13 Tips To Get Cheaper Car Insurance

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Alexandre Desoutter updated on February 26, 2021

According to the Association of British Insurers, fully comprehensive car insurance for an experienced driver in a single average car would cost you around £783 a year.

But if you are a young driver, have points on your licence, drive an expensive car or have lost your no-claim bonus, your car insurance premium will probably cost you way more than that.

So if you want to get a few tips that will - without any doubt - help you cutting your insurance costs, then just have a look at the below article and start saving money!

1 - Compare car insurance quotes

The first easy way to cut your insurance bill is to shop around, by comparing car insurance quotes from different insurers.

Good to know

Indeed, insurance prices can vary by a factor of three for the same driver.

If you already have an insurance policy, don't just renew it when it's due but look around to find the best car insurance deals.

Often, insurers will take advantage of renewals to push your policy price up. If you don't get a car insurance comparison, you might end up paying over the odds.

Our data analyst shows that just comparing quotes can save up to £240. And if you're happy with your existing insurer, you can still go back and ask them whether they can match the best quote - you might be able to negotiate a much better deal than by simply renewing automatically.

It only takes a few minutes to use a car insurance comparison site and start comparing quotes. Be careful, though, to make sure that you're comparing like-for-like cover. If your fully comprehensive insurance includes legal insurance, windscreen cover and a courtesy car as standard, and a cheaper policy adds those as extras, you might find the 'cheaper' policy costs more once you've added them on.

Look for:

You may also want to dig into our reviews and check out if your insurance provider includes the below extra coverages:

  • extended EU cover
  • personal effects cover
  • cover for lost or stolen keys
  • cover for sat nav and audio equipment
  • uninsured driver protection.

2 - Consider the type of car insurance you need

Do you need fully comprehensive cover with all the bells and whistles, or just the legal minimum third party insurance?

When you're looking for the cheapest car insurance, you ought to think hard about what kind of policy you need.

That will partly depend on:

  • The car model you drive: if you drive an old banger, you might not need fully comp if you can cover the cost of buying a replacement out of your own funds.
  • The number of cars you have: if you only have one car in the family, then courtesy car cover might be vital for you, in which case a fully comprehensive policy is worth paying for.
  • The use you make of your car: if you only drive when you want to go shopping, visit friends or have a weekend away, you'll pay less than if you commute every day. There are three use classes: social, social and commuting or business driving.

If you never use your car for work or commuting, make sure you check 'social' when you're looking for a quote.

3 - Get a multi-car insurance

One way to get good cheap car insurance is to go for a multi-car policy.

If you have two or more cars in the family, kept at the same address, then many insurers will offer a discount of 10 or 15% on each additional car insured with them.

For instance the RAC offers a 10% discount on each additional car, while AXA gives a 15% discount.

Other insurers will offer a motor insurance policy that includes all your cars on a single policy, and this will usually (though not always) come in cheaper than getting an individual insurance for each car. Hastings Direct and Admiral are leaders in this style of policy.Find out more about multi-car insurance and how much you might be able to save.

4 - Choose a cheaper car to insure

If you want very cheap car insurance, it's no good buying a Ferrari Testarossa!

If you are buying a new car or replacing your old one, you might consider buying a car that will be cheaper to insure.

All cars belong to an insurance group, numbered from 1 to 50. Group 1 will be the cheapest to insure - Group 50 will be the most expensive. The group a car belongs to doesn't just depend on its price, but also on its engine size, acceleration capability, security features, and the average cost of repair.

Check out our ultimate guide on Car Insurance Groups here.

Because repairs are more costly and difficult on private imports, these can be expensive to insure. Modding your car can also damage your chances of getting cheap car insurance quotes. On the other hand, if you buy a low spec Ford Ka, or a 1 litre engine Nissan Micra, you'll be in the lowest group of all and your insurance should come in cheaper.

5 - Get cheaper car insurance: don’t add any named drivers on your policy

Often, car owners add named drivers to their policy "just in case" they ever need the car. That can cost you a lot of money.

Generally speaking, it's only worth adding a named driver if they use the car regularly.

That's particularly the case if you're thinking of adding a new driver or learner driver to your car insurance. It might work out cheaper to buy them a cheap car (in a low insurance group) and insure that separately.

On the other hand, because insurance looks at the aggregate risk represented by your car and all the drivers, if you're a younger driver, adding an experienced driver with the Pass Plus driving qualification might actually help you to lower your insurance premium.

6 - Lower your car insurance: park in a secured place off the road

Have you got a drive, a garage, or an off-road parking spot? You'll get the best car insurance quotes if your car is kept in a secure place overnight.

Cars kept on the road are often vandalised, scraped by other drivers, or accidentally damaged. That means your insurance risk will be higher than if your car is kept off-road, so you'll pay a higher premium.

Securing your car with an approved alarm or immobiliser can also help bring your premiums down by 5%.

New cars may be fitted with these as standard; when you're looking for motor insurance quotes on providers’ websites, remember to check the box if it hasn't been checked automatically, in order to claim your discount.

7 - Benefit from car insurance discounts or cashbacks

It's worth looking for discounts and cashback deals which can reduce your costs substantially.

You always might qualify for special discounts such as:

  • multi-car discount
  • employee discount
  • safe driver discounts (Pass Plus qualification, No-Claim Bonus etc)
  • classic car club discount;
  • new or learner driver discounts; and
  • even home+car policy bundle discounts.

For instance Admiral gives 15% off its car insurance to its employees, while Lancaster Insurance gives MG Owners' Club members a 20% discount. Check out our reviews on each provider to know more about discounts they offer.You could also benefit from cashbacks, while applying online for example. They are always mentioned on providers’ websites. However, you should remember that you still need to have got the best car insurance comparison before you try to secure a cashback.

Check our reviews to find out discounts available per insurance providers.

8 - Build up your car insurance No-Claims bonus

Building up a good long No Claims Bonus is one of the best ways of cutting your insurance cost.

The longer you go without claiming on your insurance, the less your insurance premium will cost you. You will find below a table of potential savings you could get after years without any claim.

No-Claims Discount average % per year
1Up to 30%
3Up to 40%
5Up to 60%
9Up to 75%
Average NCD per number of years without claim (in %)

Insurers have different discount structures. Some give you the maximum discount after five years, others make you wait more than ten. And of course, they will be quoting you different prices, so don't be too impressed by claims in insurers' literature that they give great NCB discounts. Do a proper online comparison to ensure you're getting the best deal.

Increasing your premium slightly by adding NCB protection can be well worth the extra cost.

NCB protection means a small shunt won't push you back to square one. But check the policy carefully - another driver's accident won't affect your NCB, but will an accident caused by you or a named driver?

Some companies such as Admiral also give Bonus Accelerator which gives you a year's NCB after just ten months.

If you've previously been a named driver on another policy, your insurer may be able to transfer the no claims bonus to your own coverage.

The AA do this, but it's worth asking other insurers, too, while you're getting car insurance quotes.

Check out all insurance providers No Claim Bonus policy on our reviews.

9 - Pay your car insurance policy annually

If you can afford to pay your premium in one go at the beginning of the year, you'll get a better bargain. If you pay monthly, the insurer is basically lending you the money. That attracts a high interest rate.

So when you're looking for car insurance quotes online, if you tick the 'pay annually' box, you'll get a better price. It might even be worth using a 0% credit card to pay the premium all at once - then pay the card off every month.

Even with monthly payments, insurance companies usually ask for a deposit of, for example, 20% of the policy paid up front. If you're on a tight budget, you could look for a no deposit car insurance (or a low deposit car insurance) that spreads the cost more evenly over the year. But remember, you'll be paying a price for it.

Most providers now offer monthly plans - Aviva has a no-interest monthly plan, for instance.

If you want to know more about providers’ interest rates on payment instalments, check out our reviews.

10 - Avoid modifications to your car insurance contract

It's always cheaper to buy "off the peg" rather than tailor made, and that's true of car insurance too.

Adding extras like legal insurance cover, courtesy car use, and windscreen cover to a basic policy can end up costing you more than buying a higher tier policy that includes this cover as standard.

Modifications during the course of the insurance policy will attract an administration fee. These could include:

  • changing your car;
  • changing your address;
  • changing your job or employer; and
  • adding a new named driver

That might cost you around £30 or so, which is not expensive, but if you make multiple changes, it will start adding up. Make sure you know what your insurer charges for admin costs before you take out a policy. For instance, Admiral charges £29.50 to remove a vehicle from a policy, and £19.50 for change of any policy details; costs are even higher if you've got a Black Box policy. All modifications or cancellation fees are mentioned in our reviews by providers.

11 - Pay a higher car insurance voluntary excess

The 'excess' is the amount that you'll need to pay out of your own funds before the insurer steps in.

That might be the first £100 or so of any claim. There's a compulsory excess, which is part of the normal terms of the policy, but you can also opt for a higher voluntary excess.

If you know that you can afford to pay more out of your own pocket if you do have an accident, or if your car is vandalised or stolen, then paying a higher excess can cut your car insurance premium considerably.

If the accident is someone else's fault, you will be reimbursed 100% in any case.

Because the insurance company will make a lower payout, it can offer you a lower premium. So when you're making your car insurance comparison, you may want to choose a higher excess to reduce your premiums.

12 - Use a black box car policy

One way of reducing your cost might be to apply for a black box car policy.

Quick car insurance quotes for young or new drivers often result in very high premiums.

Black box insurance is based on when and how you drive. It works through telematics technology. A small device - about the size of a box of cigarettes - is fitted to your car, and tracks your progress through GPS. It can assess where you are, how long you're driving for, whether you accelerate and stop smoothly, even how you take corners. As an added bonus, it can help track your car if your car is stolen.

Usually you'll pay less with a black box policy. But if you have to drive at night (for instance if you work a late shift) or do high mileage, it might not be the right policy for you. Make sure you understand it properly before you make a decision.

Some insurers currently offering black box policies are:

  • Admiral
  • Hastings Direct (Smart Miles)
  • InsureTheBox
  • More than
  • RAC etc.

Others are sure to follow. A stunning 45% of drivers from 17 to 19 years old are now opting for black box policies, so it's a big market.

13 - Final tip to lower your car insurance: reduce annual mileage

The less you use your car, the less likely it is you'll have an accident. Because that's a lower risk for the insurer, you'll be able to insure for less.

A 5,000 mile cut in mileage could save £50 a year for a 35-year-old driver in a mid-range car.

Don't be tempted to tell fibs though. While a bit of extra might not be queried, if an insurer finds you are doing 15,000 miles a year on a 5,000 mile a year policy, your insurance could be invalidated.

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Alexandre Desoutter

Alexandre Desoutter has been working as editor-in-chief and head of press relations at HelloSafe since June 2020. A graduate of Sciences Po Grenoble, he worked as a journalist for several years in French media, and continues to collaborate as a as a contributor to several publications.

In this sense, his role leads him to carry out steering and support work with all HelloSafe editors and contributors so that the editorial line defined by the company is fully respected. and declined through the texts published daily on our platforms.

As such, Alexandre is responsible for implementing and maintaining the strictest journalistic standards within the HelloSafe editorial staff, in order to guarantee the most accurate, up-to-date information on our platforms. and expert as possible. Alexandre has in particular undertaken for two years now the implementation of a system of systematic double-checking of all the articles published within the HelloSafe ecosystem, able to guarantee the highest quality of information.