If you’re a motorist, car insurance is a must. Not having insurance can result in up to eight penalty points on your licence. But how much should you be paying to insure your car?
Car insurance: How much should I be paying?
The amount you can expect to pay for car insurance depends on a number of variables. Let’s take a closer look at them.
1. Your age
New drivers, especially younger drivers who have just passed their tests, are considered to be the most at risk of being involved in an accident. As a result, car insurance premiums for new drivers are higher than for motorists with years of experience under their belts.
2. Where you live
While it may seem a little unfair, where you live can have a big impact on your premium.
If you live in a large urban area, where the number of drivers is higher and the roads are busier, then your premiums are likely to be higher than for those living in rural areas. Likewise, if your local area has a high crime rate, this may result in higher car insurance prices.
3. Motoring convictions
If you have any points on your licence, many insurers will see you as a higher risk and price your premium accordingly. It’s important to remember that points remain on your record and affect your premiums for anything from four to 11 years, depending on the offence.
4. Your job
What you do for a living can also impact the cost of your car insurance. The more time you spend on the road for your job, the higher your premiums are likely to be. As a result, comedians and professional sportsmen are usually the types of professions to face higher insurance costs. On the flip side, teachers and doctors are likely to be treated far more favourably.
5. Your no claims discount entitlement
As you clock up years of accident-free driving, your no claims discount will increase. The longer your entitlement, the more likely you are to have access to a cheaper car insurance quote. Many insurers will offer to protect your ‘no claims’ discount for a fee, even if you are involved in an accident.
6. The value of your car
It almost goes without saying that if you drive a Mini you’ll probably pay less than someone behind the wheel of a Ferrari. Remember that any modifications you make to your vehicle must be declared and will likely increase your premium.
7. Where you keep your car overnight
This is a question asked by insurers to calculate the likelihood of your vehicle being damaged while parked. If you keep your car in a public car park overnight, you’ll likely pay more for your car insurance than someone who keeps their motor in a locked garage.
What type of car insurance do I need?
The type of cover you have is up to you. Let’s take a look at the three main types.
Third party cover pays the cost of damages to other vehicles if you’re involved in an accident. It also covers any personal injuries of those involved, but not yourself.
Third party, fire and theft cover is the same, but will also pay out if your car is stolen or damaged by fire.
Comprehensive insurance covers pretty much everything, including repairs to your own car following an accident, even if you were at fault. Comprehensive insurance also covers personal injuries.
Unsurprisingly, the higher the level of cover, the higher the premium. That means a comprehensive policy will almost always cost the most. For a more detailed breakdown, see our guide on the different types of car insurance coverage in the UK.
How can I cut the cost of car insurance?
The list above outlines some of the key variables that can influence the price of your car insurance. But there are things you can do to cut the cost of insuring your vehicle.
Firstly, many insurance companies will bundle their policies with added extras such as breakdown cover, legal assistance, key cover and a replacement courtesy car should you suffer an accident. While these may hold value for some, if you don’t need them, consider removing them for a cheaper quote.
Likewise, it may also be worth playing with the voluntary excesses amount. This is what you will pay on top of your insurer’s compulsory excesses should you ever make a claim. Upping your voluntary excess will likely deliver you a cheaper quote, so weigh up the risk.
Auto-renewing your policy is something to avoid. Loyalty simply doesn’t pay in the car insurance market. While insurers won’t be able to charge existing customers any more than new customers from 2022, it almost always pays to do a market comparison to ensure you get the cheapest quote. To do this, use the services of a comparison website, such as MoneySuperMarket.
If you have time, it’s worth checking other comparison sites too, as car insurance prices can vary between them. See our car insurance page for the full list.
To further cut the cost of your car insurance, plus more tips, see our article exploring three tricks to get cheaper car insurance.
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