choose to pay a higher excess in the event of an insurance claim. This is the amount that you will agree to pay in the event of an accident i.e. an insurance policy with a £500 excess will be less than with a £100 excess, however if you have an accident that is your fault then you will have to pay the first £500 of the claim.

6. Alarming Savings. If your vehicle is not fitted with an approved alarm or immobiliser, compare car insurance quotes with and without one fitted. It may be cost-effective to have one installed. Approved alarms and immobilisers that are recognised by the insurance industry are those that have been tested to ‘Thatcham’ standards are will be sold as ‘Thatcham Approved’, typically category 1 (alarms) and category 2 (immobilisers). Having one of these fitted will help reduce your insurance premium. In addition, there are RAC Trackstar and Tracker security devices that can be fitted to your vehicle. These will help get your vehicle recovered quickly in the event of theft and will help reduce your premium too.

7. Drive Less, Save More. Limiting the number of miles you drive each year will reduce your car insurance. They will ask you how many miles you expect to cover annually. Tell the truth though and be as accurate as anyone can. Chances are that most peoples mileage is to and from work, so if you live closer to work then this should be reflected on your estimate.

8. On yer Bike (or bus). If you commute to work or you take the company van home, then you will only need insurance cover that is referred ‘social, domestic and pleasure’, instead of ;social, domestic and pleasure and to and from work’. This may help reduce your premium.

9. All By Yourself. Having just you as the named driver on your car insurance will help keep costs down. The number of other people on it will increase its cost, especially if they are under 25.

10. No Claim Game. Start building and protecting a ‘no claims’ bonus as soon as possible. In the long run, this will have a significant impact on your ability to get cheap car insurance, and ultimately more expensive and flashier cars. Think about the ‘long game’ with car insurance and go for a smaller engined, cheaper to insure car now and when you have a few years no-claims you will definitely be able to afford to insure something bigger and better :o)

11. Pimp my Ride. Keep your car standard. Don’t modify or customise it as it may add to your insurance. If you can’t resist having that new induction kit, then ask about whether it will be covered first and how much it will be. Be honest with the insurers, sometimes these small mods don’t cost much extra (if at all). But if you don’t tell them then your insurance will be invalidated. Make sure the car has not been modified before you buy it. If it has, then you will need to declare all these modifications and they could increase your premium.

12. Party, Party. Consider just having ‘third party, fire and theft’ car insurance if your car was very cheap. The alternative is ‘fully comprehensive’ cover and then you are covered for repairs to your own vehicle even if no-one else was involved. But hey, if it was that cheap then it may be cheaper to buy another car than loose your no-claims bonus. You could even consider just insuring the car ‘third party only’.

13. Out of Sight. Where you park your car will affect your car insurance, it will be lower if you have it locked in a garage at night instead of leaving it out in the road. Even parking it on a driveway can reduce your premium.

More car insurance tips.

The internet is a great place for getting car insurance quotes and finding out what your insurance is going to cost you based on your circumstances. They will offer incentives (typically 10% discount, some even 15 or 20%) for buying online.

But hold on – to make sure that you are getting the best deal, sometimes it is important to speak with someone on the phone. They nearly always ask you what your best quote was. So with your quotes from the internet, get a copy of a car magazine (MaxPower, Fast car etc) and start dialing all the numbers you can. I recommend these types of magazines because the back pages of them are jam-packed full of insurance advertisements desperate for your business/money.

Your occupation may also help to reduce your premium. If you are a van driver or similar, where you do a lot of driving in a company vehicle, the insurers will take this into account and deem you has having more driving experience.

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