The cost of insuring our cars is accelerating this year. We explain how you can put the brakes on pricey premiums.
Car insurance already accounts for a sizeable chunk of our household finances and drivers will pay even more this year with premiums typically rising by £96, pushing an average policy to £691.
Why are premiums rising?
- The rise can be attributed, in part, to the three hikes in Insurance Premium Tax (IPT) over the past two years. IPT is a tax on insurers but the cost is passed on to us via our policies and is charged as a percentage of the whole premium. From June 1, there will be a further hike taking the tax to 12 per cent.
- Whiplash fraud is another major pressure on insurance costs. Fraudulent claims – ones that are either exaggerated or fabricated – add £40-£50 to an honest motorist’s annual policy. The good news is the government has promised to introduce reforms to tackle whiplash fraud and it’s hoped insurers will pass on savings by reducing premiums. But there are currently no concrete plans - so it’s vital you try to get the best deal you can.
Don’t accept your renewal
Unless you tell your car insurance provider that you don’t want to continue with your policy, it will be automatically renewed - and you’ll almost certainly end up paying over the odds. Insurers usually increase prices in the second year to re-coup the cost of discounts offered from the first year. Only by comparing quotes and switching every year can you be sure you’re paying the best price. There simply is no reward for loyalty.
Shop around using a comparison website such as Mustard.co.uk. Run the best deal past your current insurer to see if they’ll match it - most are receptive to renewal premiums being queried and will hopefully offer reductions to keep you. It’s cheaper for them to keep a customer than find a new one and research by Consumer Intelligence found 20 per cent of insurers matched a rival’s quote. If they won’t, switch.
The nearer you get to your policy start date, the more expensive your premium will be, so make a note to shopping around early to save money. Aviva, LV and Nationwide give new quotes that are valid for 60 days before your renewal is due.
Be a careful driver
Being a careful motorist can also help reduce your premium. Selected insurers now fit a clever device into your car that measures how well you drive. Your premiums are then based on how safe and conscientious a driver you are, instead of paying for insurance based on the average driver. Don’t forget your no-claims discount (NCD) either; it can knock more than 70 per cent off your premium after five claim-free years. Pay to protect your NCD and don’t claim for minor bumps. Ensure you always stick to the speed limit as points on your licence push up insurance.
7 speedy ways to cut car insurance
- Ditch the ‘optional extras’ such as a courtesy car if you have two cars at home.
- Recently retired? Lower annual mileage can save money.
- Adding your spouse to your policy can cut your premium if they’re a careful driver.
- Pay for cover upfront to avoid being charged for spreading the cost.
- Increase your excess to lower premiums, ensuring you can afford it if you do have to claim.
- Tweak your job description e.g. describing yourself as a PA rather than a secretary could save you money.
- Direct Line, Aviva and Zurich don’t show up on comparison websites such as GoCompare.com so visit their websites to check how they compare.
- Words Yours Money Editor, Sarah Jagger
- Find cheaper car insurance at Mustard.co.uk or speak to a Mustard adviser on 0330 022 8814