Drivers could beat rising premiums and cut their costs significantly, simply by not leaving it until the last minute to renew their car insurance.

That’s the conclusion of a study commissioned by GoCompare, which found that 89% of drivers would see cheaper quotes if they shopped around a week before their policy start date, rather than leaving it until the day itself. On average, they could save 12% – or £76 – on their insurance, just by buying their policy seven days before it was due to start.

The study looked at 200 individual risks and compared the real premiums offered by insurers at six different periods in the month before the policies were due to start. While the best savings were found a week before the start date, there were also substantial savings to be made throughout the month leading up to it. It is only on the day before the start date that the picture changes, as insurers start to increase their prices. As a result, average savings reduced to £45, or 7%, although 70% of drivers still saw a saving.

“Car insurance is one market where leaving it until the last minute in the hope of getting a bargain definitely doesn’t work,” GoCompare’s Mark Gutteridge said. “Getting next year’s insurance over and done with early could see drivers potentially save a significant amount of money.

“This is great news for drivers, especially those who pay a lot more for their car insurance such as younger drivers. According to GoCompare data, the average premium for an 18 year-old driver is £2,100, meaning a 12% reduction could represent a saving of as much as £252.

“Drivers need to be alive to the fact that insurers are finessing their pricing this way and that leaving things until the last minute could be costing them more than they might think. Armed with this new insight, drivers can get themselves a better deal.”