Everyone wants to save money on their car insurance. We all know it’s just one of those motoring costs you simply can’t avoid, but you can’t help but wince a little when it comes to renewal time – especially if you’re a young driver, drive a high performance car, or have made a few modifications!
Now we’re not saying that you should hunt for the cheapest possible quote you can find, as doing so will more often than not result in a poor level of cover and you will regret it should the time ever come you need to make a claim. At the end of the day, if you’ve got to pay for it, you want to get your money’s worth!
But that doesn’t mean you have to accept ridiculously high premiums either. To find out more about how insurance premiums are calculated we spoke to the team at Brentacre Specialist Insurance. Brentacre specialise in performance and modified car insurance so are well placed to advise on what does and doesn’t affect the cost of your insurance cover.
We’ve then complied a list of no less than 25 different ways you can lower your insurance costs. Some are easy to achieve, some require a bit of investment, and others are not so easy to do anything about, but all will have an effect on how much you pay for your car insurance. So, before you renew check out our 25 ways to lower your insurance costs…
In The Club
Owners Clubs can be a great way to show insurers that you are very proud of your car and take great care of it, meaning you will do all you can to avoid loss or damage, and therefore making you less likely to make a claim. Smaller clubs can get discounts from certain insurers, but the larger clubs generally benefit from the best deals.
No Claims Bonus
This one requires patience, but there’s no better way to lower your insurance costs than to build up a few years of NCB. Obviously this means driving carefully and not crashing or making a claim, but it makes the biggest impact in reducing premium costs. It’s also worth considering protecting your NCB too; it could cost you a lot more in the long run if you lose it!
It may be a hefty sum of money to stump up in one go, but if you can afford to pay the insurance in a single payment it will almost always be cheaper than spreading the cost over the year. If you opt to pay monthly you are simply getting a loan from the broker, and paying (sometimes quite hefty!) interest on the amount you borrow.
If you can’t afford to pay the insurance in one go consider looking at getting a credit card with an interest-free period (typically 12 months) and paying the insurance on that. You can then make monthly payments to clear the debt without incurring any interest charges – but make sure you’re on the ball with payments otherwise you could end up being worse off!
Adding voluntary excess to your policy can significantly reduce the cost of the premium. Don’t go mad and end up with an excess you can’t afford, but adding a couple of hundred quid can make a huge difference to the overall cost.
The insurance market is very competitive; so don’t just accept your renewal price. Spend some time to call around a few different companies to see what they can offer – it may be tedious having to repeat the same info over and over again, but for an afternoon of boredom you could save yourself a decent amount of cash!
Don’t speed! Or at least avoid getting points or your licence! Many insurers may turn a blind eye to 3 or even 6 points for the occasional speeding fine (you still need to tell them!) and in some cases these may not even have any affect on the price, but you should still avoid collecting them. Therefore, if you have the option to take a Speed Awareness course instead of getting points endorsed on your licence, do it to keep your licence clean.
While most drivers have been hit with a few points here and there, insurers don’t take kindly to serious driving offences such as mobile phone use, drink driving, dangerous driving, or any other disqualifications! Get clobbered with one of these and expect to pay a hefty premium!
It’s not a cheap way to reduce the insurance costs as it involves buying another car, but as many fast Ford owners will also have a daily to smoke around in you might as well make use of it. Insuring your modified car as a second vehicle (not your main car) can reduce your premium quite significantly. You can still apply your NCB to this policy if you wish, and many insurers will actually mirror you NCB on the first car too.
Obviously a car worth £100k is going to more expensive to insure than a car worth £10k, as the cost of payout in the event of a claim is significantly higher. But don’t think that a cheap car is the answer, it isn’t. If you have an old banger worth £50 how much are you going to care about that car? Not much, and insurers know this! Brentacre say that cars worth less than £1500 tend to suffer from insurers increasing the premium to cover the extra risk of an ‘unloved’ car being involved in a claim.
It’s worth looking at an agreed valuation for your car too. This will generally push the price up but at least both you and the insurer are in agreement on how much to pay out in the event of a claim, which could actually save you an awful lot of money in the long run.
Dash cams have become very popular over the last few years, and are a great way to identify who is at fault in a claim. Therefore insurers reward you with a substantial discount if you have one fitted – as much as 15% in some cases! But be aware of policies that can demand footage from the dash cam – if you were at fault you’ve just given them proof!
It makes sense when you think about it, but the less time you spend on the road the less likely you are to need to make a claim. Therefore think seriously about how many miles your summer show car actually covers – if you just do a few events each year limiting the mileage – to say 5000 per year – will make a considerable difference to your costs. One warning though – don’t lie! If you say you do 100 miles per year and the insurance assessor finds out the car has actually done 20k that year you could be in serious trouble!
We’re not suggesting you try to pass off your track-ready 300bhp Fiesta ST as your mum’s shopping car, doing so means you don’t accrue any NCB of your own and, more importantly, it’s illegal – a practice called ‘fronting’. But actually adding your parents or other experienced drivers as named drivers on the policy can sometimes lower the premium. Brentacre always price according to the highest risk driver, but other insurers do take named drivers into account and this can reduce the overall cost.
Ideal for many young drivers to prove they are safe and sensible behind the wheel. A black box (also known as telematics insurance) records various pieces of information about your driving style and habits, including speed, distance, time of day, braking, cornering, and so on. Insurers will request the info from the black box in the event of a claim, which is great if you’ve been driving sensibly all the time, but will also show if you’ve had your 600bhp Sierra Cossie sideways at every opportunity too!
If you do own more than one car including multiple cars on a single policy can significantly reduce costs compared to insuring them individually. Not only does your NCB apply to all cars, as it is still a single policy, but many insurers also offer further discounts for having multiple cars insured with them.
Speak To The Right People
If your car is modified then very few mainstream insurers will offer you cover, and those that do will limit you to a specific number of modifications (typically 5) as this is all their systems can cope with. Add any more upgrades and they won’t be able to cover you.
You’re better off speaking with specialist insurers such as Brentacre. They will not only understand what a set of ‘coilovers’ are when you list your modifications, but they will be able to offer you the correct level of cover for your car and your upgrades – they can often offer extras such as track day cover too!
Now we’re not saying you should change career just to get cheaper insurance, but you can use online comparison sites to have a play around with the different descriptions that best suit your type of work. For example ‘housewife’ is cheaper than ‘unemployed’, a ‘restaurateur’ will pay more than a ‘café owner’, and ‘office worker’ is cheaper than ‘journalist’ – trust us!
Drive A Classic
It’s not just because insurers have a soft spot for older cars that classic insurance is cheaper, but also because they are statistically less likely to be involved in a claim. Therefore if you’ve got a car that’s over 20 years old it might be worth inquiring about a classic policy.
It’s an obvious one, but of you have better security your car is less likely to be stolen! Back in the day this meant adding a loud alarm, but with today’s sophisticated gadgets and key-cloning devices extra security such as trackers and immobilisers are a worthwhile addition. Physical security such as steering wheel locks and gearshift to handbrake locks are also a great way to deter thieves, resulting in a cheaper policy.
Get A Garage
Is your garage full of junk? Clean it out and park your car in there, it may result in a significantly reduced premium. Not always though, if your garage is attached to your house then it may, but if your garage is on a block away from your house then parking your car in there may actually increase the premium!
Be Wise With The Mods
Modifying your car is a very personal thing and we’re not telling you what to do or not to do, but do be aware that massive changes like engine and running gear swaps and turbocharger conversions will increase the premium much more than simple suspension upgrades, wheel swaps, and subtle engine remaps. All modifications on your vehicle must be declared, failure to do so could void your insurance, have your car impounded for not having the correct insurance, and your licence stamped with 6 points and an IN10 which bumps premiums up even further.
An additional driving qualification can be a great way to shave off a few quid from your premiums, especially for younger drivers. The most common and widely acknowledged course is Pass Plus, but not all insurers offer the discount, and the course itself costs money, so ask when shopping for quotes and weigh up your options.
Choose Your Car
If you’re 17 and fancy a Supercharged V8-powered rear-wheel drive Fiesta then forget it! You need to be realistic with your car choice, and with fantastic Ford models such as the 1.0-litre EcoBoost Fiestas offering great performance, excellent styling, and cheap running costs (including insurance!) young drivers today don’t need to be embarrassed by driving small-engined cars while building up their NCB. Come up with a shortlist of suitable cars and ring around for a few insurance quotes before you buy!
Insurers are no longer allowed to ‘hide’ extras such as breakdown cover, key cover, and so on within the policy price, but they may still try to convince you to add them to your policy. Have a think about what you actually need, and what you can get elsewhere – for example adding breakdown cover can increase the premium quite significantly, whereas you can buy similar roadside breakdown cover for as little as £30 per year! It’s nice to tick all the boxes and have everything, but be sensible about what you actually need and you could save a considerable amount.
Think about cheating the system and all you’re really doing is cheating yourself. Choose not to tell the insurers about your penalty points or that engine swap you’ve fitted and if you get found out your insurance will be invalidated! So you’ll be paying for nothing, and worse still, with an IN10 and cancelled policies to declare, you will find it very hard to get competitive insurance again!
There’s not much you can do about this one, but where you live has a huge affect on the price you will pay for insurance. Live in a bustling city and you’ll pay more than those living in the rural countryside.
Length of time owned
If you’ve owned the same car for a considerable length of time it shows the insurer that you take care of that car and have a clear attachment or fondness for it. Therefore you are less likely to be involved in a claim, and they will adjust the price according to this lower risk.
READ THE FULL FEATURE IN THE DEC 2016 ISSUE – AVAILABLE HERE
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