Motor insurance is not just a legal requirement here in the UK, it’s also an effective way to get some peace of mind by knowing you’re covered if you cause damage to someone’s car or property, or your own vehicle. Typically, insurance premiums for cars cost a few hundred pounds per year, but you can save money because prices range massively depending on the circumstances and who you arrange your insurance policy through.
How do insurers calculate your premium?
Lots of things can affect your insurance premium. The insurer is deciding how much of a risk you pose, and at what cost they’re prepared to let you have a year of insurance. They’ll always aim to keep that premium as low as they can otherwise they’d always lose out to other insurers, so they’re not trying to be greedy if they offer a higher premium, they might just be less experienced at insuring people like you or vehicles like yours. If that’s the case, they might have to play it safe, meaning you’d be paying more than you need to. Specialist insurers and brokers will have a much better choice in what premium they can offer you, meaning they can find the right policy for you at the lowest price possible.
Even within a single insurance company, all policies will be priced differently depending on the perceived risk involved. So what affects that risk?
Some things are out of your control. Your age, for example, as different age groups present a higher or lower risk. The insurance group of your vehicle (vehicles typically fit into one of 50 ‘groups’ with 1 being the lowest risk) is another factor – a supercar will inevitably be a bigger risk than a small hatchback. If you’ve had recent claims or convictions, those may affect the premium too. If you feel a quote you’ve been given on a comparison site is not fair you may wish to speak to a specialist over the phone, because an online computer-generated quote won’t let you explain. In fact, people generally get cheaper rates over the phone – almost 80% of people who call Adrian Flux can get a cheaper rate by speaking to someone rather than get an online quote, and sometimes the savings are huge.
Ready to save money? Here are twenty things that you can control:
1. Ring a specialist
Don’t just use comparison sites or online quotes, they’ll be generated by a computer and can’t be altered. By talking to an insurance specialist on the phone you can not only make sure you’re answering all the questions correctly, but also have someone helping you find ways to save even more.
2. Limit your annual mileage
If you drive less than the average number of miles per year you may get a discount. The UK average is around 10-12,000 miles per year (around 1,000 per month) but if you can stick to 7,500, 5,000, 3,000 or 1,500 miles per year you can limit your annual mileage and get some significant savings.
3. Get a black box (telematics) policy
Black box policies, also known as telematics policies, are cheaper because they encourage people to drive responsibly. Some boxes, like the ones we use, can automatically advise the emergency services if you have a sudden impact.
4. If you have a box already, drive responsibly
If you have a box that records how you drive, then it’s your chance to prove that you’re a low risk. Drive within the law and you should see a favourable rate when you get to your annual renewal, compared to a driver who was driving less responsibly.
5. Park somewhere safe
Insurers often consider parking overnight off the road, e.g. on a driveway or (even better) in a garage, as a good reason to offer discounts due to lower risk of theft and vandalism.
6. Add a voluntary excess
A voluntary excess is an extra amount you pay towards a fault claim. Most policies will include a standard excess but if you can afford to cover more of a claim yourself, then adding extra voluntary excess may well drop your premium. You may find you can then buy an Excess Protection insurance policy, which will cover your new excess, for less money than you saved!
7. Add extra drivers
If you know a low risk driver that may use the car, try adding them to the policy. When people drive vehicles that other people also use, they tend to treat that car more carefully. That means adding drivers can get you a discount. The discount may be very significant if the driver (or drivers) you add are experienced.
8. Use your full name (spelled correctly)
Surely your name doesn’t make a difference to how well you drive? No, it doesn’t, so that’s not what this tip is about. However, making sure the name you use is the one that would show up on an electoral roll or a credit check means that any insurers doing a soft-check on your credit score, will see you’re on there and offer discounts they couldn’t offer if your name appeared differently.
9. Make sure the electoral roll is up to date with your details
Going hand in hand with tip number 8 above, make sure the electoral roll itself is correct, to make sure the insurer can find your name on there if they check it.
10. Get a quote far in advance
Insurers prefer people who are well-prepared. These people tend to be less likely to take risks, and so getting a quote at the last minute is often more expensive than getting one a few weeks in advance. For that reason, get a quote as soon as you can before you need it to help save money. Companies are usually happy to quote up to one month ahead of time.
11. Join an owners club
A great way to show you’re an enthusiast is to join an owners club. Typically owners club members care about their vehicle more, and so specialist insurers often give discounts of around 10% to owners club members, even if it’s a club that didn’t cost anything to join. If you’re not sure whether the club you want to join gets a discount, just ask us at Adrian Flux, you’ll be amazed how many we give a discount for.
12. Modified vehicles may qualify for specialist cover
People often assume making changes (modifications) to a vehicle will put the insurance up. That’s not always the case, unless there’s a big gain in the vehicle’s performance. In fact, it often means you qualify for a specialist policy and can have extra discounts – so it could be cheaper. The main thing is you must tell the truth and declare any changes so that your insurance policy is valid. If you save money that’s just an added bonus!
13. Chat with the clerk and they may be more flexible and willing to help.
A lot of the reason some people feel their premium is unfairly high is they’ve not had a chance to explain their situation, and so a computer that quotes online can’t take any individual circumstances into account. However, a clerk can, and if they want to help you save money they’ll be on your side and will really try to get you every discount possible!
14. No Claims Bonus and introductory discounts
We all know earning a year’s No Claims Bonus (NCB) can save you a large amount, but did you know the savings continue each year until you accrue around 5 years, by which point the savings could be close to 65%? However, this bonus can only be applied to a single policy, and you have to have been earning it on annual insurance policies through that time. So, even if you have not claimed for a few years, there’s still a chance you could have no NCB available to use. But if you speak to a specialist insurer, they can often take into account your years of claim-free driving and offer an equivalent discount, or close to it.
15. Second car? Make sure you tell the insurer
If the vehicle you’re looking to insure is not your only one then make sure you tell the insurer. You will often get a discount just for having other vehicles, but when you can also combine it with limited mileage and introductory NCB as outlined above it can make a huge difference. In some cases you could qualify for a classic car insurance policy, which is usually a lot better value than the insurance for an everyday car.
16. Compare level of cover – comprehensive cover might be cheaper
There are different levels of insurance cover, from the very basic Third Party Only (TPO – which just covers damage you cause to others), and Thirty Party, Fire and Theft (TPFT – which covers fire, theft and usually vandalism cover for your vehicle too), to Comprehensive (often known as Fully Comp, which covers accidental damage to your car, and usually a level of windscreen insurance too). Now, although Comprehensive covers a lot more, it may actually work out less expensive, simply because more insurers will offer prices – giving better choice and help save money. A good specialist broker will always check to see if ‘Fully Comp’ could actually save you a few pounds, but you should also try it out yourself. And remember adding extra voluntary excess can usually drop it down even more, but that usually only helps for Comprehensive insurance quotes.
17. Insure more vehicles with one company
There are a few reasons to insure all your vehicles with one insurance broker. There may be discounts for multi vehicle policies available but, above all else, it’s very convenient. You only need to give all your personal details once, and then simply add more vehicles. With a diverse broker like Adrian Flux you can even have your cars, motorbikes, home, caravan and more insured by the same company.
18. Earn an advanced driving qualification or Pass Plus
A lot of specialist insurers will offer a discount for people who have an advanced driving qualification, such as an Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM Roadsmart) course pass or, for new drivers, a Pass Plus certificate, so if you have completed one of these then make sure you mention it, just in case it saves you a bit more money.
19. Avoid monthly fees by paying in one go
Insurance companies and brokers often need to charge interest if you opt to pay by instalments rather than all in one go. This means extra charges which you could avoid by paying up front. If you have a credit card with a low interest rate – or even 0% – then consider using that if you’re able to, and avoid interest charges from the insurer or their finance providers. Remember, paying monthly instalments does not mean you can simply stop paying and stop the insurance, you’ll still need to pay for the policy in full (less any refunds offered by the insurer, if applicable).
20. Upgrade your vehicle’s security
If you can lower the chances of your vehicle being stolen and never recovered, then you might see lower insurance costs too. Upgrading your vehicle’s security is a good way to make it more secure. Insurers tend to give discounts for devices listed by Thatcham as being reliable, and better discounts for Category 1 devices than Category 2. If in doubt, ask your insurer what they might give a discount for.
21. Consider fitting a dashcam
As dashcams may be able to help settle a disputed claim, some policies give discounts for having a good quality dashcam fitted and working, you can see the list of Adrian Flux approved devices here.
22. Be realistic about vehicle’s current market value
When an insurer calculates an insurance premium they need to take into account what the vehicle is worth. They will very rarely ask for proof, or come out to view the vehicle, and so it is up to you to declare what you think it is worth. If you put a price which is higher than it should be, then you may get charged more for the policy, so be realistic. If you put a higher estimated value it won’t mean you get paid out more, though, as all claims are assessed and the value of the vehicle at the time of the accident will be determined, regardless of what you estimated it to be worth. Agreed Value policies can help make sure you get a deserved payout for a vehicle which is worth more than it would appear to be worth on paper, and Adrian Flux can help arrange that type of policy for you.
23. Don’t lie to the insurer
Some people feel tempted to try and mislead the insurers by stating incorrect facts when they get their quote. Beware this will always come back to bite you. If you claim, then a false set of statements when you took out the policy will probably mean it was not valid. Even if you don’t claim, insurers share information and so you will probably get found out. The advice is not to try lots of different things to see what works out cheapest – always tell the truth.
There you go – more than 20 ways to make sure you get a great deal on your insurance and the more you know, the more you can take into account.
Ultimately, the best way to get the ideal quote is to talk to an expert. Don’t reply on price comparison sites which use computers to work out the best price for you – speak to a real human being who understands the best way to get the costs down as much as possible.
Call Adrian Flux insurance for a tailored quote on 0800 369 8590, or visit www.adrianflux.co.uk to find out more and see if you can save money on car insurance.