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What is Car Insurance?

Car insurance is a form of legally required financial protection in the UK that may cover your costs if your find your car in an accident, stolen, damaged or set on fire. If you own a car and operate it on the roads in the UK, you must have car insurance. The only time that you don’t need car insurance in the UK is when the vehicle is declared SORN.

Being caught without insurance on your vehicle can have serious consequences, with the most common being given six penalty points on your driving licence and a minimum fine of £300.

What Types of Car Insurance Are Available?

Car insurance comes with a few different types of cover, each giving slightly more financial protection that the previous. The type of car insurance you purchase will depend on the level of cover you want to achieve and the amount of money you can afford.

This is the minimum level of cover on offer, and is also the least amount of cover you need to drive on the roads in the UK. Third party cover will only offer financial aid should you injure or damage someone else or their property. This has no cover for your car.

This form of cover is a slight upgrade from third party only in that it offers a pay-out if your car is stolen or catches fire. It still has the benefit of third party only cover but it will not offer any financial protection towards the cost of your own vehicle should your car be in an accident.

This is the best level of cover an insurer will offer you for car insurance. It gives you full financial protection on your vehicle should you have an accident as well as covering you third party, fire and theft.

How to Get Low-Cost Car Insurance

When an insurer offers you a quote there are several things that they use to work out how much of a risk it is to insure you. The higher the risk, the higher the price your car insurance will be.

To help explain this a bit further we’ve put together a non-exhaustive list of considerations which an insurer may use to offer you a quote:

Each car make and model is assigned an insurance group. Cars in higher insurance groups cost more to insure than those in the lower groups. You can find out which insurance group your car falls under through a free online car insurance group checker.

The storage facilities where your car rests when not being used also can affect the premium’s price. If you’re able to store your vehicle on a driveway, in a garage or even at a car port you actively reduce the risk of theft.

The longer you spend on the road, the more expensive your premium usually is. This is because you’re seen as more likely to have an accident. Therefore when inputting your mileage it is best to get an accurate number as possible, you can do this by looking at previous MOT certificates and working out the difference then rounding it up.

Postcodes across the country have different amounts of risk involved. This is due to the amount of theft or vandalism the area may have. Therefore, it is often seen that people living in London will have a higher cost for their premium than those living in somewhere such as Exeter.

If your job requires you to do a lot of driving or work around heavy machinery you will be seen as a higher risk.

If you’ve had previous driving convictions or had claims against you from previous incidents you are seen as a higher risk. It is always best to be honest when filling out this section of our quote journey, as misinformation may lead to an invalid policy.

Adding new drivers to a policy will generally increase the cost of the premium. However, on the flip side if a new driver adds an experienced driver to their policy they may see a reduction in cost. You can always return to the quote journey to change over any additional drivers.

By actively volunteering a higher voluntary excess you’re displaying to a potential insurer that you’re willing to take responsibility for minor damages. It also indicates that you won’t be making lots of claims on your insurance. Just make sure that you can afford the voluntary excess amount, otherwise you could be left out of pocket.

Further Ways to Help Reduce the Cost of Car Insurance

To get a low-cost price for your car insurance you can follow these simple tips:

Compare insurance

The best way to get a lower cost car insurance premium is by shopping around. Usually this could take hours, approaching each company separately and providing the same details repeatedly. Our price comparison service for car insurance makes this activity a lot easier and quicker. Simply fill in your details once, select the type of cover you’re looking for and you’ll receive multiple quotes in minutes.

No-claims discount

Building a no-claims discount by paying for repairs or replacements yourself often earns a discount on car insurance premiums. The further you go without making a claim on your car insurance policies the bigger the discount will be year on year. Each company has a set limit on how much of a no-claims discount that they can provide.

Pay annually

Whilst this seems like the more expensive option, paying up front saves money over the course of a year. This is because the monthly instalments include interest per payment whereas a single payment does not.

Remove and avoid modifications

Modifying your car may be appealing, however modifications add to the cost of your insurance. This is because modifications can cost more to repair or replace. If your car is modified ensure your insurer is aware of the modifications otherwise your policy may not be valid.

Don’t auto-renew

As your car insurance policy comes to the end it might be tempting to have it automatically renew. This isn’t the most cost effective method as a competitor may offer you a cheaper premium policy.

Telematics insurances

Some car insurers offer policies which have a telematics, or “black box”, attached to your car. This is good for young and inexperienced drivers as it allows them a chance to lower their premiums by displaying their sensible driving abilities.

What Optional Extras Are Available for Car Insurance?

As with most insurances, you can add optional extras to your car insurance policy. It is best to check with your insurer if you wish to add any optional extras, as they will have better guidelines regarding what is covered.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Your career can have a direct impact on how much you pay for car insurance. Insurance companies often use your occupation as part of their risk assessment process when assessing your premium. Generally, those in higher-risk professions such as medical professionals or truck drivers tend to have higher premiums than those in lower-risk jobs like teachers or office workers.

Calculating the value of a car with an online tool such as Autotrader’s free valuation tool can be a quick and easy way to get an estimate of what your car is worth. Before you use an online valuation tool, it’s important to take the time to properly research and assess your car’s condition so that you are making an accurate estimation of its value.

Estimating your annual mileage is an important part of calculating your vehicle insurance premiums, as the amount of driving you do will affect the cost and coverage you are entitled to. To accurately estimate your annual mileage, it’s important to consider how often you drive for both work and pleasure. Take note of any regular trips you make such as a weekly commute or regular trips to visit family and friends or if you use the vehicle for work.

Once you have an estimate of your annual mileage, it’s important to update your insurer if you make any changes as this could affect the coverage and cost of your policy.

A no-claims bonus is an incentive offered by insurers that rewards drivers for their safe driving record. It can lead to cheaper premiums as the insurer may offer a discount on your policy if you don’t make any claims during the year. The more years of claim-free driving, the higher your no-claims bonus will be and the more money you can save on your car insurance. In addition to the cost savings, a no-claims bonus also helps to ensure that drivers are rewarded for their good driving habits, providing an incentive to avoid potential accidents and claims.

Typically, a comprehensive policy does not allow you to drive someone else’s car. However, some insurers may offer additional cover which permits the insured person to drive another vehicle with the permission of the owner. It is important to check with your insurer and make sure that you understand what cover is included in your policy before driving someone else’s vehicle.

Whilst it is not the only factor, your credit score can have an impact on your car insurance costs, as insurers often use it as part of their risk assessment process when calculating premiums. Generally, those with higher credit scores tend to pay lower premiums as they are considered less of a risk by insurers. However, it is important to note that each insurer has their own criteria when assessing premium costs and your credit score may not be the only factor taken into consideration.

Yes, even if your car isn’t on the road you still need to have a minimum of third-party insurance in place. This covers any potential damage or injuries caused by your vehicle. If you are keeping your car off the road for an extended period of time, it is worth speaking to your insurer as they may be able to provide you with a reduced premium that reflects the fact that your car is not in use.

If your car is off the road long term you can declare it SORN, therefore you won’t need to insure and tax it, however, you will not be able to legally drive it until you have re-insured and re-taxed it. If you’re worried about any damages whilst your car is SORN, such as theft, then you might be interested in SORN insurance.

Yes, it is important to declare any accident you are involved in even if you are not making a claim. Insurers need this information in order to accurately assess the risk of insuring your vehicle and may increase your premiums or refuse cover if they find that you have not declared an accident. Furthermore, failing to disclose an accident could invalidate any potential claims you make in the future.

Most insurers will allow you to cancel your policy within 14 days of you purchasing it, however, you will still be charged a fee for each day’s insurance you have used. After this period, you may still be able to cancel your policy although there is likely to be a charge for doing so. It is important to check with your insurer before cancelling as some may impose restrictions and penalties depending on the circumstances.

Yes, most insurers will charge you a cancellation fee if you cancel your policy before the agreed term has ended. The exact amount of the fee can vary from insurer to insurer and is usually based on how much of the policy period has elapsed. It is important to check with your insurer before cancelling as they may also levy additional charges or penalties depending on the circumstances.

Car insurance policies are typically valid for 12 months but can be taken out for shorter or longer periods depending on your needs and the insurer’s terms and conditions. It is important to check with your insurer before taking out a policy as some may impose restrictions.

Car insurance for new drivers tends to cost more than for experienced drivers as insurers consider them to be a higher risk. This is because young and inexperienced drivers are statistically more likely to have an accident or make a claim on their policy.

In addition, many new drivers have limited driving experience and so, may not be familiar with the rules of the road or other driving situations. This can make them more at risk of having an accident and, in turn, increases the cost of their car insurance.

Your quotes from insurers typically remain valid for up to 30 days, depending on the insurer. After this period, you will need to re-submit your request and obtain new quotes. You should also keep in mind that insurance policies may change over time so be sure to check with the insurer prior to purchasing a policy.

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