However, since car insurance is essential, it’s one of those purchases you have to make as a motorist – even if you’d rather spend the money elsewhere.
There’s good news if you’re currently shopping for cover though; there are tried and tested ways of bringing your policy cost down. Some of these methods might be fairly obvious – but some are a little less-so, taking advantage of how a policy is calculated to make sure you get the lowest possible price.
We’ll explore 11 of the best tips here – but, before we start, there’s an important word of warning:
Make sure you’re always 100% honest
No matter how tempting it might be to ‘bend’ the truth a little to drop your premium cost – it’s absolutely vital that you don’t.
‘Forgetting’ or neglecting to remember accurate information when an insurer asks a question is highly likely to mean your policy isn’t valid – which puts you in a very similar position to just being uninsured. It the most serious cases, it could result in hefty criminal charges.
The good news is, if you follow these tips – we’ll help you to drop your insurance price as much as possible, while making sure you have your all-important cover in place.
Use a good comparison site
Some people think that you get cheaper rates going direct to insurers – but in actual fact, using a good car insurance comparison site can save you a huge chunk of money.
Comparison sites often create offers and discounts that can’t be found anywhere else – and what’s more, every site has a unique panel of insurers that mean you can instantly compare policy costs and benefits.
Comparing benefits is a really important point. Here at Car.co.uk, you can see which insurers include things like breakdown cover, key cover, legal protection – and a host of other add-ons. You might decide that these represent good value – but then again, you might decide to opt for a policy that strips all these things away or offers them free of charge.
Every insurance policy offers a slightly different level of cover or benefit – so using a good comparison site with a wide range of insurers means you can quickly compare these and only choose the ones that represent good value for you.
Remember, only deal with reputable insurers – so if you come across a company you’re not familiar with, check to make sure they follow the guidelines laid out by the Association of British Insurers (ABI) so you can be 100% confident that you’re protected in the event of a claim.
At Car.co.uk, we have a great panel of insurers to help you find cheap car insurance.
Choose the right car
A big part of securing the cheapest car insurance is making sure you’re driving the right vehicle.
For some people, cars are a passion – and if this is the case, driving something that’s fast or desirable is important. However, if you’re more interested in keeping your costs down, then ‘fast’ and ‘desirable’ need to be at the bottom of your wish-list.
There are thousands of factors that insurers consider when they create your policy price – but some of the most significant points are the value, performance, and desirability of your car. Cars are divided into 50 different insurance groups – with 1 being the lowest, and 50 being the highest. Cars in group 1 tend to be the most modestly powered and cost-effective – which also tends to mean that insurers considered them less likely to be stolen or involved in an accident.
If you’re still choosing a vehicle, picking a car from insurance group 1 can save you hundreds – if not thousands of pounds every year.
Take an advanced driving qualification
Although your driving test is all you really need to get behind the wheel – it’s actually the most basic level of driving qualification out there. As such, if you want to prove to insurers that you’re a safe and sensible driver, it’s a good idea to get the qualifications to prove it.
Perhaps the most popular advanced driving course is ‘Pass Plus’. Run by driving instructors – it’s a 6-hour course that adds a few additional skills that you’re unlikely to have covered in ordinary lessons – including:
- Motorway driving
- All-weather driving
- Night-time driving
- Driving during rush hour
It’s a practical course, so there’s no test at the end, and Pass Plus usually costs around £180 to complete. It’s a fairly high cost – but you could see significant insurance reductions for years to come if you’ve got the qualification.
If you want to take the next step up the driving qualification ladder, the IAM (Institute of Advanced Motorists) is another course that many insurers offer drivers a discount for passing.
The course is spread over 3-6 months of lessons taught by an Institute of Motor Industry (IMI) professional – but they’ll take you through a huge number of advanced controls and driving situations – focusing on developing driving skills. The IAM RoadSmart qualification does end with a test – but you’ll be well-prepared when you get there – and you could stand to save a lot since insurers will consider you an especially skilled driver.
Park in the right place
Want your insurer to know you’re serious about keeping your car safe? Make sure it’s parked in the right place – especially overnight.
A locked garage is ideal – but failing that, parking it on a gated driveway or in a secure car park is a close second-best.
Of course, this isn’t always possible – but if you can avoid on-street parking, you’re likely to see your premiums come down, as the car is less likely to be stolen or bumped when it’s off the road.
It’s probably fairly obvious that driving convictions are going to push your insurance costs up – but actually, any convictions stand a chance of increasing your premium.
Insurance costs are worked out by a complex algorithm – and there are a huge number of statistics that help this computer program to decide exactly what level of risk you pose as a driver. One of the factors this algorithm will consider is any criminal convictions on your record – as statistics show that people with convictions in the past are more likely to be involved in accidents on the road.
It might not feel like the two things are connected – but insurers only work with perceived risk, not your specific circumstances. As such, keeping free of convictions is a good way to make sure your insurance costs stay down.
Accurately describe your profession
Did you know that some professions pay more for insurance than others?
Again, this is down to how risk is calculated. If an abnormally large number of call-centre staff are involved in accidents during 2021, insurance costs for call-centre staff are likely to go up in 2022 to reflect this trend.
As such, you might want to experiment with different descriptions of your job. Obviously, you have to be honest – but if you do happen to be a call-hander in a call-centre, you might want to try some variations to see if your policy price is impacted. Could you also be considered ‘Customer Service Staff’? Maybe your contract says you’re a ‘Service and Sales Agent’?
Accurately describe your role to make sure you’re paying the lowest possible costs.
After all this talk about potential risk, you might feel a bit out of control when it comes to your monthly or annual premium. However, this isn’t always the case – especially if you’re willing to have a ‘black box’ telematics device in your car.
Telematics devices give insurers real-time feedback about your driving habits. From when and where you drive – to how smoothly you brake and accelerate.
The idea of anyone ‘watching’ your driving might not sound like fun – but if you consider yourself a sensible driver that doesn’t use your car late at night or during rush-hour, you might find that your premium could drop significantly.
Reduce your annual mileage
It’s a fairly reasonable assumption that the more miles you cover, the more likely you are to be involved in an incident on the road. With this in mind, you might be able to reduce your car insurance price by reducing the number of miles you do in your car.
Where can you trim back on the miles? Could you lift-share to and from work? Perhaps you could jump on the bus to go shopping – or take the train for longer journeys?
There are lots of possibilities – and since insurers tend to put you into a mileage ‘bands’ (e.g. 6,000 – 8,000 miles or 8,000 – 10,000 miles) – it might not take many bus journeys to cut your policy price down to size.
Accurately declare your mileage
As well as reducing your mileage if possible, making sure you accurately anticipate your mileage for the year is also a great way to save money. You might need to open your calculator app to do this – but there’s no harm in some rough adding up to see how your mileage stacks up.
There’s an idea that the ‘average’ motorist covers 12,000 miles a year – but this could be way too many if you generally only use your car for social, domestic, and pleasure only (SD&P) use.
Keep track of your mileage over a normal week – then multiply this number of miles by 52. You might have a few weeks where you don’t use your car as much – so if you want to be ultra-accurate, you can account for low- and high- use weeks when you do your maths too.
Make sure you’re insured for the miles you actually do – rather than the ‘average’ for a motorist in the UK.
Don’t use your car for business
When you apply for insurance, you’ll notice there are different levels of cover – starting the standard SD&P level we’ve already talked about. If you use your car to commute, your insurance will go up – and it will go up significantly if you use it for business travel.
The definition of business travel varies slightly from provider to provider (so you should always check with your provider) – but generally speaking, an insurer will consider your car be used ‘for business’ if you’re travelling between two or more business locations in a day – or using it to attend business meetings, courses, or in any other way essential to carrying out your job beyond getting to-and-from work.
So, if you’re hoping to save money on car insurance, don’t use your car for business!
Instead, look at using public transport, hitching a ride with colleagues, or hopping in a taxi. It might be slightly less convenient – but it stands to save you a lot of money!
Make sure your address is correct
We’ve talked a lot already about how insurers calculate risk and the thousands of risk-factors that they consider when you look for insurers – and your address is a big one of those risk factors.
Every address in the UK has a different level of risk associated with it. If you live in an area where car crime is particularly high, or the local roads have seen lots of accident claims, your insurer will consider your car to be at a greater risk of theft or damage.
Now, moving house to reduce your insurance policy probably won’t be cost-effective – but you should always make sure your address is up-to-date – and, if you’re considering a move in the near future, you might want to call your cover provider and check that your new home won’t send your policy cost sky-rocketing.
Car.co.uk provides a great price comparison insurance quote.