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Our top 10 tips to get cheap car insurance

Dan Powell

Written by

Dan Powell

Road tax VED system is changing in 2021.
  • We reveal our top tips for getting cheaper insurance premiums
  • Find out how to haggle on insurance
  • Will a black box reduce the cost?

Has your annual car insurance renewal landed on your doormat recently? Is it more expensive than you expected? We’ve got the advice and help you need right here. Simply follow these 10 steps to get on your way to cheaper cover.

Rethink the auto-renewal quote

This is one of our golden rules to saving money on car insurance. A study by GoCompare found that 5 million drivers were caught out by the auto-renewal car insurance trap in 2019, which costs UK drivers a huge £1.2 billion in higher premiums.

Auto-renewing your car insurance tends to be more expensive than shopping around. An easy way to avoid it is by adding your renewal date to your diary, and a few weeks ahead, letting your insurer know you’ll not be renewing your policy with them. They might try to convince you to stay with them. If they do, ask for their best quote and then continue onto step two.

Shop around

It’s never been easier to shop around for car insurance. Simply log on to a comparison site, (we like MoneySuperMarket and Confused.com) fill in your details (about you, your job and the car) and the site will give you quotes from dozens of car insurers. Not only can you compare the offers, but you can also see the rates of interest you’ll get if you choose to pay monthly.

Make your job work for you

As well as checking each car insurance quote to get you the best deal, you could have something else which works in your favour - your job! NHS workers, for example, may qualify for car insurance discounts. Sometimes so do scientists, engineers and military service personnel, along with teachers and education professionals. If you can’t find any discounts, ask your professional or trade association. They’ll usually have an up-to-date list of all the businesses that give discounts for your profession.

Don’t be afraid to haggle

It always pays to ask. Pick up the phone and give those companies with the cheapest quotes a call - you might be able to haggle a discount, or get a better policy altogether. Be upfront about your mileage and where the car will be parked, but don’t accept their first offer. Instead, challenge their quote with other prices you’ve found. They might match it or even throw in a freebie, like breakdown cover.

Don't modify your car - it’ll cost you more to insure

Many insurers won’t give you cheap insurance for a modified or enhanced car. Modifications to your car can include engine remaps, exhaust upgrades or changes to the suspension. Insurance companies that do provide cover will usually charge a lot more - in some cases more than the car’s worth - so be realistic about what you can afford. And don’t be tempted to stretch the truth about any changes you’ve done to your car. Remember, the insurer can cancel the policy if you’ve not been 100% truthful about the car - so it’s just not worth it.

Add a second driver

If you’re not the only one who might use your car, a way to lower the price is by adding a second driver. Some insurers offer discounts if you add a low-risk driver to the policy like a parent or older relative. Don’t add a younger driver – it’ll push the price up – and don’t give the impression that the second driver will be the main user of the vehicle - that’s usually considered to be ‘fronting’ by the insurance industry and is illegal. Drivers caught ‘fronting’ could have their policy cancelled and may be prosecuted for insurance fraud.

Save money by fitting a black box

If you’re lucky enough to be younger than 25, then you might find the cheapest policies include a black box device. If you're confident about your driving, a black box might be the answer to your money-saving car insurance prayers!

These little gadgets are fitted to your car in order to pick up information - everything from the amount of miles you cover, to what time of day the car is being driven, your location and even your driving style. Some car insurance companies are moving to app-based trackers, which means your phone will do the work of the black box and send it to your policy provider.

Use a broker

In a world where comparison sites are king it may seem old fashioned to employ a broker, but it can work to your benefit to have someone on your side. The British Insurance Brokers’ Association is another comparison site - but one with a key difference. Instead of just compiling prices from insurers, they find the nearest brokers to you, who can help you get the cheapest quote.

Cut your mileage

By the law of averages, the more you drive the more likely you are to be involved in an accident. Sit down and work out your car’s usage. Be sure to include every mile you need for both for work and social use, then add 10% to that total to make sure you cover any unforeseen journeys like emergencies. Tip: using your car to commute to work, for example, may push up your premium. So it could pay off to walk, cycle or use public transport if you can. If you know you’ll no longer need your car for commuting to work, then let your insurer know.

Be honest

We know we don’t have to tell you this - but we always like to remind people to be honest about yourself and the car you’ll be driving. Don’t tell the insurer that your car will be stored in a secure garage if it’ll be outside your flat in a busy part of town or a city street. Likewise, be upfront about your mileage and any modifications that have been made to the car.

Remember, insurers base their quotations on what you tell them. They also have the right to cancel your policy or refuse a claim if you have been dishonest or stretched the truth. A cancelled policy will put you in a higher risk category and could result in years of even higher premiums. Always be truthful when you’re answering any questions from your policy provider.


See also: 

Cars that are cheap to run

Best small cars for passing the MoT

Best cars with a seven year warranty