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23 Jan 2020
Jamie Gibbs Jamie Gibbs

How to get cheaper car insurance

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Car insurance companies work out prices using a variety of factors. Take a look at these top tips for finding cheaper car insurance.

Car insurance can be a major expense for many.  The average comprehensive policy now costs £815. That's according to the latest Confused.com car insurance price index. 

The price you pay depends on your own circumstances. This could be your driving experience , your job or where you live.

It can be confusing to know how to get those costs down. Don't fret. Over the years we've learned a few things about cutting car insurance costs. We're here to share these secrets with you.

If you're a younger driver, costs tend to be higher again due to age and inexperience. Our friends at motors.co.uk have some handy tips for young drivers to save on their insurance.

The price of car insurance depends on factors like:

  • The car you drive

  • What security your car has 

  • Who owns and drives your car 

  • How you use your car

  • Where you live

  • The type of cover you choose

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Quick tips for finding cheaper car insurance:

  • Make sure you fit your car with up-to-date security systems.

  • Be clear on who owns and drives your vehicle.

  • Tell your insurance provider how you use your car.

  • Get your type of cover and the mileage correct when filling in your details. 

Does my occupation affect my insurance costs?

Your job can have an impact on how much you pay for your insurance, even if you don’t use your car specifically for work.

This is because your occupation often impacts in other areas of your life, which changes how you use your car.

For example, if you’re a professional footballer, you might have the extra cash to afford a high-end car. A more powerful and expensive car means more expensive claims, so this could cause your insurance price to go up.

On the flip side, let’s say you’re a member of staff for a school or university. A job like this could mean you have access to a secure car park while you’re at work. This extra level of security could be less of a risk to insurers. As a result, your costs could go down.

Check out our illustration of the jobs with the highest and lowest car insurance costs.

The car you drive

Your car's value, type and engine size make a difference to your insurance cost. The general rule is, the smaller the car, the lower the price.

When looking at cars, it's worth checking prices for a model with a smaller engine size as well.

Is the car an import?

Imported cars can be more expensive to insure, as parts are often  harder to find and are so more expensive. 

READ MORE: Car insurance for imported cars

Fit a security device

Fitting your car with an alarm, immobiliser or tracker means thieves are less likely to target it.

And, in turn, insurance companies are more likely to offer you a cheap car insurance quote.

Most newer cars (built after 1997) come fitted with an alarm and immobiliser as standard. But you might want to consider adding extra security devices like a tracker.

READ MORE: Alarms, immobilisers and trackers 

Who owns and drives your car

Car insurance quotes can be higher if the owner isn't the same person as the registered keeper. For example, if you drive a company car, or if you own the car but your kids drive it.

This is important when looking for prices online. Most car insurance quotes need the owner and registered keeper to be the same person (or partners). 

READ MORE: Adding drivers to your policy

How you use your car

It’s important to tell your insurer how you use your car. If you use your car to commute to work, tell your insurer. They may not pay out if you say you use your car for social use but have an accident on the way to a business meeting.

Most insurance companies will let you add ‘business use’ when you need it for a small fee.

READ MORE: Business car insurance

Types of use

Insurers rate car classes of use under one of four categories:

  • Social, domestic and pleasure
    This covers normal day-to-day living, like visiting family and friends or going shopping.

  • Commuting
    This covers driving to and from the normal place of work. It also includes travelling and parking at a railway station

  • Business use
    This covers using your car in connection with your job. For example, driving to different sites away from your place of work

  • Commercial travelling
    This covers using the car for things like door-to-door sales

READ MORE: Understanding classes of use

The type of cover you choose

It's important you buy the right type of cover for your needs. If not, your insurance company might not pay out if you need to make a claim.

Many drivers lean towards third-party, fire and theft, thinking it's a cheaper option. But the average price of these policies tends to get pushed up. This is because higher risk drivers are more likely to go for this kind of cover.

Don’t assume a third-party policy will be cheaper. Make sure you check comprehensive cover as well to see the difference in price.

The different types of cover include:

  • Third party
    Third-party insurance covers any claim by other parties, but doesn’t cover damage to your car. This is budget car insurance where you’ll have to pay to repair your car yourself.

  • Third-party, fire and theft
    Third-party, fire and theft covers fire and theft of the car and any claim by other parties.

  • Comprehensive
    Comprehensive car insurance covers accidental damage to the car. This is as well as fire, theft and any claim by third parties.

READ MORE: Car insurance policy types

Other tips 

To help lower the cost of your car insurance, its worth considering the following:

  • Keep your driving license clean
    Having points on your licence will likely increase the cost of your cover.

  • Black box insurance
    Black box insurance policies look at when and how you drive to work out how much you pay.

  • Compare car insurance online
    Renewals can be more expensive as insurers tend to give discounts to new customers. Comparing car insurance quotes ensures that you're getting the best possible deal.

  • Don't pay monthly (if you can afford to do so) 
    Paying monthly is like taking out a small loan and usually have interest applied. This increases the cost of your cover.

  • Some insurers price high
    Don't choose the same insurer as your loved one or friend. Each insurer uses its own data to set prices, so the price you pay will vary between companies.

Extras and add-ons

Think about whether you need extras like legal expenses cover or a courtesy car. These extras can soon add up and increase how much you end up paying for your policy.
If you feel like you need the extras, it's still worth shopping around. This makes sure you're getting the best deal without sacrificing your level of cover.  

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