Car insurance is one of those bugbears we all have to live with once we own a car.
As it is a legal requirement to have insurance cover for our vehicles, even if they aren’t being driven at the moment, there’s no getting around car insurance.
Searching around will give you plenty of options, but what makes good car insurance, and how can you find the one that’s right for you?
Money is a huge factor in getting the right insurance policy for you. Insurance premiums are calculated based on how much of a 'risk' the insurance company believes you are.
The more you can do to lower that risk, the cheaper your insurance can be.
Factors which determine the cost of your insurance premiums include:
Type of car – the more powerful, the more expensive it is to insure.
Age of driver – the younger you are, the more expensive your insurance is going to be.
Sex of driver – women drivers are cheaper to insure; unfair but true.
Occupation – with algorithms taking into account your job title, what you do makes an impact.
Where you live – some postcodes are just riskier than others.
Amount you drive – on the road for more miles, that makes you more of a risk.
Proof of good driving history – increase your no-claims discount for a significant cut on premiums.
Security – keep your car in a garage? Is it fitted with alarms? Improving security lowers costs.
Excess – voluntarily increase the amount you are willing to pay in an accident and the premiums drop as you take on some of the risk yourself.
Shopping around will help you find cheaper insurance, but will it necessarily get you the best?
Your insurance can come with a number of additional benefits.
Without exception, all of these add a little to the cost of your premiums, but sometimes those extra pennies can save pounds in the long run.
Courtesy car – if something does happen and your car is out of commission for a while being repaired, are you able to still get around? Some policies include a courtesy car to make sure you are not stranded. Check to see if the courtesy car is of like-type, meaning you get something equivalent to your usual drive – after all, if you have a seven-seater MPV for all the kids, a courtesy mini hatchback might not do you any good.
Breakdown cover – joining the AA or RAC might not be necessary if your insurance company covers you for breakdowns as part of the cost.
Legal cover – it’s always good to have legal cover as part of your insurance as an unexpected incident could come with significant additional costs.
Third-party cover on other vehicles – some insurance covers you to drive other cars as part of your policy and don’t assume it does if you haven’t checked!
Contents insurance – are you covered for the items inside your vehicle if it gets stolen or is otherwise unrecoverable?
It’s worth checking what sort of additional benefits are available to you as part of your insurance.
Treated Like a King or Criminal?
Some insurance companies and brokers start from the premise that you are a liar and general scumbag first and pose their questions to you with suspicion and aggression, while others treat you like royalty and are honoured to have your custom.
Is it worth the cheap premiums to be treated like a criminal?
Get a good feel for your insurance company and read online reviews to make sure they’re the kind of people you want to be tied to – getting out of a contract half-way through because the service is horrific or because you are suffering by association can be costly.
Make sure you check all the terms and conditions before you sign.