Car insurance is a legal requirement for all drivers in the UK. While it may seem like a big expense, car insurance gives you financial protection should you be involved in an accident while driving. It can help give you peace of mind that even if an accident was not your fault, your repair bills and other costs will be covered.
Shockingly, it is estimated there are around one million uninsured drivers on Britain’s roads . Uninsured drivers cost all drivers money. The Motor Insurers’ Bureau handles claims against uninsured drivers and says the bill for these is paid for through the insurance premiums of all law-abiding motorists. They say uninsured drivers add around £15 to each motor insurance premium .
When buying car insurance, you first need to decide what kind of cover you require.
Despite third party being the lowest level of cover, it is not always the cheapest and fully comprehensive cover is not always the most expensive. Free Price Compare can help you search hundreds of providers for third party, third party, fire and theft and fully comprehensive policies, so you can find the best one for you.
When looking for a car insurance policy, you will be asked a set of questions. These help to ascertain your level of risk as a driver so your policy can be quoted accordingly. Car insurance providers do not know you personally or what kind of driver you are. They use the answers to these questions to paint a picture of you and the type of driver you may be. You will be asked for:
Another question you will be asked by your car insurance provider is what you plan to use the car for. Answering this accurately and truthfully is important, as you could be refused a payment following an accident if you are found to be uninsured. There are six main classes of use:
Choosing the right level of use is important as not only is it illegal to have the wrong type of cover, but the wrong one can also invalidate your policy.
Your insurer will also ask you what extras you wish to add on to your policy. Options include protecting your no-claims bonus. The no-claims bonus is a reduction in premium which builds up for every year that no claim is made and you can opt to preserve some or all of it even if you make a claim. Breakdown cover and a courtesy car are other options, as well as whether you want personal injury cover, which will pay out for injuries caused in a car accident. You may also want to opt for legal expenses cover, which recovers legal expenses from the person who was at fault in the accident. Other extras include lost or stolen keys cover and windscreen replacement and repair cover.
Other than in buying a car insurance policy or adjusting its terms and conditions, the only other time you are likely to speak to your provider is in the event of an accident. Your car insurance company is likely to ask questions such as:
After an accident, try to note down as many details as possible (if you are able and if it is safe to do so). Try to take photographs of the scene of the accident or of any resulting damage. All of this detail can be used when trying to settle a claim.
Making false claims to try to lower your car insurance premium is illegal and risky. But there are some things you can do legally to try to get cheaper car insurance.
You could consider getting a black box installed in your car. This records your driving habits so your insurance provider can monitor your driving style. If you can show that you are a safe driver, it may result in reduced premiums. Other safety features such as an immobiliser can also help to reduce the price you pay. Most insurers prefer a “Thatcham approved device” (this is a ratings scale for immobilisers and alarms) added to a vehicle.
You could also try to reduce your annual mileage. Those who drive fewer miles are considered less ‘at risk’ of being involved in an accident. Never lie about your mileage but look instead for opportunities to use your car less. Could you travel by public transport or walk sometimes to help reduce the number of miles you travel by car?
Make sure you let insurers know if you have a no claims bonus. If you do not make a claim on your car insurance, you may be offered a no claims bonus. It is a reward from an insurer for not making a claim. For every extra year that no claim is made, a bigger discount is applied. There is usually a maximum period over which you can build a no claims bonus. For most insurers, this stands at 15 years.
Increasing your voluntary excess (the amount you volunteer to pay in the event of an accident) can also lower your premium but it is important that this is a realistic figure you can actually afford to pay should the need arise.
Another way to reduce the cost of your car insurance is to pay for it annually. This works out cheaper than paying in monthly instalments. Premiums can be reduced by as much as 20%.
Never let your car insurance renew automatically. This usually leads to a far higher premium. Around a third of motorists let this happen. Free Price Compare can help you to find the cheapest cover for you.
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