Choosing the right level of car insurance cover
There are 3 main options to choose from when buying car insurance. Remember, the lowest level of cover isn’t always the cheapest. Opting for a higher level of cover might give you more protection for a cheaper price.
How much car insurance costs
The average price of a comprehensive car insurance policy in the UK is £5542. Your own price will vary based on factors such as:
- Your age
- Where you live
- The value of your car
- How expensive it would be to repair or replace your car
You tend to get cheaper car insurance prices as you get older. Insurers see young drivers as riskier and therefore more likely to make a claim. This is usually because they have less driving experience and a higher chance of being involved in an accident.
Here are the average costs of policies for different age groups:
|Age||Average car insurance premium2|
2Confused.com Q2 2022 price index data
Why car insurance for new drivers might be expensive
Age and experience are 2 big factors in how much you pay for your car insurance. New drivers tend to be younger, and lack much experience behind the wheel. To an insurer, this makes them a bigger risk, which is reflected in the price.
With time comes experience, and for every year you don’t make a car insurance claim, you add a year to your no-claims bonus. This could see your policy become cheaper as your driving profile looks less risky.
Another way to show your insurer that you’re not a risky driver is to agree to have a telematics (black box) device installed.
A telematics car insurance policy – also known as black box cover – works out your car insurance price based on how you drive. A black box fitted to your car or an app on your phone measures your driving based on:
- How much you drive
- When you drive
This lets insurance companies build up a more tailored profile of you as a driver, which should result in a more accurate price. It’s often used by young drivers as a way to keep their car insurance costs in check.
To get a rough idea of how much you could expect to pay, use our car insurance calculator.
How to get cheaper car insurance
Unless you tell them otherwise, most insurers automatically renew your policy. The cost of insurance goes up and down, so don’t just accept the first price you’re offered. Shop around for cheaper car insurance prices and compare quotes to make sure you're getting the best policy for the price.
Here are 10 things you can do that could help you pay less for your car insurance:
1. Adding a named driver can lower prices. But remember, you should always list the person who drives the car most often as the main driver, and any occasional drivers as additional. Otherwise this is known as fronting, which is illegal.
2. Increasing your voluntary excess will change prices as you’re willing to a pay more towards any claims. Be sure to consider any compulsory excess listed on a policy as you’ll need to pay both the voluntary and compulsory excess if you make a claim.
3. Build up your no-claims bonus (NCB) to shave pounds off your premium. Some insurers might ask you for proof of your NCB, you should be able to get this from your previous or current insurer.
4. Pay annually if you can. Most insurers will charge interest or an admin fee if you choose to pay monthly and could end up costing you over 16% extra3.5. Watch out for unnecessary add-ons, such as breakdown cover or legal assistance, as this is likely to increase the cost of your quote. Only choose the add-ons you need.
6. Choosing the correct job title keeps your prices accurate as insurers use your occupation as a rating factor when calculating the price of your insurance.
7. Buy your policy early to get the cheapest price. Our data shows the later you leave it, the more you pay for your insurance. We think the best time to buy your car insurance is around 3 weeks before your renewal.
8. Compare different levels of cover - the most basic cover doesn’t necessarily make it the cheapest. In fact, comprehensive policies can often be cheaper even though you get a higher level of cover.
9. Think about how you use your car and pick the cover that matches your needs. Social use, social & commuting and business use offer different levels of cover depending on how you use your car.
10. Be accurate with your mileage so you’re only paying for miles you’re driving. The average yearly mileage is around 6,5003, but think about the types of trips you do and how often you do them. You can even check the mileage between your last MOTs to see how many miles you drove in the last 12 months.
3Based on Confused.com data Jan 2022 - Jun 2022
What types of cars can I insure?
Electric cars are still fairly new to the market. As a result, parts are less readily available so they may require specialist servicing. Insurers see this as a risk which could make them more expensive to insure.
Classic cars are often driven for leisure and tend to cover fewer miles. They also have lower speed limits, which is one of the reasons why insuring them is usually cheaper than standard car insurance.
Modified cars with updates like tinted windows, spoilers, and engine upgrades can make your ride unique. But they can also increase the risk of theft or an expensive repair bill. This is why insurers classify modifications as higher risk, which could hike up your costs. Make sure you declare any changes when you get a quote, so you have the right level of cover.
Imported cars brought to the UK from abroad could cost more to insure. Not only are they often higher spec and have more powerful engines, the cost to repair and source spare parts is usually higher. This is reflected in the price you pay.
How car insurance quotes are calculated
There’s a lot that goes into how much you pay for your car insurance. Insurance companies use dozens of factors to build up a picture of how likely you are to make a claim, which is reflected in your price.
Some of the bigger factors are:
- Where you live
- Your age
- The car you own
- What you do for a living
- Your driving history
- Your annual mileage
- How secure your car is
- Your voluntary excess
- Who else drives your car
- Where you live could affect your price. If you live in a built-up area with more vehicle crime you could pay more than someone living in a rural area where the risks are lower.
- Your age and driving experience are significant to insurers. Generally, the younger you are, the less driving experience you have. In insurers’ eyes this means you might be more likely to have an accident and make a claim.
- The car you drive could have a large bearing on your insurance costs. Bigger, high-performance and expensive models, as well as cars with modifications, could cost insurers more to repair after an accident. More valuable cars could also be more of a target for opportunistic thieves.
- What you do for a living is important as it gives an indication to insurers of how much time you spend on the road. Long days behind the wheel or travelling to multiple sites a day could increase your risk of making a claim.
- Your driving history including previous claims or accidents help give insurance companies an idea of how you drive. If you’ve made a claim in the past 5 years, it could affect the cost of your insurance. Driving convictions also contribute to the amount you pay.
- Your annual mileage tells insurers how much you’re on the road. The more miles you rack up, the greater the risk of an accident.
- How secure your car is could have a sizable impact on your policy. Cars fitted with an alarm, immobiliser and tracker are harder to steal and easier to recover. Robust security measures could help keep your costs down.
- Your voluntary excess is the amount of money you pay towards a car insurance claim. The higher this excess, the lower the price tends to be.
- Who else drives your car is important as it’s an additional risk. Depending on the named drivers’ age, experience and claims history, you could see your costs go up or down.
Car insurance add-ons
When you get your car insurance quote, you have the option to add some extra features or ‘add-ons’. Some are included as standard and others are optional. Remember to only add what you need as this could affect your price.
Breakdown cover could help you out if your car breaks down at the roadside. If it can’t be fixed, they usually tow you to a nearby garage or your home. Some policies include onward transport to help get you where you need to go, or European cover if you’re travelling further afield.
Motor legal protection, or legal cover as it’s also known, could help you recover certain uninsured losses. These are costs that aren’t covered by your own car insurance policy if you’re involved in a road accident that wasn’t your fault. Depending on the policy, it could include the cost of:
- A solicitor
- Medical treatment
- Overnight accommodation
- Travel costs
Courtesy car cover provides you with a replacement car if yours is in the garage following an accident.
Windscreen-cover pays for the repair or replacement of your windscreen, rear window or side windows following an accident.
Personal accident cover pays compensation if you’re injured in a road accident, even if you’re at fault. It also pays a lump sum if you die in a car accident.
NCB protection allows you to have a certain amount of ‘at fault’ accidents without affecting the bonus.
What our car insurance expert says
Don’t settle for your insurer’s renewal offer. Take just five minutes to compare prices with us and you could save £100s*. If you’re organised, you’ll usually see your cheapest price about 3 weeks before your insurance is due5.
5Based on Confused.com data 1 June 2021 - 25 July 2022
Car insurance expert
Need more help?
The best car insurance covers you for exactly what you need. There’s no one size fits all solution when it comes to insuring your car. When you get a quote with us you can select multiple add-ons to tailor your policy.
The pandemic has altered the way many people use their cars. If you're working from home more, for example, you might be using your car less. This means you might have a lower annual mileage, or your car is kept at a different place during the day than where you mentioned in your car insurance policy. You might even find that you no longer use your car for commuting at all.
If your car insurance is up for renewal, it's worth double checking all your details to make sure that they still reflect how you drive. For example, if you're now driving less, or aren't commuting, your insurance costs could be lower.
If your occupation has changed, for example if you've become unemployed or now have a second job, you should tell your insurer.
When you get quotes through Confused.com, you’ll usually see ‘soft searches’ on your credit report. These are nothing to worry about. They’re only visible to you and don’t affect your credit rating. A ‘soft search’ is usually just used to confirm your identity.
The only time you’ll see a ‘hard’ search on your credit history is if you choose to buy car insurance and pay for it monthly. This is because the monthly payment is paid over a contract period, usually 12 months. The insurer needs to check you’ll be able to cover the cost over the length of the policy.
Voluntary excess is the amount you have to pay in the event of a claim, in addition to any compulsory excesses set by the insurer. Usually this amount is deducted from any car insurance payout you might get.
You can change your compulsory excess to try and bring your overall car insurance costs down. But be aware that you have to pay this amount if you make a claim.
If you have a pickup and you’re looking for insurance, you need to go to our van insurance page to get a quote. This is because 4x4s are generally classified as cars and pickup trucks aren’t. This is due to pickups having longer wheel base and the fact they often exceed 3.5 tonnes.
A no-claims bonus (NCB) is the number of years that you haven’t claimed on your car insurance policy. Insurers offer discounts for each year you haven’t claimed. The more years you have, the bigger the discount as you’re less likely to claim in the future.
Each time you make a claim on your car insurance, your insurer might reduce your NCB by a number of years or even take it away completely.
Most insurance companies will only accept your NCB if you’ve earned it as a policyholder of a privately insured car.
When getting a quote, please enter your total NCB years as 0. It’s best to check with your chosen insurer before buying the policy to see if they’re able to accept any NCB from a company car.
Your job title, the industry you work in and your employment status will affect the price of your quote. This is because insurers use your occupation as a rating factor, and people in certain professions are seen as riskier than others. Our guide on how job titles affect your car insurance explains more.
If you can’t find your exact job title, it could be listed under a similar description instead. For example, if you’re an IT manager, try entering ‘computer’ or ‘manager’ to see if another option fits the bill.
If you’re worried that your choice doesn’t describe your job properly, don’t be. Try to find the closest match to your actual job title and you can confirm it with your insurer before you go ahead and buy your policy.
Generally, yes – the price of your quote will change if you alter the annual mileage.
Your mileage is considered by insurers when calculating your price. Make sure you’re as accurate as possible, as underestimating your mileage could invalidate a future claim
If you know on average how many miles you drive per week, you can get an estimate by multiplying that figure by 52 to get a yearly figure.
Or if you’ve had your car for a year or more, you can compare the mileage on last year’s MOT document to this year’s. If you don’t have the documents to hand, you can use the GOV.UK MOT checker to find the details.
If you have a standard 12-month car insurance policy in the UK, you're usually covered to drive in some European countries for up to 30 days. Make sure you take your driving licence with you, as well as your insurance documents.
Depending on the country you're visiting, you might need to get an insurance green card and an International Driving Permit. See our guide on driving abroad for more information.
This can change depending on the insurer offering you a quote. For example, some quotes expire the same day you get them, and others can last longer.
You can find the expiry date for each quote below the annual or total price. You can find your previous quotes under the ‘quotes’ section of your Confused.com account.
When you get a quote, we’ll estimate the market value of your car based on averages of the make and model, and age. If you want to find out an accurate idea of your car’s value you can use our free car valuation tool.
The first step to making a car insurance claim is to contact your insurer. You need to provide some details for your insurer to make the claims process as smooth as possible.
Find out more about how to make a car insurance claim.
As a general rule, your insurance price is likely to go up if you’ve made a claim. Even if the accident wasn’t your fault, a claim usually results in an increased price. If you’ve lost your NCB, you might also lose out on any discounts that may have been applied to your previous policies.
Most insurers don’t charge a cancellation fee within the first 14 days of your policy start date. But if you want to cancel your policy after that, you're likely to face a cancellation fee.
This is typically charged to cover admin fees and documents. For more information, check out our guide on how to cancel your car insurance policy.
Yes, you can add named drivers to your car insurance policy. To add another driver, you’ll need their:
- Details of any accidents and claims
- Details of any motoring convictions
Depending on the driver, this might raise or lower your car insurance costs.
It's important to remember that the person who does the bulk of the driving should be listed as the main driver. And any named drivers only use the car occassionally.
Yes, you can insure more than one car. Some car insurance companies cater specifically for this and offer a multi-car insurance policy. This lets you add multiple cars under a single policy, which should be easier to manage. You might also get a discount for each car you add to the policy.
If you decide to renew your car insurance policy with the same insurer, you don’t need to do anything. Unless you decide to change your car insurance provider, your policy should automatically renew.
Many car insurance companies let you review and update your policy details online. So, it’s worth checking that your details are up to date.
Even if you’re comfortable with your renewal price, it’s still worth shopping around and comparing car insurance quotes. You could cave yourself even more money for just a few minutes’ work.
You usually get your renewal notice a few weeks before your policy ends, so you’ve got plenty of time to look for cheaper car insurance. And the earlier you sort it, the bigger the savings could be.
Some insurance companies might offer a discount if you’ve taken a Pass Plus course or an advanced driving course. These courses bolster your driving skills, which could reduce your risk of an accident and, in turn, your insurance costs. Check with the insurer whether they offer these discounts.
This is sometimes the case, but not always. A high mileage means you’re on the road a lot, which increases the risk of you making a claim. So, keeping your mileage in check is one way to lower your insurance costs.
On the other hand, a low annual mileage – say, 1,000 miles – could indicate that you’re not that experienced behind the wheel. This could also impact your insurance costs.
Honesty is the best policy here. When you get a car insurance quote, try to be as accurate as possible about your mileage.
Yes – car insurance is a legal requirement. If you own or have use of a car, you must be insured to drive it. If you’re caught driving without insurance, you could face a £300 fine and 6 penalty points on your licence.
This in turn could make future car insurance quotes more expensive.
If your car has a Statutory Off Road Notice (SORN), then you don’t need to have it insured. This also means that you can’t keep the car on a public road. The SORN lasts as long as you need it to, and comes off as soon as you tax the car. You need to make sure the car has a valid insurance policy before you put it back on the road.
All you need to do is call your car insurance company and tell them you’ve changed you car. They should put the new car on your policy and remove the old one. Depending on when you do this, there might be an admin fee. Your insurance costs could also change, depending on the car.
If you're in the browsing stages of buying a new car, it might be worth shopping around for car insurance quotes beforehand.
There are several reasons why an insurer might reject your car insurance claim, including:
- Where you’ve given inaccurate or false information about your policy or your claim
- The damage you’re claiming for occurred because of wear and tear
- You’ve not taken reasonable care of your car e.g. you’ve left your car unlocked and valuables on display
- The accident occurred due to negligence or breaking the law
- You’ve waited too long after the accident to make a car insurance claim
There are 2 occasions where you might pay an admin fee:
- Where you cancel your car insurance policy before the 12 months is up. This is also known as a mid-term cancellation.
- When you change your car insurance policy details – for example, a change of address, or a change of car.
In an effort to treat customer fairly, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has created guidelines that stop insurance companies from penalising loyal customers. This is known as price walking.
The guidelines state that insurers are required to offer customers who renew their policy a price that's not higher than if they were a new customer. The FCA believes this should save customers £4.2 billion over the next decade.
This doesn't mean that your renewal price is going to be less than last year. A range of factors come go into how car insurance prices are calculated, but you shouldn't be penalised by sticking with your existing insurer.
But there still might be savings to be had. Even if your price is the same or a bit cheaper than last year, it's always worth shopping around.