If there’s one thing drivers know about insurance, it’s that it’s obligatory. But when it comes to the type of insurance they need, factors that affect the cost and what happens when a claim is made, things might start to get a little fuzzy.
Coupled with the rise in premiums over the last few years, it makes sense for drivers to be as informed as possible when it comes to getting the best protection they can. Here, we’ve compiled a collection of car insurance pointers to help you out and get the best deal.
Since insurance is a legal requirement for motorists of all ages. Anyone who is found to be in violation of the rules dictated by the Continuous Insurance Enforcement (CIE) can receive a £100 fixed penalty notice, have their car clamped and even face court prosecution with fines of up to £1,000.
That means even if you have a car that you only drive occasionally, you must get it insured or declare it as off the road with a Statutory Off Road Notice (SORN) notification to avoid such infractions.
Additionally, if you have an accident while driving without insurance, you’ll have to cover all related costs yourself – including repairs to any cars or property damaged in as well as any medical bills.
In the UK, there are three levels of car insurance: third party; third party, fire and theft; and comprehensive.
It’s important to shop around to get the best possible deal; simply auto-renewing with your existing insurer won’t necessarily result in the ideal insurance policy. And since insurance is affected by many different things, there’s a lot to factor in where you’re looking for the best deal, including the below:
The excess is the amount you agree to pay towards any claim – and for the most part, the higher the excess, the lower the premium. So, a claim of £500 with an excess of £200 means the insurer only pays out £300. The excess is broken into two parts:
If you’re making a small claim, it may be worthwhile paying for any repairs yourself instead, especially if you stand to lose a no-claims discount.
Recently, there have been a number of new policies launched by insurers. These include black box (or telematics) insurance, which uses a small black box fitted to your vehicle which monitors the way you drive. Provided you’re a careful driver, it’s possible to save up to a third with a telematics policy.
If your household has more than one car, then you can also save up to a third by covering all the vehicles registered at the address on a single policy. Alternatively, if you don’t drive very often, there are short-term insurance options that will cover you to drive a vehicle for between one and 28 days.
When you need to make a claim, it’s imperative that you contact your insurer as quickly as possible – when you do this, be sure have your policy details and the details of anyone else involved to hand.
Upon receiving a claim form, you should also complete and send it back as soon as possible, enclosing any supporting evidence. Also, be sure to keep a copy of the claim form, and any other relevant paperwork, along with a record of your phone calls or emails. Additionally, wait for a list of approved garages from the insurer before undertaking any repairs – if not, you could find yourself paying for the bill because the garage you used isn’t included on the list.
If you agree to pay for a larger portion of your own damages by raising your deductibles, your insurance company automatically knows they won’t have to pay as much for your claims. That means they’ll usually give you a lower premium as a result. If you raise your deductibles to save money, just make sure you can afford to pay the deductible in the event of a claim.
If you let your policy lapse, you’ll probably pay more when you buy car insurance. This is because the majority of insurance companies look at drivers without insurance as something of a risk. If you don’t want to pay for insurance, or you’re planning to let your policy expire before switching car insurance, then make sure to purchase car insurance before your current policy is cancelled – this will help you avoid paying more.
Many insurance companies offer discounts for things such as a safe driving record, anti-theft devices, electronic payments and car safety features. When you’re shopping around for car insurance, look out for companies who reward your record of safe driving with deals and discounts.