Thursday, August 8, 2019

Insider Tips │ 10 ways to get cheaper car Insurance


Lets face it, no one enjoys doing their car insurance. If it the law didn’t say we had to, I’m fairly certain most of us simply wouldn’t bother. Not only is it a pain in the arse to do, especially if you don’t understand insurance, but it’s one of those expensive things we don’t really want to pay for. Having worked in insurance for just over 10 years and currently working as an Insurance Broker, I’ve had a few friends turn to me over the years to try and get their premiums as low as possible, and normally I manage to help them get some money off and save them a few pennies.

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After reading a list of blog ideas and prompts from Jordane over at Life of a Glasgow Girl, I realised that I have all this information, all these little tips that could be helpful, but haven’t shared them! With CII qualifications plus over a decade of service, I can confidently say I’ve learned a thing or two that might actually be helpful, so here’s some of my top tips to help reduce the financial burden on your car insurance.

Move it
Like King Julian of Madagascar says, “MOVE IT”. Every year you get through with no claims makes you more and more appealing to an insurance company – because you have a proven track record of not costing them money. Due to the nature of their targets insurers tend to give a better rate to try and win a client, than they might to keep a client, so act accordingly.

If you find a cheaper deal, don’t hesitate in telling your insurer what it is. They may offer to match it, or even beat it, and if they don’t you have that cheaper option already there. One year I cancelled my policy with an insurance company only to take up a new policy as ‘new business’ with the very same company.

Shop around
Every year my insurance comes up for renewal I get searching online for alternatives. As I mentioned before, a policy that is new to an insurance company will usually be cheaper than a renewal with the same company if you are already a customer. Websites known in the trade as ‘aggregator’ or ‘comparison sites’ in normal people speak are great for a quick check to see if you are being quoted over the odds or not.

Don’t limit yourself to just these sites though, as some of the insurance companies on there lead back to the same parent company. There’s a puppet master at the top playing with two or three prices to encourage you back and forth between their companies. You’ll also see a lot of companies who act as the face of the product, but are ultimately not the actual insurance company. For example, Tesco are underwritten by Ageas, so it’s always worth seeing if you can get a quote out of the ultimate underwriter.  

Miles
Everyone I’ve spoken to puts 10-12,000 miles as there estimated mileage for the year, for no reason than because it’s the average that most people cover. Stop! If you are covering more, you are under declaring to your insurance company, which could land you in trouble. On the other side of the coin however, why would you want to pay based on 10,000 miles, if you only do 8,000? Or 5,000? If you don’t use your car that much, drop the miles to a more realistic number. Remember, you can always let your insurance company know if things change and you think you’ll end up going over what you predicted – it is a prediction after all.

A friend of mine routinely put 10k when each year they’d actually never exceeded 7k. That one little change dropped a couple of hundred pounds of their premium!
Job
If you’ve got a little more time on your hands, or really need to count those pennies have a look at the different ways to describe what you do. A guy in my office told me that there are 6-7 different categories on comparison websites to describe what we do. All are correct, but there are all priced slightly differently. Admittedly, there is very little difference between them, but if you’ve got the time, it could be worth testing to see which is better.

Excess
If you have a claim, your excess is the amount you have to pay towards your own damage. If your car is undamaged, and you’ve just damaged someone else’s, you won’t pay one, and your insurance company will deal with the costs relating to putting the other vehicle right. The higher your excess, the less your insurance company will have to pay towards damage to your vehicle, and so they’ll be willing to charge you less on your premium.

Proceed with caution when it comes to bumping the excess up. Sure, a £1,000 excess might mean cheaper insurance than if you chose £250, but it means you might have to find an extra £750 if something happens to your car. Avoid an excess you can’t afford to pay.

Cover
In the old days dropping to a lower level of cover used to be a cheaper alternative to fully comprehensive cover. Sadly the insurance companies are onto us, and that usually doesn’t work anymore. In fact, it may even put the price up. If you aren’t fussed about having cover for damage to your own car, have a play with the different options and see what’s cheaper. Just because you have fully comp doesn’t mean you have to claim for damage to your own car, but its good to have the option.

Drivers
I’m sure we all remember putting parents or older family members on our insurance to try and bring the price down. Personally I would always check with, and without the extra drivers to see what the difference was, and then whittle it down accordingly as too many drivers can also put the price up. Do not be tempted to lie about who’s car it is.

I’ve come across a few parents who buy a car in their own name, insure it, and have their kid as a named driver. Then the car is used solely by their child as ‘their’ car. This is known as fronting, which is illegal and falls within the bracket of insurance fraud. Not only could it make life difficult in getting a policy in the future, but it also stops the young person from building up their own no claims experience. If an insurance company can prove fraud, they can refuse to pay any claim under the policy, and in some circumstances refuse to return the premium you’ve already paid.

Sure, It’s expensive up front to insure a new or a young driver, but it will pay off a lot quicker if you are honest about who’s car it is.

Dashcams
Back when I used to work in Motor Claims dashcams were worth their weight in gold. Sadly people are not always honest, and as a claims handler we’d frequently hit the scenario where each driver is blaming the other with a different version of what happened. You know at least one of them isn’t being truthful, but how can you possibly know which one? Footage of what happened is honest, unbiased and aids the insurer in deciding who is at fault for an incident.

As they are so helpful in the event of a claim, having a dashcam could mean you get a discount on your insurance. Be warned however, sometimes it doesn’t work out that way. On occasion, and insurance company will view a camera as another thing they might have to pay for, so make sure you find out what their stance your insurance company has on them.

Claims
If you’ve been unlucky enough to have been involved in an incident, you may be worried about what it might do to the price of your policy. Sadly it’s likely to go up if you were at fault, but you can help negate the damage to your bank account a little. Calling your current insurance company for a claim update can help push that claim along to settlement. When a claim is open the insurance company might have a guess as to how much they are likely to pay, but they’ll be wary that the estimate could end up higher.

Once a claim is done, dusted, paid and closed, they’ll feel far more comfortable with it. This tends to work better for commercial policies, rather than those for normal people like you and me, but there’s no harm in getting claims closed if they no longer need to be open.

Ask!
Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t but asking for money off actually gets you money off! Your odds are about 50/50 but if you indicate you think the price is high, and you’re going to look somewhere else you might get a few quid knocked off straight off the bat. Your odds of this working get better if you are considered to be a ‘good risk’, so if you’ve had a lot of claims, you are unlikely to get very far.

Ultimately, the perfect client for an insurance company is one that doesn’t cost them money in claims from crashing all the time. As I say to all of my clients, the most important thing to remember when taking out insurance is to be honest, even if it means you don’t get money off. You’d be surprised how much an insurance company can find out, so telling them fibs will almost always get found out and could invalidate the policy you’ve paid good money for.

This is the first time I’ve written anything involving my profession, but if you found it helpful, or would like any other insurance related tips make sure to let me know in the comments below!
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2 comments

  1. First off, thank you so much for mentioning me, that's so kind of you! 💖 I couldn't wait to read this after you told me about it, I'll be looking at insurance from the 21st onwards and this will definitely help! It's so good to read some pointers from an insider, this is going to help so many people! 😊 I had no idea about different ways to describe what I do, that's so smart! I've heard about shopping about and the mileage but that's it Haha I'm bookmarking this for sure, going to be handy in the upcoming weeks xx

    Jordanne || thelifeofaglasgowgirl.co.uk

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    Replies
    1. You are very welcome! Thank you for sharing the inspiration for me to put this post together in the first place!

      I hope some of these are helpful and save you some pennies!

      Em xx

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