Yes, it almost always makes sense to compare car insurance

Cars insurance premiums are expensive at the best of times. But price isn’t the only reason to compare car insurance. We take a look at why.

The content of this article was relevant at the time of publishing. Circumstances change continuously and caution should therefore be exercised when relying upon any content contained within this article.

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Keeping your car on the road is expensive, even before you add in the cost of cover. And while many of us know that comparing quotes is a good thing because it can save us money, it’s not the only good reason to compare car insurance.

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How much can I save by comparing car insurance?

Lots of different factors affect the cost of car insurance, including your age, job and driving history. That means potential savings can vary considerably depending on your circumstances. 

However, ballpark figures suggest you could save more than £200 when you take the time to compare car insurance quotes. According to Consumer Intelligence data for GoCompare, 51% of consumers comparing quotes with them could save up to £217. Over at MoneySuperMarket.com, that saving could be up to £235.

Why should I compare insurance before my policy auto-renews?

Thanks to Continuous Insurance Enforcement (CIE), all cars in the UK must be insured. The only exception is if you have arranged a SORN (Statutory Off Road Notification) for your car. To stop drivers getting caught out and being penalised, some policies will automatically renew rather than expiring. 

But auto-renewing can be an expensive way to stay insured. A BBC report revealed that drivers could be collectively wasting £2 billion every year through auto-renewals. Highlighting this, the BBC investigation found one policyholder who managed to save £300 by comparing new quotes instead of letting his policy auto-renew. The irony was that both the renewal price and the new quote were from the same insurer. 

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Why else should I compare car insurance quotes?

Comparing quotes isn’t just about finding cheap car insurance. It’s also about making sure you get the very best value for money – which doesn’t necessarily mean the lowest price tag. 

To make sure you’re getting the most for your money, there are three key elements you should compare.

1. Level of cover

The level of cover you choose has an impact on the price. In the past, third-party policies often came with the lowest premiums, but this simply isn’t the case anymore. Insurers noticed that third-party policyholders made more claims, and this is now typically reflected in the cost. 

Supporting that are figures from comparethemarket.com that show the average comprehensive policy on their site came in at £622 (as of November 2020). Third-party, fire and theft policies averaged £919, and third-party only cover topped the bill at a whopping £1,486.

2. Excess

This is the amount you have to pay towards a claim. Cheaper policies typically have high excesses and it’s often used as a tactic to bring overall premiums down.

If you can afford high excesses in the event of an accident, this kind of policy may be right for you. But, the bottom line is that if you can’t pay the excess, your claim won’t go ahead. So it could be a false economy in the long run.

3. Extras

Most insurers offer all sorts of extras. These can include windscreen and glass cover, breakdown and recovery services, a courtesy car or even cover for misfuelling and lost keys. 

Cheap car insurance may still offer these features. However, it’s likely you’ll need to pay for them as optional extras, dramatically increasing the price. Policies that cost a little more may already include these features as standard, making them better value for money. 

Which comparison site is best for car insurance?

There really isn’t an answer for this. Comparison sites set their own questions, use different algorithms and work with different insurers. This invariably means that there’s potential to get very different quotes on different comparison sites. With that in mind, it’s a good idea to compare car insurance on a few comparison sites.

Almost all comparison sites give you the ability to store your details and save your quotes. That makes the whole process quick and easy if you want to try a few sites and go back to the one with the best quote.

Don’t forget that not all insurers are listed on comparison sites. To get a quote from unlisted insurers (like Direct Line), you’ll need to contact them directly. 

Whether you have your own favourite go-to comparison platform or prefer to ring around the old fashioned way, it almost always makes sense to compare car insurance. 

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