Insurance is a curious product. You’re buying a product you may never use and hope you never have to but will be relieved to have if you do. Some insurances are optional while others like car insurance are mandatory. Yes, you must have car insurance if you own or drive a car. So let’s look at how to buy car insurance at the best price.
Unfortunately, car insurance can be very expensive and is on the rise. That’s especially true if you’re young and inexperienced or driving a high-performance car. In fact, for a young person, it’s not uncommon for an annual policy to cost more than the car’s value. If you’re currently looking for a car be sure to get an insurance quote before purchasing it.
Young people do have a few options to help reduce the costs. If you’re just driving your parent’s car and are not the main driver they could add you to their policy. While more expensive, having your own policy carries the advantage of building up your no-claims discount which can hugely reduce your annual policy if you can avoid making claims for one or more years.
Some insurers will utilise the use of a tracker in your car which gives them a record of your driving habits. If you’re a safe and steady driver this could be a great option and you could make significant savings. However, if you have trouble sticking to speed limits you could end up paying more.
The good news is there are hundreds of companies offering car insurance, this level of competition along with the generally high costs can lead to big savings if you shop around for the best quote.
Whether you’re insuring a car for the first time or have just received your renewal notice it’s important to check the market for the best deals available. You’ll be amazed at the difference in price between the cheapest and most expensive quotes you receive. So never just accept and pay your renewal notice out of apathy.
Insurance companies rely on this apathy to overcharge you. In fact, they’ve made it so easy nowadays by usually auto-renewing your policy on the due date. They try and justify this by saying they are trying to protect you from the risk of being uninsured, but to my mind, it’s just a ruse to maintain the business that they would possibly otherwise lose. My renewal notice is always higher than the previous year despite having many years of no claims so I never auto-renew.
If for whatever reason, you don’t want to switch providers then find the cheapest quote on the market on a like-for-like basis with your current policy and then ask your provider if they can beat or at least match it. Be sure to tell them too if there are any changes to your circumstances or if you’ve made any modifications to the car. If you don’t you could invalidate your policy.
So what’s the easiest way to scan the market and when should you do it to get the best results? Fortunately, nowadays you can browse auto insurance policies online via a laptop sitting in your living room. Research has shown the best time to get a quote is around 23 days before the renewal date, as detailed here. The later you leave it after this time the more expensive your quote is likely to be.
There are a number of price comparison sites that will do all the heavy lifting for you and provide the necessary information. Once you’ve entered your personal and car details you will be presented with a list of insurers together with their quotes. Try experimenting with the levels of cover to see how it affects the prices. Although you would have been asked specifics about the level of cover you want you will find that each insurer will offer slightly different terms so be careful when making direct comparisons.
If you can afford it, it’s wise to take out a comprehensive policy which should cover you if you are deemed responsible for an accident, unlike third-party policies. Also, check if you’re covered if you happen to have an accident with an uninsured driver.
Be aware that comparison sites don’t cover all insurers so you may want to do more than one to get a wider view of the market. There are some insurers you won’t see on any comparison site.
Having car insurance is a necessary evil if you drive a car but take the time to make sure you have the right level of cover and at the best price available so you can spend more of your hard-earned money on something more rewarding and fun.