With the price of car insurance now at the highest level since records began, a growing number of drivers are looking for smart ways to reduce their costs.
A typical driver will now spend £511 a year insuring their vehicle, the highest cost since records began in 2012, according to the Association of British Insurers.
Our inbox has been inundated with letters from readers who have seen their premiums skyrocket, with one citing a 155 per cent increase if they renewed with the same insurer.
Another was quoted an annual bill of more than £1,200, despite having been driving for 50 years.
Meanwhile, last week we revealed that drivers over 70 are being targeted by insurance companies, with many facing price increases of more than 50 per cent when they renew their policies.
Get a dash cam, take a driving course and ask for a discount if you only drive short distances (File Image)
However, there are many smart ways to keep costs down. Here we leave you 15 tips to keep your car insurance under control:
HOW TO CUT YOUR CAR INSURANCE
1 Get a car tracker. A car tracker is a small device that is installed indoors and uses satellites to identify the location of your vehicle.
As well as providing you with extra security, trackers can also help you save money on your car insurance by reducing the chance of your car being stolen, damaged or written off, according to comparison website Confused.com. Prices start from £40.
2 Purchase coverage before renewal expires. The closer you are to your renewal date, the more insurers will charge you for a new premium. You can take out a new policy up to 29 days before your insurance expires and lock in the price quoted on that day.
Comparison site Go.Compare says its customers saved 44 percent on average by purchasing their car insurance 27 days before their renewal date. You can compare policies at thisismoney.co.uk/car-insurance.
3 Use the correct job title. Insurers consider some jobs to be riskier than others. For example, calling yourself an arborist might cost you more than saying you’re a gardener. Try typing different job titles when searching for quotes on comparison websites to save money.
4 Update your mileage. You may be eligible for low mileage car insurance. This is specialized coverage for drivers who don’t spend much time on the road each year.
If you’re retired, own multiple cars, or have a classic car, you could save money with a specialized policy. People who drove 6,000 miles a year pay about 8 percent less for their car insurance than those who drove 10,000 miles a year, according to a Go.Compare survey published last year.
But be careful. Underestimating your mileage can invalidate your insurance since you are only covered by the estimate you provided. Any trip outside of this is not insured.
5 Take an advanced driving course. Advanced driving courses such as IAM RoadSmart or Pass Plus can reduce your premiums, suggests consumer expert Martyn James.
Taking advanced driving classes could make your car insurance premium up to 15 percent cheaper, according to Confused.com. They will also help you avoid accidents, which protects your no-claims discount. A typical day course costs between £150 and £200.
6 Use your club card. Sainsbury’s and Tesco are offering a discount of up to 10 per cent on their car insurance to customers with a club card.
Simply enter your club card number on the website when prompted, or if you renew over the phone, mention that you have a club card during the call. You should always compare the premium with the best prices you can get on comparison websites. . .
7 …and earn reward points. Sainsbury’s customers can earn 4,000 Nectar points when they buy car insurance directly from Sainsbury’s Bank using the code MOTOR20.
Each Nectar point is worth 0.5p and the credit will be added to your Nectar account within 60 days of your policy start date.
8 Enter your driver’s license number. Most insurance companies will ask for your driver’s license number when you apply for insurance to verify the information you have provided. Sharing this information can reduce the risk of errors, meaning you’ll receive a more accurate quote.
9 Hide your valuables. Messy cars attract thieves, says consumer rights expert Scott Dixon.
“Keep your car clean and tidy,” he suggests. “Phone cables, briefcases, bags, sat nav mounts and documents are the items drivers most commonly leave visible.”
Car theft can increase your premiums by hundreds of pounds at renewal time.
10 Try a dash cam. A dash camera attaches to your windshield and records what’s happening on the road as you drive. Prices start from £25, but a dash cam could save you hundreds of pounds if you use it to prove that an accident was not your fault.
Some insurers will also give you a discount on your policy if you install one. For example, Adrian Flux customers can save 15 units with a dash cam.
eleven Buy classic car insurance. If your car is over 15 years old and worth at least £15,000, then you could save money with classic car insurance.
Traditional vehicles also tend to be cheaper to insure than new cars, as they are driven less frequently and owners tend to take better care of them.
For example, it costs an average of £776 a year to insure a modern car, but £428 to insure a VW Beetle, according to Confused.com.
12 Add a younger driver. If you’re an older driver (generally considered 70 or older), adding a younger driver to your policy can lower your premiums, James says.
However, only add someone who actually drives the car. However, under-21s are typically more expensive to insure, so adding them to your policy is unlikely to save you any money.
13 Don’t modify your car. Modifications mean your vehicle no longer meets the manufacturer’s standards, making insurance more expensive. Upgrading your car’s suspension or wheels can increase your premiums by up to 83 per cent, adding around £624 to your insurance costs each year, according to comparison website Uswitch.
14 Check the value of your vehicle. According to the Financial Ombudsman Service, complaints about car and motorcycle insurance are at their highest number for five years. Disputes over the value of claims are one of the main reasons, says Dixon.
“Claims are rejected because drivers incorrectly undervalue or overvalue their cars,” he says.
Let your carrier know if the value of your car has changed, for example if the make and model of your vehicle is discontinued, to avoid being underinsured.
fifteen Opt for short-term insurance. Adding certain additional drivers to your policy can be expensive if they use your car infrequently. Temporary insurance allows you to insure another person for up to 30 days, which could be cheaper than adding them as a designated driver.
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