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Which is the cheapest car insurance?

Looking for the cheapest car insurance? Want the rock bottom price? Getting cheap insurance by buying the lowest possible level of cover and the minimum of optional extras used to save us a lot of money but the best bargains can now be found with really good benefits, at very low cost. Read on for the secrets insurers don't want you to know!

Does when you buy a UK policy make a difference?

Amazingly, the date you pick to buy your policy can have an enormous impact on the premium you'll pay! If you wait until your renewal date before you start getting quotations you will almost certainly have to pay the most. Insurers love motorists who are well-organised and have cash to hand; and these drivers tend to renew their cover well in advance. Research shows that people who arrange their policies a month or so before they are due are almost always offered far better premiums. This can often mean substantial reductions in price, particularly for young drivers who otherwise face the most expensive premiums. So, don't wait until renewal date, but get online and compare prices at least a month in advance. Most insurers will allow you to reserve your new policy 30 days before the old one expires.

Is third-party cover cheaper?

3rd party, or third party fire and theft policies were once much cheaper than comprehensive ones. All that has now changed. This is because the claims record of drivers who bought them were poor. Many were younger drivers who had far more accidents, and at higher speeds, than older drivers, and consequently caused more damage, injuries and even loss of life. Others were short of money and so drove older, and more unsafe vehicles; which they often failed to maintain properly. A high level of claims were due to poor brakes, lighting and steering systems which were substandard because of poor maintenance. Insurers now look upon drivers who are seeking 3PFT cover with suspicion and it is common for premium levels to be set even higher than it is for comprehensive insurance, which is far better value for money.

Is it cheaper to add another driver to the policy?

Adding a more experienced driver with a good accident or claims record can reduce premiums, particularly for very young drivers who may get a substantial reduction if a parent or older friend is included on the policy. It is important however that this person actually (a) is aware of this and gives permission and (b) drives the car from time to time. Otherwise, if you make a claim the insurer could well accused you of fraud; and not only refuse to pay out but also possibly take legal action.

Should I use a UK price comparison site?

Absolutely, but bear in mind that it is not necessarily your best option. All price comparison websites charge a commission from the companies that they allow to offer quotations. Many of these companies are not actually underwriters, but brokers. They also get a commission on all policies sold. So, you sometimes have to pay two sets of charges before any money is actually handed over to the insurer. Going direct to a broker, rather than through a comparer, may save you money.

Do comparison sites all produce the same results?

No. Each one negotiates their own commission level with their insurance panel. You could be offered exactly the same policy from exactly the same insurer at a different price on each of the major websites. Also, there may well be much cheaper policies available from other companies which are not on these panels, but you will not be offered these. If you do decide to buy through one of these websites, check the prices on several of them, and not just one; you may get a far better deal in this way.

Should I use an insurance broker?

Brokers often deal with smaller underwriters who can offer cheaper premiums to certain classes of motorist. For instance, if you drive a sports car, or a very expensive limousine; live in a high risk area; belong to a car club; have a poor claims record or motoring convictions; drive a classic car; own several cars; drive a very rare model; or have any other factors outside the norm, visiting a local broker might be your very lowest cost option.

What does excess in car insurance mean?

The excess in a policy is the amount that you have to pay in the event of a fault claim, before the insurer pays the rest. There are two types; a compulsory one which is set by the company, and a voluntary one on top of that. If you offer to pay a high voluntary excess, that can indicate that you are confident that you will drive safely and carefully, and will offer a much lower risk of an accident. This could lead to a lower premium. However, it is important to remember that accidents happen without warning, and you might suddenly be called upon to hand over a very substantial sum of money if you are involved in a collision, or even injure someone. You should balance the benefits against the possible liability of having to make a substantial contribution towards compensation costs.

What is blackbox insurance?

Black box (often called Telematic) cover involves having a recording device in your car which monitors how you drive it. They are very common for younger drivers and others who have perhaps had a claims record in the past. Conditions can be different from a normal policy; there may for instance be a maximum mileage, or a curfew during late evenings or weekends. Many drivers feel that these systems intrude too much on personal privacy, but on the other hand, it allows the insurer to personalise premiums much more accurately. This can be an advantage to inexperienced motorists, first time drivers, those with a provisional licence or younger drivers who do not have a no claims record.

Does Black Box make insurance cheaper?

If you drive erratically, exceed speed limits, drive during the riskier times of the day, exceed an agreed mileage, accelerate or break hard, then all these factors, and many others, will be reported to your insurer. This could mean that your premium is increased, or that cover is actually withdrawn. If an insurer withdrew your insurance, or refused to cover you again, this factor would be recorded on a database which most insurers can access, and future cover would be either more difficult, expensive, or even impossible to buy.

On the other hand, if you were a careful motorist who stayed within speed limits and drove with consideration for other road users, with an appreciation of road and weather conditions, you may find premiums being reduced in the future.

Do I have to accept a renewal premium?

If you are happy with your present insurer, have been well treated and are offered a reasonable premium then you may not want to go to the time and trouble of searching for another cheaper one. However, often you will find that premiums are sneakily increased every year. If this happens you have got nothing to lose by telephoning the customer service staff at your present company, explaining that the renewal cost is too high for you and that you intend to shop around for cheaper quotes. You may well find that the proposed premium can be reduced; the staff in most companies have a large degree of discretion and they do not like to lose good customers. It may save you a great deal of time, trouble and expense if you stay with your current insurer but get a lower price.

Can I pay monthly for car insurance?

Many people who are short of ready money prefer to pay on a month-to-month basis, with the smallest possible advance deposit. This can help considerably with budgeting but it comes at a cost. Companies which allow their clients to spread payments over a year or so charge for it; and interest payments can be heavy. Apart from this, many of the cheaper insurers will only accept payment in full in advance. This means that those who wish to pay a small deposit (or even no deposit at all) and the balance over an extended period cannot take advantage of the lower basic premiums that these companies offer. By buying monthly car insurance you could end up having to pay more for the policy, as well as interest charges on top of the premium.

It is therefore much cheaper to buy your insurance with one single payment, and try to avoid so-called 'no deposit car insurance'.

Which is the cheapest insurer?

There isn't one. They all have their own niche that they prefer to deal with. For instance, if you dealt with Elephant, More Than, or Privilege, and you were a higher risk driver, you may have found them the most economical. On the other hand, if you were a very experienced driver with a good safe record you may find LV to be much cheaper than the rest. The premium that you will be asked to pay depends on many different factors, and all insurers have different ways of working out how much to charge you based on these factors. You may for instance be a good careful motorist but live in an area with a high crime rate; one insurer could give you brownie points for being a safe driver, but add on a huge loading for living in a riskier postcode. Yet another may charge more than the rest for the fact that you drive a higher rated car. This is why so many people urge you to shop around and get multiple quotations; it is just very good advice.

Do I have to have car insurance?

If you drive a motor vehicle on a public highway, or anywhere else that the public have access to, it has to have an absolute minimum of third-party cover. Anyone charged with driving without insurance faces very severe penalties and the police now have multiple methods of tracing uninsured vehicles. It isn't worth the risk so get some quotations and buy a good cheap UK car insurance policy - or even the cheapest - now!

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