How do I get the cheapest car insurance?
Very cheap car insurance does exist. However, insurance is all about risk. To find the very lowest cost car insurance quotes you need to:
- show insurers that you represent the lowest risk
of making a claim;
- Compare multiple quotes using an unbiased comparison site;
- Find the insurance companies that offer the lowest premiums to
someone with your unique profile;
- weed out the companies with too many hidden extras or bad reviews.
Which is the cheapest car insurance company?
There is no insurance company which is cheaper than all the rest for every
driver. Motor insurance companies use statistics to work out how risky a
particular car or driver is but most of them interpret these stats in different ways.
This is why some insurers offer cheaper quotes than others for, perhaps,
younger drivers, whilst offering more expensive premiums for the over fifties.
Others may provide lower rates for family cars, whilst offering policies for
sports cars which are a lot less competitive than other companies. This is why
you need to get multiple quotes.
Are price comparison sites the best way for me to find cheaper insurance?
Sometimes, but not always. Price comparison sites get a commission for every
policy they sell and this adds to the cost. Also, most of them bundle in extras
such as 'free' courtesy cars or legal assistance which earn them extra
commission and often represent poor value for money.
They do, however, usually provide instant quotations, whilst buying through an
independent broker, who may be able to find even lower priced premiums, can take
you more time. On the other hand they are no use to motorists who fall outside
certain standard criteria.
When are price comparison not recommended?
Motorists with even minor convictions, whether criminal or driving ones; people
in certain postcodes, or with particular occupations, or driving certain types
of vehicle, or with any number of non-standard circumstances run the risk of
having a quotation obtained through a price comparison site refused by the
insurer or, even worse, accepted but with with a subsequent claim being refused
because of non-disclosure. If there is any doubt you may be best talking to a
Is it safe to just accept the lowest quotation?
No, you should never accept an insurance quote without reading the
documentation, and checking out the insurer, first. Some companies will offer
you a low initial premium but load on all kinds of extra charges. For instance,
if you change your job, your parking arrangements, your hours of work, your
mileage, or any other factors which could affect your premium, you have to
contact your insurer or broker for a 'mid-term adjustment'. Some will do this
for free, some will charge you lot of money. I have seen charges as high as £120
for just registering a change of address! All these charges have to be explained
in the documentation which has to be made easily available to you; it is vital
that you read it carefully.
Also, some insurers behave in a less ethical manner than others or are more
difficult to contact when you need them. If the insurer you are thinking about
isn't a well-known brand, checking them out on Google could help you avoid an
Am I best staying with my current insurer?
Rarely. If you have agreed to have your policies automatically renewed every
year you will probably find that the premium increases every time. Hardly any
insurers point this out so the majority of motorists go along with it and pay
more expensive premiums than they need to as a result. It is highly likely that
if you shop around each year you will find better offers.
Keeping Your Premiums Low
Should I buy a protected no claims bonus?
Often, these are not worth the paper they are written on. Most people believe
that buying one means that if they have an accident their premium won't increase
as a result of it. Wrong. The NCB may stay the same but the premium it is based
on will go up, perhaps substantially.
For example, let us say your basic premium was £500 with a 20% no-claims
discount, meaning a final premium of £400. You have an accident, your NCB stays
the same but your basic premium goes up to £700! With your NCB still at 20% your
final premium is £560; a £160 increase! That protected policy doesn't look such
good value now, does it.
Should I claim for slight accidents?
You could consider paying for the odd small bump yourself or doing a deal with
the other driver. But you would need to keep quiet about it. Strictly speaking
you should tell your insurer about every accident you have, however minor. These
will be marked on your record and could result in higher premiums even if you
have not made a claim. Should you report every accident? I'll leave that to you.
Should I accept cut-price extras?
A lot of insurance salespeople (and yes, 'customer service' people are sales
staff) will offer you extras such as a guaranteed courtesy car, legal
representation, personal accident cover etc. If/when you turn them down you may
be offered them at a greatly reduced rate. If you really want to buy them then
by all means do so but be aware that at the next renewal they will be quietly
slipped in again, only this time at full price. Don't fall for it.
Are telematics a good idea?
If you're in a high risk bracket, consider a telematics or 'black box' policy.
These reward good, considerate drivers with lower premiums. They also impose
road discipline; if you exceed a speed limit, brake too hard, take a corner too
fast, too often, your insurance company will know about it and could either
increase your premium or even refuse to continue to insure you at all. This
could make you a safer driver but it could also rebound on you if you have risky
Is there anything else I should do?
Think about the car you are driving. Would it make economic sense to change it
for a newer one in a lower insurance bracket? Many modern cars have much better
safety profiles, better miles per gallon, more power per cc than those that are
even just a few years older. There are many low-cost lease deals available these
days and it could actually work out cheaper to drive a clean, modern, reliable
new car than your older one with it's high maintenance costs and occasional
Try to make sure the car is parked off the road every night and, if possible,
during the day, too. Car thefts and acts of vandalism occur much more when cars
are heft by the roadside which means more claims for the insurance companies and
heartache, inconvenience and higher premiums for you.
Consider extra safety precautions. Remember that many keyless entry systems are
insecure but extra alarms and a good steering lock may deter all but the most
determined thieves. You'll feel safer and you might get a premium reduction too.
Fit a dashcam. You can buy them very cheaply and they can make all the
difference in proving the other driver was liable for that bump (I know, I've
benefited from one myself)!
Ask for a discount! If you are happy with your current insurer, why not ring them up at
renewal time, point out that you are looking for cheaper quotes elsewhere and
ask them for a premium reduction? The worst they can do is say 'no', but since
they will probably want to keep your business they may well come back with a
cheaper quotation. It's always worth asking. You may yet be offered very, very cheap car insurance!