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Top 10 tips for cutting the cost of car insurance

Written by Kasey Cassells, Senior content editor

20 September 2018

Read on for our top 10 tips for cutting the cost of your car insurance, or compare quotes below and see if you could save by shopping around

Top 10 tips for cutting the cost of car insurance

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There are many factors that affect your car insurance that you can’t easily control, such as your age, years of driving experience, job, and area. But if you’re serious about saving on your car insurance there are some things you can do to reduce the cost of your premium.

1. Choose your car carefully

The type of car you drive can make a huge difference to the cost of your car insurance. Not only are some cars more expensive to repair or replace than others, but some models are seen as high risk because they are frequently involved in claims. Insurers group models into categories based on risk — sports models with larger engines are usually in higher, more expensive insurance groups, whereas smaller cars with better safety features are in the more affordable insurance categories. If you're looking for a new car you might want to consider buying one in a low insurance group to help you save. Read our guide to insurance groups here.

2. Keep it safe

Insurers will offer you a more affordable premium if you do your best to keep your car out of harm’s way. If possible, keep your car in a secure garage or driveway overnight, rather than on the road where it is in easy reach of thieves and vandals. You can reduce your premium further by installing additional security features, such an alarm or tracker. Our car security guide explains more.

3. Use it wisely

Car insurance premiums are usually more affordable for those who drive fewer miles — the more often you drive, the more likely you are to have an accident. Most people estimate their mileage when getting a car insurance quote, so make sure you’re providing an accurate prediction. Your MOT certificates will show mileage from previous years, or you could track your weekly usage and use this to estimate your annual mileage. Make sure you don’t lie about your mileage just to get cheaper car insurance — if you have to make a claim and your mileage doesn’t match up, your insurer may not pay out.

If you use your car to commute to work your premium may be higher — you are likely to be driving often and at peak times, so may be more likely to make a claim. Depending on your job, this may also indicate to insurers that you will be driving at night (for example if you’re a shift worker), when accidents are more likely. If you can use alternative transport to get to work, you could make a saving on your car insurance.

4. Pick the right cover

Most insurers offer three levels of cover: third party; third party, fire and theft; and comprehensive. Third party is the minimum level of cover legally required to drive in the UK. These policies only cover you for damage to other people’s cars and property, so you will not be able to claim for any damage to your own car. Third party, fire and theft includes this as well as cover for fire damage and theft, and comprehensive also covers damage to your own car in the case of an accident or other claim. As you’d expect, these levels of cover each come with a different cost, but perhaps unexpectedly, third party is not always the cheapest option. Providers are often able to give the best deals on comprehensive cover, although third party cover may be most affordable for older, low-value cars.

5. Consider a black box

Black box policies (also known as telematics or pay as you drive policies) are another great way to save. As part of a black box policy your insurer will install a small device in your car or require you to download a smartphone app that monitors your driving. This encourages safer driving and also makes the car easier to trace if it’s stolen. On a black box policy, your insurer will note your driving habits and adjust your premium regularly based on the times you drive and the quality of your driving.

6. Increase your excess

Insurers base their premiums on how much they are likely to pay out in the event of a claim. By opting to pay a higher voluntary excess, you are lowering the cost to the insurer by essentially offering to pay a larger part of the claim yourself. This is a great way of cutting the cost of your premium, but remember this amount will come out of your pocket if you do need to make a claim. Choose an excess you can afford to pay, and make sure the excess cost is no higher than the value of your car. Find out more in our car insurance excess guide.

7. Add a named driver

You may consider yourself a safe driver, but insurers will group you into a high-risk category if you are have recently passed your test, are under the age of 25, or have previous claims or convictions. If you are in one of these groups, you may be able to reduce the cost of your quote by adding a responsible and experienced named driver to your policy if they are likely to use the car. Remember, you must be named as the policyholder (or main driver) if you’re the one driving the car most regularly. Adding another driver to a policy just to get a cheaper quote is known as fronting and is a form of fraud.

8. Protect your no-claims bonus

For every year you drive without making a claim on your insurance, you will earn a no-claims bonus. A maximum no-claims bonus (5-8 years, depending on the provider) can result in savings of up to 80% on your insurance costs. There’s no way to speed up this process, but you can improve your chances of getting cheaper car insurance in the future by protecting your no-claims bonus for a small fee. Your current insurance cost will increase slightly, but you could see big savings in the long-run if you need to make a claim as you would otherwise lose your accrued discount.

9. Pay upfront

Although paying upfront for your car insurance can be a big hit to your bank balance, it can save you a considerable amount over the year. By paying for your car insurance in monthly instalments, you are essentially taking out a loan from the insurer with added interest rates. If you can afford to pay the annual cost upfront, you could save 20% or even more depending on your provider.

10. Shop around

One of the best ways to save on your car insurance is to shop around and compare insurers. Even if you’re happy with your current insurer, it’s likely you’ll save on your renewal cost by comparing quotes from other providers. Remember there are alternatives to the big-name providers — a specialist insurer may be able to give you a better deal if you’re in a high-risk group or have a powerful or modified car.

Get started by using our car insurance quote comparison tool below:

Get a car insurance quote

See a range of car insurance quotes in just a few minutes when you compare with Uswitch

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