Motorists have been amongst the hardest hit consumers to suffer continued price rises over the past few years, and it isn’t just the increases in the cost of fuel that are to blame.Compare car insurance at Propertywide.
Insurance is a legal requirement for drivers, and their vehicles and annual premiums have been shooting up above the rate of inflation for a number of years.
Whilst the insurance companies give many reasons for the steep upward curve of their charges, citing everything from organised gangs creating fraudulent accident claims through to changes in EU equality laws, many people are asking how they can keep their costs down and stay within the law.
Even the most careful drivers with years of proven experience are finding themselves hit with increased premiums, so what are some of the things that can be done to make sure driving simply doesn’t become too expensive to continue doing?
When your insurance period comes to an end it’s easy to simply stick with the same provider and agree to the increased premium.
If you originally went through a broker you may find that a renewal notice includes alternative cheaper suggestions, but if your contact is direct with the insurer it’s more likely that your costs will have increased.
Shopping around for a better price has never been easier as online tools can give you accurate information with minimal fuss.
Dedicated insurance comparison websites can give a good overall idea of what you should be paying, but remember that some companies only make their products available through their own websites.
Even if you decide to stick with your present insurer it’s always worth haggling to see if they are willing to make concessions to keep an existing customer.
As with any kind of insurance, security plays a part in the calculations of premiums for any type of policy that includes cover against theft or loss.
In the same way that contents insurance usually has some demands as to the type and quality of locks and security systems for your property, motor vehicle insurance costs can be influenced in a similar way.
If your vehicle is parked off road or in a locked garage this can help reduce premiums, as will letting your insurer know about alarms and other anti-theft measures such as an immobiliser or tracking device. There are other aspects which can influence matters, some as small as whether or not simple additions such as locking wheel nuts for alloy wheels are used.
Perhaps the biggest factor when it comes to security influence premiums is one of location, with the result that some postcodes will suffer far higher costs than others due to real or perceived concerns.
Think about what you drive
At the very basic level, car insurance premiums are calculated on which ‘group’ your vehicle is determined to fall into. The groups are numbered one to 50 and cars that are in lower insurance groups will benefit from lower premium costs. The Group Rating Panel is a business body which meets on a monthly basis to place any new UK-built passenger car in a group with other similar vehicles for the purposes of rating for insurance classification.
These groups are separated by many factors, all of which ultimately relate to the cost of possible insurance claims that may affect the kind of car in the group.
Performance levels, engine power and style of car are all taken into account in the process of risk assessment, including everything from the likelihood of your car being damaged for reasons other than accidents and the cost of subsequent repairs that would need to be covered.
So plainly a brand new high performance car driven straight off of the dealership forecourt will obviously be in a much higher insurance group than a ten year old second hand car with a smaller engine capacity.
A matter of gender
The recent changes to laws by the European Court of Justice in regard to gender equalisation rulings have seen some female drivers premiums increase, but could also mean that it is cheaper for men to swap their insurance mid-term as both sexes are now treated equally in risk assessment calculations.
Before making a move like this it is essential to find out if there are any penalties chargeable by your current insurer.
Even if your vehicle is only insured for personal use that doesn’t include work duties, your occupation can still impact on premium charges.
Although it is difficult to second guess any insurance premium calculation process, for example a job description such as ‘journalist’ could be considered to carry a greater potential risk than that of a ‘writer’.
Of course the main way of getting cheaper insurance as a driver is to have a clean license and long-term no claims bonus. Remember that even if you are involved in an insurance claim that has no blame attached to you, it can influence your no claims record.