INSURANCE premiums are one of the most expensive, unpredictable and often frustrating parts of car ownership. When deciding how much to charge you for your policy, providers take a large number of variable into consideration, meaning it’s often hard to know how to keep costs from rising. Prices can add up, especially if you’re insuring yourself and others (especially teenagers, who are notoriously expensive to insure).
Driving.co.uk approached the experts at GoCompare to see if they had any tips on how to keep those dreaded insurance premiums down. Here’s what they had to say.
1 Shop around
There are a lot of insurance providers out there, all competing for your attention. The best way to save on your car insurance – or any insurance – is to shop around. In fact, GoCompare estimates that you can save up to £277 by shopping around for car insurance each year.
2 Pay your premium annually
As with many things, paying for your car insurance in a lump sum is cheaper – if you pay monthly, it’s essentially a loan with added interest. However, the significant upfront cost means it’s not always possible to do this. If you can’t pay in one go, it’s worth considering other options such as paying on a 0% credit card and then paying off the balance before the interest-free period ends.
3 Add an experienced driver to your policy
There’s no shame in adding an older, more experienced driver to your policy. It can help to bring your premiums down, but always be honest about who the main driver is, or there’s a risk you invalidate your cover.
4 Increase your excess
The excess is the amount you pay in the event of a claim and is split into two parts – voluntary and compulsory (together known as total excess). So if you choose to pay a higher voluntary excess, it will reduce the price of your insurance, but bear in mind that this is the amount you’ll pay towards any claim you need to make in the future. If you need to claim you will need to pay the total excess.
But you won’t be able to make a claim if the value is lower than your total excess. For example, if your voluntary excess is £250 and compulsory excess is £250 any claim would need to exceed £500.
5 Think about how you describe your job
Weirdly, the way you describe your job can also affect your premium – for example, a “chef” might pay a different premium to a “cook”, and a “hairdresser” might pay a different price to a “barber”. Using different job descriptions can reduce your premiums but it’s important that you’re honest – for example, don’t say that you’re an accountant if you’re actually an actress.
6 Improve security
Think about installing devices such as alarms, immobilisers and locking wheel nuts. If you’re unsure about installing these devices, you can get insurance quotes before fitting any security upgrades and then see if the extra cost of buying these is worth it for the insurance savings. If you have a keyless car, that poses its own security concerns, so make sure you’re not making it easy for people to clone your key fob.
7 Avoid modifications
It’s often tempting but any upgrades to the styling, audio or performance of your vehicle could mean an increase in the price of your insurance. This is because additions such as alloy wheels, body kits and performance upgrades could make your car a lot more attractive to thieves. As well as this, cars with modifications also tend to be more expensive to fix due to the expensive parts.
8 Build up a no-claims bonus discount
This one speaks for itself. Building up your no-claims discount will help you to get a cheaper policy because insurers reward motorists who are less likely to claim.
9 Limit the mileage
If you can limit the number of miles you drive each year, it means you’re a lower risk for insurers — less time on the road means less chance that you’ll end up having an accident. But again, always give an accurate estimate of your mileage when getting a quote.
10 Consider a telematics or black box policy
Black boxes, which record actual data about your driving in order to form the basis for premiums, are sometimes associated with young or beginner drivers. However, anyone can get them, and they can make your car insurance cheaper — provided that you’re a careful driver.