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How to Save Money on Your Car Insurance

Let's face it, there can't be too many people out there who like paying for, or can get excited about car insurance. Unfortunately, it's something we have to pay for if we're going to enjoy the benefits of owning and driving a car. However, just because we're legally bound to have insurance (and it would be pretty stupid not to have it), it doesn't mean we should pay more than we have to. So, here are a few tips on how you can save money on your car insurance.

Shop around

It might sound obvious to say shop around, but it's surprising how many people will accept a renewal price from their current insurer, especially if it's not a lot more than it was last year. Things can change a lot in 12 months, so it's always worth seeing what other deals are out there before parting with your hard-earned cash. Obviously, most of us will use comparison sites these days, but it's worth getting quotes from a number of different comparison sites as some will include insurers others may not.

An unfortunate fact of life is new customers are often valued higher than existing ones when it comes to insurance quotes, so leaving your current insurer can make you eligible for new-customer discounts elsewhere.

Protect your no-claims

It can cost a little more to opt for protecting your no-claims bonus, but this does allow you to make at least one or two claims in a period without losing the no-claims bonus you've managed to build up over time. The extra cost of protecting it is likely to be significantly less than how much your insurance will go up to next time if you lose your no-claims discount.

Increase your voluntary excess

Opting to accept a higher voluntary excess needs to be considered carefully. While it will definitely lower your premium, you have to think carefully about how you'll feel if you do find yourself having to pay out that excess on top of any compulsory excess already factored in. Once again, it pays to shop around as the same amount of voluntary excess can have a bigger effect on premiums with some insurance companies than with others.

Careful with optional extras

Insurance company websites are pretty savvy sales professionals these days. Once you decide to go ahead with a quote you're likely to be presented with all sorts of extras, such as hire-car provision in the event of an accident, legal protection, breakdown cover and plenty more. While all these additional products have their merits, think carefully about whether you really need or want them, and remember to make sure you don't already have them elsewhere. For example, if you have a relatively new car that's still under the manufacturer warranty, you may well already have breakdown cover, and some dealers also run free schemes that provide hire cars in the event of a non-fault accident.

Pay upfront

It's always tempting to opt for low monthly payments instead of paying out one big lump sum, especially for something as mundane and unexciting as car insurance. However, you can save a considerable amount by paying in one go as you'll then avoid what can sometimes be quite high interest charges.

Choose the right car

If you desperately want a car that's expensive to insure and you're happy to pay for it then fine. But if you're a little less fussy, choosing the right car can save you a fortune on insurance. Even if you're looking at something as normal as a Vauxhall Astra, Peugeot 308 or a Ford Focus, going for the same spec but with a smaller engine can reduce your insurance by a considerable amount.

Secure your car

An immobilizer or other security devices can reduce premiums by as much as 5%, especially if it's an older car that didn't have a category 1 alarm fitted when it was built. Also, if you have a garage or off-road parking, then use it. Anything more secure than parking on a public road will reduce the cost of your insurance.

Think before claiming

You're obviously going to claim for any major or total loss through and accident or theft, but think carefully before making claims for relatively minor costs. Even if someone scrapes your plastic bumper when you're not in your car, it could work out cheaper to get the repair done yourself than to pay the excess and take a hit when you have to insure again next time. Even if a claim isn't your fault it can take six months or more to be settled. If you have to insure again before it's settled it will show as an open claim and as your fault, which can result in your new insurance costing as much as double what it would have done otherwise.

11 October 2016

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