Car insurance – how to cut costs and get a great deal

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Car insurance is a necessary evil, but there are ways of reducing your premium come renewal time If you drive a car, then it needs to be covered by insurance – it’s the law. You might not necessarily provide your own cover, but either way you need to be insured to get behind the wheel. The minimum cover you can have is for third party damage – so other road users are covered, but you and your own vehicle are not – but you should really aim for the most cover that you can afford and fully comprehensive insurance is often no more expensive. ANPR automatic number plate readers help the police to cross-reference vehicle registrations against insurance databases to see if a car has valid cover at the time it’s being driven. If you haven’t got the right kind of insurance, or any cover at all, and you’re stopped by the police, then you will be liable to a fixed penalty of £300 and have six points added to your licence.

If proceedings escalate, you could be facing a court case where you may get an unlimited fine and also be disqualified from driving. The police will also be able to seize your vehicle. The majority of road users are covered by insurance, and the most recent Driver Power survey in 2016 revealed that the average Auto Express reader pays more than £400 a year for their policy. But of course that’s an average, and some drivers will face far higher or lower bills than that. Ways to save on you car insurance. There’s no escaping the fact that if you simply let your car insurance roll over every 12 months without shopping around, you’ll be paying a lot more for cover than you should.

Simply logging on to an insurance comparison website should help you see whether you’re paying through the nose for your premium, and these sites should be your first port of call in the weeks coming up to your renewal. Once you’re armed with some online quotes, it’s time to get dialling. First, try your existing insurer. Phone them and talk directly to a sales advisor, as this will be the easiest way of negotiating a new price. If it can’t match or undercut your lowest quote at the first time of asking, it’s worth telling them that you will be moving on if it can’t do anything to help. This should sway the company your way, and if they can oblige with a similar quote, then you’re on to a winner, because then you won’t need to fill out any forms or supply new information, as all you’ll be doing is paying a lower bill or monthly direct debit.

One point to make is that some of the larger companies, such as Aviva and Direct Line, don’t supply insurance quotes to online comparison sites, so it would be worth researching these firms separately just to see if they can beat your best offer. If you can pay for your insurance in one go, that could save you some cash. Paying a lump sum means you don’t have to worry about it for another 12 months. But most insurance firms know that customers usually don’t have the means to pay in one go, so they may charge interest if you take out a monthly direct debit to pay for your cover.

Check your car insurance policy Be aware of any extras that are loaded on top of the basic policy. Extras such as legal cover or cover for possessions might be included. But if you have home insurance, the latter could well already be covered, so you’d be paying extra for something you don’t need and might be quite limited in it coverage. If you have more than one car, then a multi-car policy could help you to save money. Put both cars on the same policy with one company, and let the insurance company the names and driving history of everybody who will be driving them, and there are savings to be made over having separate cover for each car.

Interestingly, while there are three levels of insurance cover – fully comprehensive, third party, fire & theft and third party-only – the lower levels of cover won’t necessarily provide the cheapest quotes. A study of insurance costs by The AA revealed that, on average, a fully comprehensive policy is nearly £200 cheaper than third party fire & theft – the thought behind this being that somebody who takes out fully comp cover is more responsible than somebody who just wants the bare minimum cover available. Another way to reduce the cost of cover is to attain a recognised advanced driving course. Do this, and sign up with a driving association such as the Institute of Advanced Motorists, and you can easily see another 10 per cent cut from your premium. Kitting your car out with technology can also help to cut costs. Pam Quinn, from the British Insurance Brokers’ Association, told us: “Using the latest in technology can help reduce costs. For example, driving with a dash cam lowers premiums by 10 per cent on average. “We’ve also found that new drivers can cut costs by fitting a telematics box.” Industry data shows the devices save £212 on average for new drivers. Finally, we recommend purchasing your insurance via a cashback site, as you can earn as much as £70.

Similarly, by clicking through from one of these sites when buying breakdown cover, you can earn up to £30. .

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