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How to get the best car insurance deal

You can't get on the road without insuring your car first, so grabbing a better deal and cutting costs where you can is always a good idea.

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Car insurance is mandatory, and it can be quite costly, so finding the best deal is a must for all drivers. Follow our tips to save pounds on your premiums.

Reduce your car mileage

One of the first things you may want to consider is whether you can reduce your annual mileage. Clocking up fewer miles each year behind the wheel of your used VW can help bring your insurance costs down.

Sam Sheehan, our motoring editor, says: “In the eyes of your insurer, less mileage means less driving, and therefore less risk on the road. So, covering fewer miles each year can save you money.

“Drivers are often tempted to overestimate their mileage as a precaution, but this can make your insurance more expensive. In fact, data shows that the average insurance payment for high-mileage motorists (20,000+ miles per year), whereas low-mileage drivers can expect to pay about £59.

“That said, always be honest with your insurance provider. If you exceed your predicted mileage without telling your insurer and need to make a claim, you might invalidate your policy.”

Look at insurance comparison sites

The car insurance market is highly competitive and there are lots of companies offering insurance so, to get the best deal, shop around.

The quickest and easiest way to do this is to use one of the big insurance comparison websites, which could potentially save you hundreds of pounds – it's worth checking two or three sites to make sure you’re getting the best deal possible. 

But bear in mind not all insurance companies allow their policies to be sold via these sites, so you won’t get every option.

It's also important to compare like-for-like cover when shopping around. Some policies might seem cheaper, but may not offer the same level of cover. 

If you do use a comparison website, enter your details and check the prices that come up. You can change elements, such as the excess that you’re prepared to pay and your annual mileage, in order to get different quotes.

The other advantage of shopping around comparison websites is you can use quotes you are given as leverage with your existing insurer. If you’ve been happy with their cover and service, but the renewal quote is a bit of a jump in price, let them know what alternatives you’ve found, then ask them to match it. 

Protect your no-claims bonus

A no-claims (NCB), or no claims discount (NCD) is a valuable way of reducing insurance costs. It builds up over a number of years, so you should protect it as much as possible. 

Protecting the NCD might cost you a few extra quid, but weigh that up against losing a 90% discount on a premium that can cost hundreds of pounds annually. 

It's also worth examining how different insurers define a protected NCD, because it's not always the same.

Consider how you describe your job title

Interestingly, the way you word or describe your profession can affect the overall cost of your car insurance.

For example, a ‘chef’ might trigger a different quote to a ‘cook’, and so might a ‘lawyer’ as opposed to a ‘barrister’. If you’re using a comparison website to source car insurance, try using similar-sounding job titles to see if there’s one that might save you a few quid.

As always, be sure to be honest and accurate. Inputting a misleading job title is seen as fraud and, at best, can invalidate your insurance policy.

Add a black box

Black box insurance policies are becoming increasingly popular, especially among young drivers, as they can help you bring down your insurance costs.

Sam says: “With this kind of policy in place, your insurer will fit a telematics system – known as ‘black box’ – to monitor your style of driving.

“A black box will record anything from average driving speed to the harshness of any braking or accelerating. If the data shows that you’re a careful, attentive driver, you might benefit from lower premiums.

“However, if the stats aren’t as reassuring, your insurance costs might go up. So, installing a black box in your car can give you extra motivation to drive responsibly and be rewarded for it with a cheaper insurance policy.”

Increase your car insurance excess

Another way of reducing the cost of your insurance policy is to consider different levels of your excess.

“Voluntary excess is the amount of money you’re willing to pay when filing a claim,” Sam explains.

“If you agree to contribute more towards the cost of repairs in the event of an accident, your premiums are likely to go down.

“However, be realistic when increasing your voluntary excess. Don’t sign up to an amount that you’ll struggle to pay if you need to make a claim.”

Install a car alarm, car immobiliser or car tracking device 

Installing car safety devices to keep your vehicle secure is likely to reduce your insurance costs, too. 

Sam adds: “As well as helping keep your car safe from thieves, having an alarm, immobiliser or tracking device can reduce your insurance premium.

“Modern cars tend to be fitted with security equipment anyway, so inform your insurer to benefit from a better quote.”

Keeping your car in a lockable garage should also result in lower premiums. If you have one, keep your car in it and let your insurer know.

Learn more about saving money on car running costs: