Most of us have got wise to the idea of shopping around for the best deal on auto insurance, but there are a number of things you can do to try and reduce your car insurance prices no-matter which insurer you choose.
Small is beautiful: how car insurance price bands work
UK cars usually have an insurance band rating, which range from one (cheapest) to 50 (most expensive). The ratings are determined by the Group Rating Panel, which is made up of members of the Associated British Insurers and Lloyds Market Association. Motor research group Thatcham provides assessments of vehicles, which guides rating decisions.
The banding system is based on the cost of replacement parts, how easy and costly a car is to repair, the new value of the car, its performance, and security features.
So it follows that a cheaper car, with a smaller engine and good safety features, should have a lower insurance band and may be cheaper to insure. Remember too that modifications to a car made after it has left the factory, such as the fitting of alloy wheels or engine performance tweaks, can also increase insurance premiums.
Build up a no-claims discount
These are usually earned for every 12-month period in which an insured driver doesn't make a claim on their policy. Their value varies from insurer to insurer, but a bonus of five years or more could reduce some car insurance prices by 60 to 75%.
Cut your mileage
Reducing the number of miles you drive in your car is not only good for the environment - and potentially for you health if you choose to walk or cycle instead - but it could also lower your car insurance costs.
Drivers who rack up large annual mileages are considered a higher risk because they have more opportunities to suffer a collision. All insurers will ask how many miles you drive each year, while some offer limited mileage policies, whereby you agree not to drive more than an agreed amount, for example 5,000 miles.
Garage your car at night
Keeping your car in a garage, or at least on a private drive, is another way of keeping down car insurance prices. Vehicles that are locked away are much less likely to be stolen or involved in accidents while parked - and they are also less likely to be vandalised.
Become a better driver
There are several advanced motoring courses that help drivers improve their skills and can see insurance premiums reduced. The Institute of Advanced Motorists introduced its advanced driving test in 1956 and has been running the course to improve safety and confidence in drivers ever since. To date, more than 400,000 people have taken the advanced test with an average pass rate of around 75%.
Other organisations that offer advanced motoring courses include The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, Diamond, and the Guild of Experienced Motorists, while the Government-endorsed Pass Plus scheme can help newly-qualified drivers reduce their insurance premiums.
Compare like with like
While we all love to find the lowest car insurance prices, it should be remembered that cheapest is not always best. When hunting for a great deal on car cover, ensure you compare like with like as some policies won't offer the same level of protection as others and there may be hidden costs such as high excesses, or extra fees for a courtesy car.Back to top