Car Insurance renewals are always one of the most dreaded times of the year, no matter if you’re a brand new driver looking for their first insurance policy, or a seasoned veteran with well over a decade’s worth of no claims discount still in tact, you’ll still wince when the renewal quote drops through the letterbox.
Luckily, though, there are a few things you can do to try and keep your renewal quotes as low as possible – let us here at Scrap Car Comparison talk you through some of your options.
1 – Pay Annually
Let’s get one of the biggest ones out of the way early, as this basically fits into the confusing section of “pay more to pay less”. While that may sound like a strange strategy, if you pay for your insurance monthly, you’re effectively taking out a loan with the insurance company and as such have to pay the interest on your monthly payments. Figures produced by leading money saving experts have shown that on average a motorist can save around £200 by paying annually as opposed to monthly – although if you are a younger driver this figure will be much higher due to the higher premium in general.
2 – Increase your Voluntary Excess
Another one that fits into the “pay more to pay less” category, although this time it’s only if you have to make a claim that you would have to pay this additional amount. Your excess is the amount that you will be happy to pay towards any claims that you make – this figure would be on top of any compulsory excess that the insurer has set. While you can set your voluntary excess to £0, you can see a significant reduction in your premium if you’re able to up that figure, with most insurers allowing you to set this somewhere in the region of £300-£1000.
3 – Be Sensible with Add-ons
Many insurance policies today come with a range of add-ons, such as windscreen cover, personal accident cover, legal assistance, a courtesy car and protected no-claims bonuses. While each of these can be incredibly useful in their own right, it’s worth making sure that you are actually paying for the services you need. You may also find it’s cheaper to go elsewhere with some of your extras, even if you’re having to pay twice, the combined figure may still be lower than if you’d gone all-in with one insurer.
4 – Check your Cover Type
If you have heard the suggestion that it’s cheaper to go for third party insurance (the minimum level required by law, and only covers damage or injury to others and offers no cover for you or your car) rather than fully comprehensive, then unfortunately you have been given dated information. While it used to be true that third party insurance was the cheapest option, insurers noticed a trend that young or new drivers were going for third party only, which saw an increase in claims made on third party policies, and pushing prices up. The figures have now fully reversed and third party only policies are now the most expensive option, whereas fully comprehensive is often the cheapest.
5 – Reduce your Mileage
If you can reduce the mileage on your premium, then you can expect to see a dip in the amount you’re asked to pay. Simply put, if you’re driving less, there’s less of a risk to insurers that they’ll have to pay out for you. However, be sure to put an honest estimate for your mileage, as if you put lower miles down purely to get a cheaper rate and continue to drive at your previous amount, then your insurers could invalidate your policy.
6 – Find a Safe Parking Space
Where you park your car has an effect on the quotes you can expect to receive when shopping for car insurance. If you are able to keep your car off the road at night, either in a garage or a driveway, then your car will be deemed as having a lower chance of being vandalised or stolen, which relates to a lower risk for insurers, and a lower insurance premium as a result.
7 – Additional Drivers
Putting an additional driver onto your policy can often bring your premiums down, providing they themselves are safe and experienced. An additional driver, sometimes known as a named driver, is someone who is insured to drive a car, but is not identified as the main driver of that specific vehicle. This can help younger, inexperienced drivers with their premiums as they can add their parents to the policy and the insurers will assume they will spend less time at the wheel, with a more experienced pair of hands in control at other times, which can see a reduction in prices.
However, it’s important to be clear and honest with who the actual main driver is going to be. While it will be considerably cheaper to put a parent or guardian as the main driver with the newer driver as a named driver, if you know that this is only being done to reduce your premiums, this is known as fronting – a form of car insurance fraud – and can not only invalidate the policy but could also result in prosecution.
8 – Consider the Car you’re Driving
As a general rule of thumb, a smaller engine equals a smaller insurance quote, although this of course isn’t always the case. Much of your quote will be based on the insurance group that your car falls into, and you can find out how to see your car’s insurance group here.
As always, though, there are some exceptions to the rule. While you can expect a smaller insurance premium on a supermini than that of a sporty SUV, you may find that a beloved classic may also be quite affordable, as the insurers will be confident that the car will be loved and cared for in the highest possible manner.
9 – Standard is King
As tempting as it may be to modify your bog standard one-litre hatchback so it’s a little less embarrassing when you meet up with your mates, modifications, whether performance, stylistic or even audio, will hike up your renewal quote. Not only will the modifications make your car more expensive to repair, thus a higher price, but they will also be a lot more attractive to thieves, which is another big red flag to insurers.
10 – Increased Security for Reduced Rates
The only set of modifications that’s likely to reduce your premium instead of the opposite is improving the security systems of the car. Adding alarms, immobilisers or locking wheel nuts are all additional layers of safety and security from an insurer’s perspective – however it’s always worth just checking the quotes of insurance both with and without them first, to see whether the savings offered will offset the cost of installation in the first place.
11 – Build a Good No-Claims Discount
This one may not be particularly fair on newer drivers, but building up your no-claims bonus is always a surefire way to get your premiums down. The longer you’ve been on the road without a claim, the more attractive you are to potential insurers, the more you’re going to get slashed off the cost of your annual premium.
12 – Check your Job Description
Your profession has an impact on how much your insurer’s feel it will affect your driving habits. For example, if you’re an actor, there’s a high probability that your car’s going to be parked in a city centre late at night, or if you’re a motoring journalist then the assumption is you’ll drive everything like you’re Jeremy Clarkson and your premiums will shoot up. The way you define your job is key – there may be a noticeable difference between calling yourself a chef or a cook, for example. Likewise if your job doesn’t require you to commute and your car is only used to take you out at the weekends, you can find smaller premiums heading your way if you only insure for “social, domestic and pleasure” usage. As with all of these, though, it’s key to be honest with your title as misleading the insurers can, again, invalidate your policy.
13 – Consider a Black Box
With modern technology constantly evolving, insurers now have the capability to monitor their drivers’ habits and driving standards, which means they can offer much more tailored offers to the individual. Telematics car insurance is based on data sent to the insurer direct from your car, either via a black box or your smartphone. A black box also works as a tracker so can help find your car if it’s stolen. If you know you’re a careful driver and have nothing to hide, then going for telematics insurance can have a strong positive effect on your premiums, and is a popular choice among younger and newer drivers.
14 – Shop Around
As easy as it may be to take a look at your renewal quote, shrug, and say “could be worse” – it could also be much better. Make sure you have a look around at what’s available, even if you intend on sticking with your current insurer. If you can prove that you have found more competitive offers elsewhere, you may be surprised at how flexible your initial quote from your current insurer may be – on average those that shop around can save up to £250 on their quotes, so getting on to price comparison websites should always be one of your first ports of call.
15 – The Early Bird Catches the Worm
You can buy car insurance as far as 29 days out from the start of your policy, and you can lock your quote in from the moment you say yes, even if you’re four weeks away from the start of the policy itself. Research has also shown that the longer you leave it to buy your insurance, the more you can expect to pay, with a well-known price comparison website suggesting that its customers could save 40% on their premium if they bought the policy 26 days early, when compared with those renewing on the day.
Has your latest renewal quote for your car left a sour taste in your mouth? Is it too much to ask for your tired old vehicle? Then perhaps now is the time to put it out to pasture and look for something new. Our team of knowledgeable and friendly advisors at Scrap Car Comparison can find you the very best offer to take it off your hands and to one of our trusted network of scrap car dealers and buyers. Get started today with our instant quote generator and see how much you could get to put towards your next car today.