If you drive, shelling out for car insurance is inevitable (not to mention a legal requirement). While it can represent a significant expense there are some steps you can take to make insuring your car more affordable.
Insurance companies work with risk statistics that calculate how likely you are to make a claim given your personal circumstances.
The more 'risky' you are deemed, the higher your insurance premium - this is why car insurance for new drivers and performance car insurance tends to be more costly.
Thankfully this also works in reverse, so by making yourself appear less of a financial risk, the more likely you are to get the cheapest car insurance. Here's how:
The car you drive...
Car insurance providers classify cars into different groups based on factors such as engine size, top speed, repair costs, likelihood of theft and so on. This bands similar cars together and provides generic levels of insurance sufficient to cover likely claims.
You'll find car insurance groups range between 1 (very low risk) and 20 (very high risk), with cars in lower groups attracting significantly reduced premiums. Judging your car's group accurately is every bit as important as actual car insurance comparison.
An obvious starting point for lowering your car insurance is buy a car classified in a low insurance band - your car dealer or vendor should be able to tell you this before you buy. It's always worth investigating your options as there can be significant differences in grouping even between models in the same range.
Modified cars tend to attract higher premiums as they are seen as more attractive to thieves and more likely to be involved in accidents. For this reason high performance car insurance also tends to be more expensive to insure.
Avoid modifying your car if you want to get cheap car insurance quotes; this is especially the case for young drivers. The more you modify your car the higher your insurance will be, so keep this in mind before modifying your vehicle further.
Insurer approved alarm and immobiliser systems are also likely to attract a discount as they make your car statistically safer. So if you are looking to save in the long run, consider purchasing a car that has one already intact or consider installing one to save on a longer term basis.
How you drive...
Your personal driving history and the motoring history of any other individual included on your policy will affect the price you pay. Any claims, driving offences or convictions are likely to significantly increase the cost of your policy. In short, the safer you are on the roads, the more likely you are to get a cheaper deal on your car insurance.
Factors such as the way you use your car and the number of miles you drive are also likely to affect your car insurance premium.
Low mileage discounts are often available but are only worthwhile if you estimate your annual mileage honestly. You're likely to find cheap car insurers and the cheapest car insurance quotes if you only use your car a couple of days a week, rather than for commuting to work. But be sure to completely truthful with your estimates as if not your policy will be sure to go up after this.
Where you drive...
Where you live and park your car also impact your insurance premium. While moving house just to reduce your car insurance is a little extreme, there are certain things you can do to lessen the impact of your postcode.
If you have a garage you should always use it as it is seen as more secure storage - and is likely to attract a discount.
Additionally, parking on a private driveway or secured car park is seen as more favourable than simply leaving your car parked on the side of the road.
Again, it pays to be honest about where you tend to park your car.
But considering where to park can help to reduce the price you pay by quite an amount so where possible always go for the secure parking option.
Statistically the older you are the less likely you'll need to make a claim; similarly girls are much less likely to claim than boys.
While little can be done about your age or sex, it can pay to avoid insuring younger drivers on your policy if they won't regularly be using the car.
Many parents are tempted to insure their newly qualified children as a named driver on their car. While this can be cheaper in the short term, it doesn't usually pay off in the long term as a younger driver could go for years without starting to build up a no claims discount on their own insurance policy.
Generally, it is better for young people to take out their own car insurance for 1st time drivers as soon as they are regularly driving their own car. Third party, fire and theft can be the very cheapest car insurance to start off with.
Alternatively quoting with a company that offers an accelerated no claims discount scheme (whereby a year's no claims discount is earned in 9 months or so) can make a huge difference over time.
Building and protecting a no claims discount is the best way to make your auto insurance cheaper year on year as this can save up to fifty percent of your premium price - sometimes more!
You always hear the subsequent cost of car insurance rocketing when someone makes a claim. However while the cost of insuring your car is likely to increase after making a claim, the main reason for a huge increase is because you are no longer eligible for the no claims discount.
For this reason protecting your acquired no claims discount is one of the best ways to make sure your insurance premium stays low even after a claim, even if this costs a little extra.
A cheap car insurance company will usually offer reductions to new drivers who have completed their Pass Plus, and some also offer named driver discounts, helping to reduce premiums significantly.
While it's not technically a discount, many insurers charge interest on monthly premium payments as they see the total figure as a loan. If you can afford it you should therefore try and pay for your car insurance in a lump sum annual payment, keeping it interest free.
Some providers offer interest free monthly payments so it can be well worth comparing their overall costs to those of their interest charging counterparts. Most insurance providers offer significant discounts for buying online. So be sure to shop around not only for the best provider but the best way to purchase from the provider.
Your car insurance policy...
When you insure your car you have three main insurance options, 'Third party', 'Third Party, Fire and Theft' and 'Fully Comprehensive'. The latter tends to be most expensive but provides you with complete protection.
Third Party, Fire and Theft can be an economical option for those with little driving experience, a number of previous claims. Third Party tends to only be a viable option for those with a particularly low value vehicle as the cover it provides is minimal although it is the cheapest option by far.
When you compare car insurance and are choosing which option to go for you will need to weigh affordability with the value and condition of your vehicle. This way you will not end up paying more on insurance than your vehicle is actually worth.
Most insurance providers also offer add-ons such as family legal protection or a courtesy car. While these can be useful they are likely to come at an additional cost. Opting out can save you some money if you don't think that you'll use them and this is something to consider when you compare car insurance quotes.
Voluntary excess car insurance
When insuring your car you are also likely to have the option to increase the level of voluntary excess, this is the amount you will have to contribute to repairs or replacement in the event of a claim. Increasing this will attract a subsequent decrease in premium price; however you should always ensure that you will be able to afford the excess if necessary.
Find the right car insurance policy
You also need to make sure that value you insure your car for is representative of the replacement cost of your vehicle. Too low and you'll be under insured if your car is written off and too high and you'll be paying for cover you don't need. Looking at the current resale cost of vehicles similar to yours can give you a good idea and help to make sure that you aren't paying more than necessary.
Finally, if you compare quotes both on price and the level of cover they offer you should be able to find the best car insurance companies and policies that meet your needs - without costing you the earth!