Cheapest car insurance uk
How to choose the best cheap car insurance uk policy and drive down your costs ?
The price of the average uk car insurance policy fell by an impressive 14 per cent last year, currently standing £392 a year.
So before you agree to that expensive renewal quote from your existing provider, remember that compare car insurance uk could bag you a much better deal. This means drivers could actually save a whopping £300 a year by simply switching to a better deal.
The type of short term car insurance uk you get varies according to the extent of protection it provides and how much it costs you. But what do all the options mean and how do you get the best cheap uk car insurance deal ?
Fully comprehensive versus third party
Fully comprehensive is traditionally the most expensive and covers everything, damage to your car, personal injury costs and any third party’s vehicle and property.
On very old, cheap cars, annual comprehensive premiums can cost more than the car is worth. But it’s a must if you are buying a car using a credit agreement or a loan because if the car is a write-off or stolen you still have to continue paying the finance.
Third party insurance is the minimum legal cover allowed and is typically comparatively cheaper. It covers damage to the other person’s car or compensation but if your own car is stolen, burnt out or damaged it is not covered. Third party will often come as third party, fire and theft or can be beefed up using add on insurance such as fire and theft.
But is third party cheaper budget car insurance uk ?
If you are considering third party insurance double check that it is actually cheaper. One of the upshots of the rising cost of insurance for young or risky drivers over recent years is that third party cover, the one they usually take, has shot up in price and can be more expensive than comprehensive. The best way to double check is to use a car insurance compare uk finder.
How the no claims discount works ?
You typically get a 30 per cent discount after one year of claim free driving, rising to 65 per cent after four or five years. But car insurance companies uk vary. Some go up to a 70 per cent maximum while others specialising in younger drivers will give higher discounts at an earlier stage.
Many car insurance brokers uk now offer the opportunity to pay a bit more to protect your no claims bonus. The rules vary but you may be able to make two claims in three years, for example, before your bonus is affected. Protecting your bonus will not stop your insurer from hiking up the premium at renewal following a claim. But at least you won’t lose your no claims bonus on top.
Other options : your policy decoded
Protected no claims
This is an added extra that will cost you around £50 or more, depending on your car insurance quote uk cost. It means that if you make a claim you do not lose your all important no claims discount. Usually, it protects you against the first one or two claims in a year, or over a longer period.
This is an added extra that covers your legal costs if you are involved in an accident and it isn’t your fault, this covers the cost of solicitors going after some compensation for you, for either an injury, the loss of your car for a period of time, or the cost of your public transport. It adds about £25 to car insurance quotes uk. Whether it is worth it is a grey area, as there are plenty of no win, no fee solicitors out there for injury claims. On the other hand, it costs about £2 per month for some piece of mind.
Car hire / courtesy car
If you are in an accident this will provide a car for you while yours is being repaired. But be aware almost all have time limits and you will not get the use of a hire car forever. It’s worth considering whether in the case of an accident you could do without your car.
Legal cover and car hire warning
If you are in an accident that isn’t your fault, it’s highly likely you will be offered the chance to try and get a hire car through legal cover, ie a solicitor acting on your behalf will claim against the other party. Remember, these costs are not guaranteed to be won back and should be reasonable, otherwise you may face problems down the line.
The price of insurance can add a lot to the cost of motoring so it’s worth knowing the factors that affect the premium you are quoted. Shop around and compare quotes from different insurers. They base their premiums on their claims experiences, which naturally differs.
One company may see your area as higher risk than others. One may charge more because of your occupation. Shopping around on the internet makes it even easier because you can quickly see the effect of, for example, accepting a larger excess.
The starting point is the type of car you want to insure. There are many different insurance categories, with price, performance, and the cost of replacement parts the main factors that dictate the one your car falls into. Driving a smaller car is the best way to cut the cost of insurance.
The more powerful your engine, and the more changes you make to your car (unless they are for security), the more you’ll be charged. But it is important to always include any modifications made to your car when applying, otherwise your insurance won’t be valid if the worst happens.
Your age, occupation and address all affect the price you are quoted.
It used to be the case that the price will also depend on your sex, but thanks to new European court of justice rules which came into effect on December 21 2012 insurers can can’t charge you a different price according to which sex you are, this was particularly good news for young male drivers who are usually seen as the most risky.
You will usually pay more if you live in a city rather than in a rural area. Parking your car on the street overnight, rather than in a garage, will also mean higher premiums.
It is possible to make your insurance cheaper by increasing the “excess” amount on the policy. This is the amount of money that you will have to pay towards repairs before the insurer pays out. The higher the excess, the cheaper the premium.
The best time to look for car insurance is when you are due to renew your current cover. Cancelling a contract when it still has time to run is likely to incur a penalty charge. However, it can still be worth switching insurer if the savings are greater than the penalty. See the section on getting the best deal below.
You may be given the option of a payment plan to pay your car insurance premiums. These are basically a loan from the insurer that you then pay back in monthly instalments. The insurer won’t shout about it, but these plans can have punishing interest rates. They may be offered on a 0% interest basis, or you could investigate the possibility of using a 0 % credit card with regular repayments to cover the cost. Otherwise, it is best to pay for insurance up front.
High risk categories
Some insurers might class you as higher risk if you are a sports professional, entertainer, barman, chef or builder, among other occupations. But you may be able to avoid having your premium loaded by shopping around.
Some insurers specialise in covering people traditionally regarded as higher risk, or non standard. Even if you can’t avoid having your premium loaded, the extra you are charged is now typically in the region of 10 per cent or 15 per cent, down from 30 per cent or 40 per cent.
If you suffer from a health condition that could affect your ability to drive, including epilepsy, vision impairment, certain heart conditions or sleeping disorders, or if you are taking any medication that could do the same, you must inform the Dvla. If you don’t, you could be charged with a criminal offence.
How to get the best deals : simple steps
If you want to compare several insurers to find the best deal you can use an online comparison website.
Unfortunately, searching just one site will not guarantee that you are seeing all the policies available to you. There are several comparison sites out there and each of them competes to compare the widest range of insurers, but no one site has them all.
Additionally, some insurers will not be displayed on any comparison sites.
Finally, as well as the comparison sites, get quotes directly from Aviva and Direct line, two insurers that are not found on comparison sites but who are known to provide competitive quotes.
Insurers will often offer discounts on their prices or special deals that only run for a short time. It may be that an insurer is offering to beat your renewal quote, or is offering to insurer your for 12 months for the price of 10. Keep an eye out for any deals.
The cost of making a claim and no claims bonus
Making a claim does not automatically mean you lose your no claims discount. It depends whether the claim is a “fault” or “not fault” claim.
This is not just a question of whether or not you were to blame for the accident, but depends on whether your insurer can recover all its costs from someone else.
For example, if you skid on black ice and hit a wall, your claim would be classed as “fault”, even though you were not to blame, simply because your insurer can’t recoup the cost of fixing your car from anyone else.
Where another driver is involved, unless it can be proved beyond doubt that the other driver was to blame, the two insurers will often settle a claim on a 50 : 50 or 80 : 20 basis. This means both drivers will lose some of their no claims bonus. With most insurance companies, you will lose two years of no claims bonus if you have a fault claim.
Be warned that it really is up to the insurer to decide whether to uphold your no claims bonus after a claim. It is unlikely that you will any contractual rights to reverse your insurers decision if you have made a claim and the bonus is removed. Individual insurers may be willing to listen so it can be worth a polite letter.
Making a claim
If your car is stolen, report it to the police first and then your insurer. You will have to wait a while because many cars are stolen by joyriders and later recovered.
If it is never found or is a write off, then you may face another problem. Your car may have been in good condition with a low mileage, and the amount the insurer gives you may not allow you to replace it with an equivalent machine.
In that situation, get hold of a car buyer’s guide, Glass’s guide is the most frequently used. If its tables support the insurance company, you’ll find it hard to get a better offer, even if the car was in good condition.
If you have been in an accident and the other driver was uninsured, personal injury claims and some damage claims will be met by the Motor insurers bureau.
This is financed by a levy on all insurance companies and was set up to compensate victims who would otherwise lose out through no fault of their own.
It will also pay out if you are hit by a driver who has bought insurance from one of the fly by night unauthorised companies that offer cheap insurance. If you find yourself in this position, tell the police.