How to get cheaper car insurance
Unless you tell them otherwise, most insurers will 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 prices on your car insurance.
Here’s 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 the total amount 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 15% extra2.
5. Watch out for unnecessary add-ons, such as breakdown cover or legal assistance, as this will increase the cost of your quote. Only choose the add-ons you need.
6. Picking the correct job title will lower prices 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 7,000 , 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.
2.Based on Confused.com data December 2020 - January 2021
Choosing the right level of car insurance cover
There are three main options to choose from when buying car insurance. Remember the lowest level of cover isn’t always the cheapest, so you could end up with a higher level of cover for a cheaper price.
Car insurance add-ons
When you get your car insurance quote, you’ll 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 can help you out if your car breaks down at the roadside. If it can’t be fixed, they’ll 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 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 can include the cost of a solicitor, medical treatment, overnight accommodation, and travel costs.
Courtesy car provides you with a replacement car if yours is in the garage following an accident.
Windscreen-cover pays for 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 will also pay 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 due.
Car insurance expert
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The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has changed the driving habits of many UK drivers. The increased number of people working from home, plus restrictions on travel and activities means we’re driving less than we used to.
If you’re going to continue using your car less, it might mean you pay less for your insurance. If you’re renewing your policy, make sure to update your mileage and how you use your car as this will affect your price.
If your car insurance isn’t up for renewal but your occupation has changed, for example you’ve become unemployed or if you now have a second job, you should let your insurer know. If you’ve been furloughed, there’s no need to let your insurer know. But once the furlough scheme ends you should let your insurer know your current employment status. Find out more information on the impact of coronavirus on drivers.
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, and the insurer needs to check you’ll be able to cover the cost over the length of the policy.
This is the amount you’d have to pay in the event of a claim, in addition to any compulsory excesses set by the insurer.
If you have a pickup and you’re looking for insurance, you’ll 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 their 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 discount 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.
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. You’ll be able to confirm it with your insurer before you go-ahead and buy.
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.
There are some rule changes you need to be aware of since the UK left the EU. You’ll need to apply for a green card at least one month before you travel, this acts as proof of your insurance while you’re abroad.
If you have a standard 12-month car insurance policy in the UK, you’ll usually be covered to drive in some European countries for up to 30 days. The countries that are covered and the level of cover you have may have changed since Brexit. 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 the exact value of your car you can use our free car valuation tool.
Unfortunately, your insurance price is likely to go up if you’ve claimed. Even if the accident wasn’t your fault, a claim will usually result in an increased price. If you’ve lost your NCB, you’ll also lose out on any discounts that may have been applied to your previous policies.
Most insurers won’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’ll probably face a cancellation fee.
This is typically charged to cover admin fees and documents. Find out more about how to cancel your car insurance policy.