How to find affordable car insurance
By: Louis Cooper
Last updated: 16 October 2015
Young drivers, is unaffordable car insurance getting you down? Don’t worry because you’re not alone. Far too many teenagers are suffering the same fate and you may be wondering why you are paying over the odds for car insurance. Young drivers are especially high risk customers, that’s the obvious reason, but it’s mainly because the insurers can get away with it. To put it straight, it’s unfair. So we want to help you get on the road as quickly and in as little money as you can stretch to.
Here are our best tips for lowering your car insurance premiums. You must remember you are trying to minimise the risk you pose to insurers the best you can whilst still telling the truth. Lying on your insurance application deems your policy invalid and is fraud, which is also known as ‘fronting’ in the industry. That being said, as it’s your first year of driving you are able to use a few helpful tips in your favour.
After your age and experience which are both unchangeable factors, the type of car you own impacts your premiums the most. And just because you’re sporting a beard at 17, don’t think you can get away with posing as a 45 year old dad-of-two, with “years” of driving experience, it’s not gonna happen/ do you any favours.
Aim for a car with a smaller engine i.e. 1.0 – 1.2 litre. Anything more than that and insurance is automatically £2,000+. You might not appreciate a less than poky ride that struggles to reach 60 in less than 15 seconds, but you will appreciate the savings. The difference for a 17 year old driving a 1 litre engine car and a 1.4 can be up to £1000 or more.
We found a 2002 plate Nissan Micra 1.0 for £250 (100,000 miles on the clock), and insurance for as little as £997. So that’s a car and insurance and not a lot else for a little over £1200.
Key considerations that help lower your premiums are the safety and security of your car. Where it is kept at night and during the day are big factors. So if you have a garage, use it! You don’t want to tell your insurers your car is left out on the road overnight. If no garage, then driveway is fine. Also insurers take into account things like trackers and alarm systems, cars with security features fitted are less of a risk so are less to insure.
Third party or fully comp? This is often a tough one, and at the cheaper end of insurance there is not a lot in it between insuring against others (third party) and insuring your car too (comprehensive). This can vary between insurance quotes, so try all options every time. In most cases, with a car worth £1000 or less it’s cheaper to go third party if the cheaper insurers offer it, then solve any personal car repairs outside of insurance.
The amount of time spent in your car creates a higher risk, so more miles equals more risk and more money. You want to aim to set your mileage as low as possible, but without fibbing. As it’s your first year you probably don’t know how many miles you will drive annually. So anything from 8000 and below will do you a favour. To give you an idea, the difference between 5000 and 10,000 annual mileage can be hundreds £££.
Really consider a policy that will install a telematics system on your car. This dramatically lowers your insurance premium by 30-70% by tracking your driving (i.e. speed and miles driven). Many of these policies even take advantage of smartphone apps which may result in not requiring a black box to be installed. Bonus! Drive with care though, the last thing you want is to end up putting up your premiums through reckless driving and lots of miles, that won’t save you any money at all.
Another factor that not many young people may consider is employment status, and yes, being unemployed raises premiums. Even your job title can affect how much you pay. Try this tool from Money Saving Expert to work out how much you could save. We found from our research that insurance prices were higher for students who lived away from home than students living at home. The key difference here is again, hours spent in the car, what with travelling greater distances to come home from Uni. The higher price might have something to do with student housing areas also being higher risk.
Modifications like spoilers, rims, tinted windows and anything else can increase the price of your insurance. If you want to save yourself money, go for a car with no modifications.
Searching for car insurance can be a nightmare, but comparison sites make the struggle a lot easier. The best available are Money Supermarket, Go Compare, Confused.com and Uswitch.com. You should remember to check with Direct Line and Aviva for independent quotes though, as they do not feature on any comparison sites.
Pay annually in one lump sum, although this is a large expense to afford at once, it will save you up to 20% in the long run over opting to pay monthly.
Once you have decided what insurer you would like to choose a policy with be sure to go through a cashback site when purchasing your insurance. You can save up to £70 this way and some companies offer more cashback and incentives than others so another comparison may be required at this final stage after the initial comparison.
Lastly, you’ve had your insurance for a year and it is coming up for renewal. DO NOT let it auto renew! This could be the most expensive indecision you make and when you do a deal with most insurers, auto-renewal will be built into the agreement. Therefore, you must make sure you shop around before the date of renewal to avoid paying a high rate. It does not pay to be loyal in the insurance game so always look at other insurers and go back to your existing insurer with cheaper competitor quotes to get the best deal possible.