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The cost of car insurance can take a big chunk out of your driving budget, nonetheless it doesn't have to be that way. Listed below are 15 tips to help you get your annual premium down.
1. Check around
The Association of British Insurers (ABI) reckons you can save around a third on your annual premium, by just shopping around. So don't just automatically accept your renewal quote each year.
2. Limit the number of individuals allowed to operate a vehicle the vehicle
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 the kids off your policy if they get their own.
3. Request an increased excess
Most insurance policies include an excess charge (the amount you've to pay for towards any repairs which are claimed for). If you're prepared to increase this, you may get a low premium.
4. Don't use your vehicle for work
Insurance policies that cover only "social, domestic and pleasure" are usually cheapest.
5. Consent to a mileage cap
This can earn you a discount mainly because cars which are traveling less often are less likely to be involved in 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 raise the cost of insurance by up to 30 per cent.
7. Buy through the internet
Many insurance providers offer a computerized 5 per cent discount for online transactions.
8. Consider downsizing
Cars which are worth less and have smaller engines qualify for lower insurance bands, this means they attract lower premiums.
9. Keep your vehicle garaged
Keeping your vehicle in a storage or on a drive rather than out traveling usually takes between 5 and 10 per cent off your premium.
10. Require an introductory discount
You may be eligible for this, even when there isn't a no claims bonus but have driven a company car - or someone else's car - with a no claims bonus on its policy. Some insurers just give you a discount because they need your custom. And if you have accumulated a no claims bonus, say so.
11. Look for ways of protecting your no claims bonus
Some policies allow you to make a claim in set circumstances without it affecting your no claims bonus. You'll pay a tiny premium at the start, but it may save a king's ransom in the long run.
12. Have a dark box fitted to your vehicle
That is where the insurer installs a computer device that monitors how the vehicle is being driven in order that careful driving can be rewarded. You may also agree to curfews that limit what times of day you can drive. It works especially well for young drivers.
13. Improve your driving skills
A Pass Plus driving test, or similar qualification, can cut the cost of your premium.
14. Don't assume third party cover is cheaper
Alternative party insurance is 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 own vehicle as well, as the insurer can assume you care less about your vehicle and are therefore more likely to have an accident.
15. Don't pay by direct debit
Spending money on your insurance in monthly instalments - rather than in 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.