If you are looking for cheap, cheaper or even the very cheapest car insurance there are many insurance companies claiming to offer the lowest, most affordable premiums. What is the truth? We have carried out thousands of price comparisons and here are our conclusions.
Every single motorist is different; with different cars, ages, driving experience, postcodes, accident or conviction records. No single insurer is the cheapest for every class of driver. Some companies specialise in finding bargain rates for disqualified drivers or those with bad accident records; some specialise in cover for females; some find lower prices for young drivers; some will only accept applications from older drivers with perfect driving records. This is why price comparison sites which get quotes from multiple insurers are so successful.
None of them. They all receive commissions from insurers and the deals they have with each individual insurance company vary. This is why you can get different quotes from different comparers, for identical policies. Also, most of them don't offer policies from firms that don't pay them a kickback, even if these offer bargain rates. So, the only way to be reasonably sure of getting the best possible price for insuring your car is by comparing quotes from multiple websites such as money supermarket.com, prudentplus.com, compare the market.com etc.
No. Many of the cheaper insurers will only accept payment of premiums in full, before they will issue a policy. In addition, nearly every insurer that allows premiums to be spread over a longer period charges more for the privilege. In addition you would usually be expected to put up a high deposit in advance. This means that you would not only fail to qualify for the lowest possible premiums, but would also pay interest on management charges in addition to the higher premium that you would be forced to accept. It's best to pay the premium in full, if you can afford it.
No. Under UK law an insurance contract is not valid unless some money changes hands. An insurer which issued a policy without some form of payment would, in any case, be extremely foolish since it would accept the risk of having to pay out on a claim, without getting anything back in return if the motorist defaulted on payments. It is usual for about 20% of the premium to be payable upfront, although some insurers may accept as little as 1/12.
Officially, no. In practice, yes. One of the factors that affects a premium is the applicants job; those which are more female oriented almost inevitably attract lower cost policies. In addition most women tend to drive smaller cars than their male counterparts, and since they often carry young passengers they tend to be much more careful, and so have better accident or conviction rates.
Black box (sometimes called Telematic) insurance can often be cheaper for higher risk drivers such as the very young and inexperienced ones. A small recording device transmits details of the motorist's driving style back to the insurance company; a good safe style can result in lower premiums in the future. However the converse is also true. Hard driving, fast acceleration or driving during periods of higher risk, such as late at night, or at weekends, can result in higher premiums or even cancellation of the policy completely. In addition the tracking devices, and the fitting of them, have to be paid for and this is reflected in a higher initial premium than would otherwise be necessary.
Compare costs on multiple price comparison sites, but do this about 30 days before your renewal is due. Tests have shown that many insurers offer much lower quotations to those who buy their policies in this way. The most expensive way to buy a policy is to wait until the very last minute; the difference between a premium arranged a month beforehand and one on the renewal date can be very substantial indeed.