Car Insurance - UK Ultimate Guide
How to get Cheap Car Insurance
Finding a great car insurance quote
is a top priority for many people across Britain. Every motorist in the UK, is required by law to have car insurance for their vehicle. Car Insurance provides cover for you and other named drivers in the event of a car accident.
The only exception where car insurance is not required, is for vehicles which are registered ‘off road’, with a Statutory Off-Road Notice, also known as SORN.
This Car Insurance Guide
has been created to aid consumers across the country to understand the factors in which insurance premiums are calculated, general advice and money saving tips.
Types of Car Policy
In the United Kingdom, there are four different types of car policies to choose from.
Third Party Only (TPO)
- Third party only is the minimum level cover required by UK law. It covers liability for injury to others (including passengers), damage to third party property and liability whilst towing a caravan or trailer.
Third Party, Fire and Theft (TPFT)
- Third party, fire and theft covers everything that third party does, but also fire damage, theft of vehicle and damage to your car caused during theft.
- A comprehensive policy will generally provide you with the most widespread level of cover, including everything covered by third party, fire and theft, and usually loss or damage to your vehicle, windscreen cover, loss of personal effects, accidental damage and medical expenses. However, please be aware that comprehensive cover will vary from different insurers. For example, one insurance provider may include windscreen cover, while another may not.
Telematics / Blackbox
– A telematic insurance policy can also be known as ‘black box insurance’. You need to have a black box installed in your car or use a mobile phone app to calculate your premium based on the standard and nature of your driving. The black box can also be sometimes used as a tracker if the vehicle is ever stolen. Check out our Telematics Car Insurance
section, to learn more about this form of cover.
Factors which affect Car Insurance Prices
When you apply to an insurer for an insurance policy, many different elements are taken into consideration. If you’re looking for cheap car insurance
then some of the points outlined below may be hampering your quest for lower vehicle premiums.
– The type of vehicle you drive can have a big effect on your insurance price. For example, a high-performance car will generally attract larger premiums against a standard family car. Equally you sometimes may find, that ‘newer’ cars can be cheaper to insure their older ones. This is because insurance companies tend to work out premiums based on the cost of ‘replacing’ or ‘fixing’ the vehicle, should an accident occur. Generally, a newer model will be easier to fix or replace, as there will be a wide range of parts available. On the contrary an older car, may be seen, as a ‘specialist’ vehicle; thus, the parts could be harder to find, so a larger policy cost will reflect this.
– Increasingly, insurers are placing a lot of weight on the use of the vehicle. For example, how often is the car used, when and where does a person travel, is it during rush-hour, is the car parked in an office car park, etc. Typically travelling within rush-hour and peak periods will result in higher premiums. This is obviously because there’s a far greater chance of an accident occurring.
– One of the most important factors for policy prices is the drivers age. Younger drivers will typically have to pay more for insurance. This is because ‘statistically’ they’re much more likely to make a claim. View our Young Drivers Car Insurance
guide now for superb tricks and tips.
– Your job and the way you describe it when applying for car insurance may have a big impact on the price you pay for car premiums. For example, are you a ‘chef’ or a ‘cook’, are you a ‘bricklayer’ or ‘builder’. Insurers can take into consideration whether you travel frequently as part of your job, or if you carry expensive equipment or stock in your vehicle. Click Here to find out how your job can affect your chances of a cheaper car insurance policy.
– Believe it or not, your location can also have a big effect on car insurance premiums. It’s not just the town you live in, or the postcode district, it can even vary from road to road. Generally, if your home is in a ‘high crime’ area, then should expect higher premiums to a ‘low crime’ area. It goes without saying, that a high crime zone has a much greater chance of damage or theft occurring which may include your vehicle.
– If you can afford it, it’s worth considering electing for a higher voluntary excess when you apply for a policy. The higher amount of voluntary excess means the amount you pay in the event of a claim. This could lower your premium quite a bit over the course of a year. Generally, people opt for around £250-£500 voluntary excess.
– If you’ve had previous driving convictions, or have made claims on older insurance policies then your premium price could be affected. All insurance companies are different, they each have their own set of criteria, of what is and isn’t acceptable. If you have made a claim in the past, it’s also not uncommon for insurance companies to share information between them. That’s why it’s really important for you to ‘shop around’ for the best car insurance quote possible.
The Guardian Newspaper reported in 2016, that the Average UK car insurance bill rose
by 13% over past year (Source
Understanding the No Claim Bonus
A no claims bonus
is a ‘reward’ for drivers who don't make a claim on their policy. A bonus is awarded for each continuous year you hold private car insurance in your own name without making a claim. Most companies only accept No Claim Bonuses
earned in the UK from policies expired within the last two years
You should be aware that it's called a 'no claim' bonus, not a 'no blame' bonus. Sometimes people get confused and think the bonus only applies if it’s not their fault, should an accident occur. However, it doesn’t matter who is at fault, if you or another driver (makes a claim against you) it generally will affect your no claims bonus, unless your insurer recovers their costs from the other driver's insurance company.
How to Save Money on Car Insurance
Choosing the right car insurance for your requirements may seem like an uphill struggle. In the modern-era where times can be harder and money can be tight, everybody wants to cut their monthly outgoings. This fantastic section has been created to highlight hints, tricks and tips on how to save money on your vehicle cover policy.
Remember, we've also got guides for Older Drivers
, Disabled Drivers
and Young Drivers
, please click on those links to find out more information.
For the rest of the population, here's some great motor insurance tips:
- Choice of Motor Vehicle – It goes without saying that the specifications, features and sizing of your car can have a big impact on your policy price. For example, a 5 litre sports car, will most likely cost more than a typical family car. For the last decade or so, with the ‘emissions’ initiations, smaller cars tend to be more cost effective on a day to day basis. Equally, a motorcar which has been designed to conform to emission targets should also benefit from lower road taxes too. On the contrary, Larger vehicles will in general have better performance and engines, but will obviously attract a higher premium against smaller models. You can even find, that some insurance providers will offer different quotes depending on the brand of the vehicle itself. If the car is considered to 'desirable' then the chances of it being involved in a theft are much higher. Over the last few years, external factors outside of Britain can also be considered. For example, let’s say a certain car manufacturer is popular in mainland Europe, vehicles tend to get stolen ‘for order’. So, it’s always worth considering if your 'choice' of vehicle will affect your premium prices or not.
- Pay Annually – It's always a good idea to pay for your policy annually if you can afford it. Obviously, this is easier said than done, however while this means your bank balance will be down in the short term, the long term benefits generally outweigh the bad. By shopping around , you should find that insurers will usually give a discount when paying annually. If you can’t afford the price of the whole policy today, some people say that decent savings can be made if you pay on a 0% credit card – just make sure you can pay off the balance on the card before the interest-free period ends.
- Shop Around – Many people do it, and it's one of the worst things you can do, this is to ‘auto-renew’ with an existing provider. As you would expect, this is how a lot of insurers make a lot of money and usually take advantage of the situation. With the surge of car comparison deals and websites, it only takes around twenty minutes to switch. There really is no excuse anymore. Generally you may find that a policy was 'affordable' for the first year, then inflated dramatically the second. This is typically how ‘the game works’. The first year was to lure you in, the second year, the insurance company made their profits. There’s nothing against the law from changing companies on a yearly basis. At the end of the day, the only person who will lose out, is you.
- Your Work Status – As you would expect, the nature of your job can seriously affect any savings you may potentially make. For example, a ‘chef’ may pay a different premium to a ‘cook’. Equally, a 'builder' may be different to a 'handyman'. You should always be honest to any insurer, as lying may invalidate your policy.
- Improve the Security – Security is obviously a 'hot topic', just like our homes, devices such as alarms and immobilisers may help to keep your car insurance costs down. Most modern cars should already have these features, however if your driving an older model, give your security a once over to see how to performs to current models. Installing a 'tracker' could be a great ideal, this makes it easier for your vehicle to be recovered and returned if it’s been stolen, and it may reduce your policy costs too. However, this will vary from different providers. Interestingly, some policies such as 'Telematic / Black Box' insurance will already act as a tracker, Click Here to learn more about this.
- Don’t Modify Your Motor – It’s never a ‘good idea’ to do any car modifications. Sometimes people do it to improve performance or for a visual effect. However, it could increase the price that you pay for insurance. This is because ‘modified parts’ tend to be harder and more expensive to repair or replace.Equally, however 'unfair' insurers tend to look at modified cars, as belonging to 'boy racers'. Thus, they're more likely to make a claim.
- Increase your Voluntary Excess – If you can afford it, opting for a higher voluntary excess when you take out your car insurance should decrease the price of your overall policy. Remember, that if you make a claim, you may have to pay that excess before the garage will give you your vehicle back.
Original Publication: 8 June 2017
Last Updated: 3 July 2017