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The cost of car insurance can take a big chunk from the driving budget, however it doesn't have to be that way. Here are 15 tips to help you get your annual premium down.
1. Shop around
The Association of British Insurers (ABI) reckons you can save as much as a next in your annual premium, by simply shopping around. So don't just automatically accept your renewal quote each year.
2. Limit the number of people allowed to operate a vehicle the car
The more people that are included in a policy, the more it's likely to cost. Young drivers are particularly expensive to insure, so be sure you remember to take your children off your policy if they get their own.
3. Request a higher excess
Most insurance policies include an excess charge (the amount you've to pay towards any repairs that are claimed for). If you're prepared to improve this, you may get a decreased premium.
4. Don't use your car or truck for work
Insurance policies that cover only "social, domestic and pleasure" are usually cheapest.
5. Agree to a mileage cap
This will earn you a discount mainly because cars that are on the way less often are less apt to be associated with an accident. AA Insurance reckons that accepting a 12,000-mile annual cap would earn a 5 to 10 per cent discount. A 5,000-mile cap can earn even more. This is particularly helpful for households with more than one car.
6. Avoid brokers'commission
Direct Line claims that buying through intermediaries can increase the cost of insurance by around 30 per cent.
7. Buy through the net
Many insurance providers offer a computerized 5 per cent discount for online transactions.
8. Consider downsizing
Cars that are worth less and have smaller engines qualify for lower insurance bands, which means they attract lower premiums.
9. Keep your car or truck garaged
Keeping your car or truck in a storage or on a drive rather than out on the way usually takes between 5 and 10 per cent off your premium.
10. Require an introductory discount
You might be eligible because of this, even when you do not have a no claims bonus but have driven an organization car - or someone else's car - with a no claims bonus on its policy. Some insurers just give you a discount because they desire your custom. And if you have built up a no claims bonus, say so.
11. Look for means of protecting your no claims bonus
Some policies permit you to make a claim in set circumstances without it affecting your no claims bonus. You'll pay a small premium at the start, but it might save you a lot of money in the long run.
12. Have a dark box fitted to your car or truck
That is where in fact the insurer installs a tool that monitors how the car will be driven to ensure that careful driving may be rewarded. You may also consent to curfews that limit what times of day you can drive. It works especially well for young drivers.
13. Enhance your driving skills
A Pass Plus driving test, or similar qualification, can slice the cost of one's premium.
14. Don't assume alternative party cover is cheaper
3rd party insurance could be the legal minimum, covering you against damage caused to other people's property and the cost of any compensation for injuries. However, this isn't always cheaper than fully comprehensive cover, which covers your personal vehicle as well, because the insurer can assume you care less about your car or truck and are therefore more prone to have an accident.
15. Don't pay by direct debit
Spending money on your insurance in monthly instalments - rather than within an annual lump sum - makes it seem more manageable. But it's likely to cost you between 10 and 25 per cent more in the long run.