Car Insurance: Hidden Secrets to Getting the Best Deal
Sometimes it can be confusing when searching for the best car insurance deal. There are a great many companies out there all with a different offering, but there are several simple tricks that virtually anyone can do to make a real saving on the auto insurance bill. Our guide helps you to understand how insurers do their business and this can help you get the best deal.
Risk, and understanding it
Insurance companies usually base the amount of money they charge their customers on the perceived level of risk attached to that customer. Essentially, the insurer is making a bet on how likely they believe you are of being involved in an accident during the course of your policy with them. This is the key factor in understanding how to make a saving when renewing or buying a new policy.
An obvious example of this would be a customer’s age. Young drivers are seen as having a greater risk attached due to their inexperience, and this will often be reflected in higher insurance costs. This is also true of men and women – women are statistically less likely to crash a car and so their premiums will go down compared to men of a similar age etc.
Lower Risk = Lower Costs
Armed with this information we can start to see how to get a better deal when negotiating with your insurance provider. While obviously it would be impractical to change your age or your gender, there are many ways in which you can change your perceived risk and thus secure a lower rate of insurance on your vehicle, without too much hassle. We’ve selected a few points that can help you achieve this:
1. Park off-street.
A major factor in your risk profile is how safe your car is while you are not using it. A high crime rate in your area may contribute a great deal to your costs, so just being able to prove that your car is parked of street – ideally in a garage, but even in your drive or perhaps a neighbours can land you a discount with your insurer.
2. Secure your vehicle.
Just like parking off-street, the overall level of security in your car can play a big part in getting your insurance down. While a lot of modern cars will come fitted with an immobiliser (which is ideal), if your car is an older model you should still be able to get a reasonable discount just by adding an alarm system. Make sure your insurance provider is aware of all security devices that protect your car.
3. Pay upfront.
These days, most insurance companies will offer you the option of taking a policy and then paying the cost off in quarterly or monthly instalments. While this may an attractive way of spreading the cost over a longer period, it will invariably cost more in the long run. In effect the insurer is lending you the money to pay for the policy and then charging interest, often at quite a high rate, as you pay it back. If you can afford to pay in full, do so and avoid the extra charges in the process.
4. Prove you’re a better driver.
It may not seem like much of a tip, but consistently driving safely is the best way bar none to secure a discount on your car insurance costs in the long run. Every good insurer offers a better discount the longer a driver is with them without making a claim (if your provider refuses you a discount after a few years of no claims, it is definitely time to switch insurers), and building this discount is paramount to reducing your costs. Weigh up whether it is really worth making a claim if the damage is not that great in any given situation. You can also get a sizeable discount (particularly if you are a younger driver) by taking an advanced driving course such as the Pass+ course and letting your insurer know when you pass.
5. Switch policy provider.
This may strike you as a big step, but once again it is one that can help achieve some of the biggest discounts you can get, and if you are renewing your policy any time soon it is well worth having a look at what else is on offer. Using the amount you pay currently as a starting point, go to several insurers and ask them to beat it, then another, and another until you are happy you have found the best deal. Car insurance comparison websites can be a great help with this, as can insurance broking firms. If you own a vintage or classic car, there may also be a specialist policy offered by an owner’s club for example. However, when changing policy make sure you pick an insurer who will allow you to transfer any no claims bonus you may have built up.
By tweaking some of these factors you should easily be able to make a real saving next time you renew your car insurance.