The truth is, leaving it to the last minute to obtain a quote for car insurance can lead to you being rushed into buying the wrong policy. The best way to make sure you get a good deal is to gather a few quotes then compare the levels of cover and premiums.
While you can get car insurance quotes up to a month in advance, research suggests that doing this approximately three weeks in advance of your existing policy running out can save an average of over £280 compared with leaving it until the day before or day of needing your cover to start.
It pays to get the timing right
Drivers who procrastinate when taking out a policy have less room for negotiation. It’s illegal to have a car on the road without insurance cover, so even if don’t plan to use the vehicle, if you park in the street, you need to take out insurance. You’ll get a better deal if you plan ahead.
Your existing insurer will send a renewal notice showing the cost of taking out a new policy with the same company. You will then have a price to compare against what you’ve been offered.
The advantages of taking action early
There are several reasons for seeking out at least one alternative quote. What’s particularly important is that the timing of your action could save you hundreds pounds on a typical policy.
The main reason for giving yourself approximately three weeks to arrange cover is fairly straightforward. As with any other purchase, buyers will feel pressured into making an impulse buy when there is a looming deadline. In this case, the pressure is even greater than it would be for other items you might buy because of the need to have cover in place when your existing policy runs out.
How to benefit
While the biggest gains tend to be made by people who take out a policy three weeks early, there are still savings to be made if you have less time. The benefits tend to reduce as the renewal date approaches, so taking out cover two weeks ahead of time will be cheaper than if you leave it until one week. The most expensive policies tend to be those that are arranged at the last minute.
Other factors also come into play. In some cases, you’ll have no control over the issues that can influence the price of your policy. For example, age matters. Younger drivers can gain more than their older counterparts in terms of savings if they buy the new policy around three weeks in advance.
The simple message is that leaving it until the last minute means there will be less time to find the best deal, even if you’re arranging cover through a company that compares prices from more than one insurer on your behalf.
Other ways to keep costs down
In addition to arranging the policy in good time, there are other steps you can take to keep costs down. The main thing you can do is shop around and compare quotes from several insurers. You can do this by contacting each of them. Alternatively, it’s often easier to use a company that can offer you several options. This is particularly important if you fall into one of the higher-risk categories.
You might also be able to save money by increasing your voluntary excess and taking extra security measures to protect your car. Minimising policy add-ons can help you to limit costs too.