Car insurance tips: 7 tricks you need to know

Insurance is a major motoring expense that is becoming even more costly, with premiums generally on the rise. Many motorists pay more than they need to for their annual car insurance; with a bit of planning and time it’s possible to make significant savings – sometimes without having to switch insurer.
Here are seven useful tricks:
1. Shop around
Ever wondered why your insurer sends your renewal paperwork shortly before your insurance expires? It’s in the hope that you’ll not have bothered to check alternative prices.
Letting existing insurance renew without comparing prices could be money down the drain. Make a diary note a few weeks before your insurance expires to do some price comparisons.
Enter your details into acar insurance comparisonwebsite that will trawl a raft of insurance companies and return quotes for you; it’s worth using more than one comparison site as they don’t all cover the whole market. Three major insurance companies don’t appear on comparison sites; Aviva, Direct Line and Zurich, so it’s worth visiting their websites direct for a quote.
2. Save even more with cash back
If you decide to switch insurers, rather than clicking through the comparison website to buy your policy from the relevant company, visit them insteadvia a cash back site. You may find you’ll get some money knocked off so making further savings.
3. Consider downsizing your car
While changing cars to save insurance may seem like cracking a walnut with a sledgehammer, it may make more sense than you think. Along withvery good value purchase options, such as leasing, you’ll likely save on other running costs.
If buying new or nearly new, the car will be under warranty for at least three years and may include a service and maintenance plan as part of the package, so fuel and (likely lower) insurance will be your only costs for at least two or three years.
4. Check your job title
The way occupations are described can make a difference to insurance premiums. Try variations on your job title to see if it affects prices; for example, saying ‘driving consultant’ instead of ‘driving instructor’ can make a difference as might ‘driving examiner’ as opposed to ‘examiner.’ Don’t give a false occupation on the form though.
5. Pay a higher excess
You could reduce your premium by increasing the amount you are willing to pay, should repairs be required after an accident. Bear in mind you’d also be able to claim back the excess if the damage wasn’t your fault.
6. Extra driver
Putting an extra driver on your policy can reduce the premium price sometimes. If they’re a ‘safe’ driver (older and with no recent claims) it’s worth a try.
On the other hand, too many extra drivers – particularly young drivers – could have the opposite effect.
7. Use your garage
If you have one, clear out the junk and put the car in it. Your insurance amount should reduce if your car is in a locked garage overnight.
Checking your current needs
Before getting quotes, it’s always worth checking your current needs. For example, maybe you’re doing fewer miles than before so adjust the mileage you’ve stated you cover. If you’ve fitted some security equipment such as a Thatcham approved burglar alarm or tracker, tell your insurance company – it may reduce your premium. Taken an advanced driving course? Again, tell your insurer. Some advanced planning is all it takes to save.

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