The Guide to Cheap Insurance
I’ll be honest, getting car insurance for a reasonable cost is really quite tricky when you’re a young driver, but it’s something you’ve got to figure out if you want to get on the road. Luckily, there are a few tricks you can use to lower your premiums significantly – this thread is here to guide you through the process!
First off: why do we have to pay for insurance?
So let’s assume you’ve bought a cheap £400 rust bucket to drive around in with your left over student loan this year – you’ve had to pay for the car, the tax, the fuel, and the maintenance costs for keeping it on the road – why should you pay for insurance too? After all, your car is practically worthless, you can just buy a new one! Right…?
It’s not about the damage to your car; it’s about the damage to can do to others!
This is a key point that is essential to grasping how your premium is calculated – the vast majority of it is based on the risk of you causing damage that require a claim to be put through your insurance. No one ever intends to have a crash, but it can happen to the best of us.
A car is a heavy beast, capable of causing hundreds of thousands of points worth of damage in seconds – car insurance is designed to cover you in the unlikely event of a catastrophic collision – something it’s very unlikely you could afford to cover yourself.
What types of insurance are there?
When you’re looking for your next car insurance quote, there are three
main types of policy – these are:-
This is the minimum coverage required by UK law – it essentially covers you for the damage of other people’s property, caused by your vehicle. If anything happens to your car, you’re not covered – this level of cover is the absolute minimum.
Third Party, Fire, and Theft (TPFT)
As well as covering you for third party damage, this level of cover will also cover your vehicle should it suffer damage as a result of fire, or if it is stolen. Any other type of damage, though, and you’re still not covered.
This level of cover takes care of your third party responsibilities, as well as protecting your vehicle against damage. If you back into a wall and wreck your rear bumper, it’s covered. Insurers do tend to have exclusions to this type of cover, which means that any mechanical failures or breakdowns aren’t covered.
So what’s cheaper?
At a glance, you’d probably assume that Third Party cover would be the cheapest level of insurance, given the fact it covers you for less than the others, right? Believe it or not, in most cases, Fully Comprehensive
cover is cheaper than Third Party! Whilst this may seem counter-productive for the insurers, the rationale is that statistics show people who choose third-party insurance are riskier. Conveniently, this works in your favour; you get a higher level of cover for a cheaper price!
Picking your vehicle
This logic doesn’t always apply, and you should always check all three levels of cover to see which provides you the cheapest premium!
One of the common mistakes people make when trying to find a cheap insurance quote is purchase a car first, then try and find a policy afterwards. This is NOT
the ideal process. If you can help it, aim to pick a car that’ll be cheap to insure.
All cars are put into insurance groups – there’s 50 groups, ranging from 1 to 50. Cars in insurance group 1 are generally the cheapest to insure, and those in insurance group 50 are typically the most expensive to insure. It’s important to note that each model of a car has its own insurance group, so do keep an eye on the specific model
of the car, not just its name!
Picking a car in insurance groups 1 through 5 is a sure-fire way to get a good deal. The Parkers website is a great way to see all the insurance groups, and the associated models of car - click here to visit
It’s worth noting that the age and value of your car can also have an effect on your premiums – there tends to be a sweet spot for age, with a car that isn’t too old, but isn’t too new either – this is due to the improvements in safety of vehicles manufactured in recent years. Too new and expensive of a car, though, may make your premiums more expensive. A five year old car is a good baseline!
There may be outliers to this logic, but for this thread, we will stick to the above.
Let’s start getting some quotes!
Okay, so you’ve found the car that suits you, and you’re now ready to start looking for a good deal on your insurance policy. Where do we start? Comparison websites!
There’s four main comparison websites you’ll want to have open:-
Compare the Market
Don’t limit your search to a single comparison website as the quotes won’t always be the same. Finding the best quote takes a little bit of effort, so only start this when you have a time.
Get yourself a pen and paper, and draw yourself a little grid with four quadrants (or columns!), label each one with a comparison website named above. Use this grid to track the best quotes across each website.
Entering your details
This is where the grunt work begins – we’ve got to do a bit of data entry. Starting with your first comparison website, pop in the number plate of your vehicle and start filling out your details. The information you enter on the form determines the quotes you’ll be given, so this is where we can start using some tricks to get the premiums down.
Tip #1 – Named Drivers
Logically speaking, adding additional drivers to your policy should increase your premiums – right? You’d think that, but in the majority of cases, it’s quite the opposite. If your parents drive, it’s worth adding them to your policy to see if the premiums go down; in most cases, they will.
Why is this? Insurance is all about risk! On a scale of 1 to 10, a new driver is probably an 8 for risk – your parents however, are probably 3s. This means that if you added your parents to your policy, the average risk level is now a 5! I’m massively oversimplifying this, but you get the point.
You really need to try out different things, though, as your mum may lower your premium, and your dad increase it. Use a bit of trial and error to see what gets the premiums down the lowest. When picking your named drivers, always go for someone responsible, who would reasonably drive your car.
Tip #2 – Risk Minimising
Like we’ve said, insurance premiums are calculated based on your relative risk, so do everything you can to reduce your risk! A few factors you can adjust are your annual mileage, where you keep your car, and even the policy start date!
In theory, the lower your annual mileage, the cheaper your insurance premium should be, however this isn’t always the case. The recommended starting point when conducting your searches is 10,000 miles – use this as a baseline and then reduce it in increments of 1,000 miles towards your mileage and see what’s cheapest! Of course, if you do more than 10,000 miles in a year, you’ll need to declare your actual estimated mileage. Strangely enough, though, increasing your mileage can sometimes be cheaper! Try increasing your estimate in increments of 2,500 to see what the sweet spot is.
Moving on to the location of your car, this can be a little hit and miss. Usually, keeping a car in a garage or driveway is cheaper than on a road, due to the reduction in risk from theft and damage, however, this isn’t always the case; some insurers say that driving into a garage or driveway results in a higher risk of accidental damage. Like all the tips in this thread, try a few answers to see which is cheaper, but make sure to always follow through with what you’ve declared
– not doing so is grounds for cancellation; more on that later…
Believe it or not, even the start date of your policy can have a huge effect on your premium. Most comparison websites will let you get a quote for up to 30 days in advance, so tweak the dates and see which works out cheapest!
Tip #3 – Stay away from modifications
They may make your look car unique and “cool”, but anything that isn’t part of the standard vehicle specification (including factory fitted optional extras like alloy wheels) can seriously increase your premiums. Keep your car stock for a few years and save some money!
Tip #4 – Setting an Excess
The higher your voluntary excess is, the cheaper your premium is likely to be – the flipside to this is that in the event of a claim, you’ve got a lot of money to shell out. If you’re looking for a super cheap insurance deal, setting a £1,000 voluntary excess is likely to help you.
Do bear in mind that this isn’t always the case, and again, trial and error is key to finding a good deal!
Tip #5 – Multicar Policies
If you’ve got more than one vehicle in your household, it’s worth checking out insurers who will offer a multicar discount for insuring a number of vehicles at the same time – Admiral is an insurer that will offer up to a 25% discount. Ask the people in your household whether they’d be interested in this, as they can often save some money with this method too!
Tip #6 – Always go direct to the insurer
Once you’ve got a good idea of who is going to be cheapest, do a quote directly with that insurer; this is because comparison websites tend to take a cut of the sale, so by going to the insurer directly, you can save on that commission. This doesn’t always bring the price down, as some offers are only available through the comparison websites, so check which is best!
Tip #7 – Pay annually!
Paying for your insurance policy upfront will often save around 20% than if you were to pay monthly; this is due to the interest charges the insurers slap on when they sell you a monthly policy. If possible, always try and pay in full for the best deal.
After finding the cheapest policies across all four comparison websites, it’s time to get the premiums down even further! There’s two options available to us, but you can only pick one.
When you’ve found your perfect policy, consult some cashback websites to see whether any cashback is on offer – typically, there always is, especially for the mainstream insurance companies! It’s worth noting that you should never base your choices on cashback, as it’s never guaranteed.
Unfortunately, you can only get cashback if you follow through from the website to the insurer, so you can’t get cashback if you follow from the comparison websites.
Haggle to get the price down
This method is the fun one – ring up your chosen insurer and haggle! It doesn’t hurt to tell a few white lies. Say you’ve got a quote for £1500 – ring up and speak to someone, and mention that [insert competitor name here]
is offering the same policy for £1300, and can they match it? This method usually works best come renewal time, but it’s been known to save people hundreds of pounds on new policies too!
If you have no luck ringing once, it doesn’t hurt to try again, but if you still get nowhere, it’s probably not worth carrying on.
Black box insurance
You may have heard of black box (or telematics) insurance either from your friends, or during your search for a good deal – you may also have noticed that up until now, I haven’t mentioned it… for good reason.
On the face of it, the low premiums seem fantastic, and all you need to do is have a little box fitted to your car – but it’s certainly not as innocent as it seems. The telematics boxes are ruthless, and tend to be ridiculously unfair. Based on inaccurate hardware, these little boxes use a small number of sensors to automagically calculate how well you accelerate, brake, and go around corners, often incorrectly.
But that’s fine, you’ll just get a bad score and maybe a nasty letter, right? Wrong. Unless you drive absolutely perfectly and don’t have any emergencies, you’ll probably see your premiums rise, or worse, your policy be cancelled! The fees are astronomical too. As you’re limited to miles, if you hit the upper threshold, you’ll have to purchase more – this is often sold at a ridiculously inflated price. There’s plenty of other fees too, like moving the box to another car, or having the box removed at the end of the policy.
All in all, whilst black box insurance can in the minority of cases save you some money, it’s a false economy, lulling you into a false sense of security then making driving utterly unenjoyable. If at all possible, stay clear and pay the extra cost for a standard policy – you won’t regret it!
Some key warnings
Insurance is always going to be expensive for young drivers, there is no doubt about it, but you should not resort to dodgy measures in order to save on your premium.
Once seen as a loophole to getting cheap insurance for young drivers, “fronting” is when an experienced driver takes out a policy and declares themselves as the main driver, and a younger inexperienced driver as a named driver, when in fact the young driver will be using the car the most. This is considered fraud, which is highly illegal.
Whilst you may believe you’ll never be caught, insurers are ruthless come claim time, they will investigate and in the majority of cases, figure out what you’ve been doing.
It’s not worth the risk of a cancelled policy. Don’t do it.
Lying to an insurer
Obtaining insurance by deceit is another example of fraud – this is where the policyholder misrepresents “material facts” (something so important it would change the decision of the insurer). This could be something as simple as where you keep the car overnight, or something as serious as a speeding conviction.
A cancelled policy on your record will cost you megabucks in the long run – don’t risk it for a short term saving – not to mention the potential criminal record for fraud.
Always be truthful to an insurer, or you’ll be in hot water.
Last edited by Professor Oak; 4 months ago