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Avoiding the Hidden Charges in Motor Insurance

By: Tracy Wilkinson - Updated: 7 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
Car Insurance Motor Insurance Motoring

As the credit crunch hits the average family harder and harder, it's the little things that can make a big difference. If you drive one or more cars on a regular basis then you're probably starting to feel the pinch on your motoring, especially as the cost of fuel keeps going up. But there's nothing you can do about that, is there?

Well, it’s true enough that you can't do much about the cost of fuel - except maybe shop around and make sure you keep enough in the tank to allow you to drive on past the most-expensively priced garages - but there maybe something you can do about the cost of your motor insurance. If you look in detail at your policy, you may well find that there are more than a few things that you can do and change that might help you to save a few pounds.

First of all - Shop Around

The difference between the cheapest quote you'll get and the most expensive is usually quite a large margin. It's important to shop around and see what's on offer. Don't just accept your yearly renewal form from your insurance company and assume that it's going to be the best deal for you - it very probably isn't - and even if it is, it won't hurt to shop around and check the competition. If you find a better deal somewhere else, call up your existing company and ask them if they will match it - if they do, you can stay with them and avoid the hassle of filling in lots of forms. If they won't, then the form-filling is probably worth the saving you'll make.

It's worth remembering that different motor insurers have different target markets. Have a look and see who they are trying to attract - women drivers, young, first time drivers, more mature drivers who live in the country etc. If you can fit into their profile, then you'll probably get a better quote.

Choose Your Colours Carefully

Believe it or not, the colour of your car can affect the cost of your insurance premium.

Red cars have been statistically proven to be involved in more accidents than other colours, so some insurers will charge a higher premium for a red car than for a blue one. Metallic paint can push the price up, as can green paint as apparently it can be hard to distinguish car from countryside in more rural areas. If you want to keep your insurance premium down, then white is generally considered to be the best car colour.

The Way You Pay

The way you pay for your motor insurance can have an effect on the overall yearly cost. If you can't or don't want to pay upfront for a yearly payment, then you can pay monthly - although this is likely to attract interest charges and possibly some extra admin charges. If you can, pay upfront, if you are paying monthly, enquire about paying by direct debit - monthly payments usually work out cheaper this way.

Your Personal Status

Even your marital status and whether or not you own a property can affect the cost of your premium. Car Insurers seem to think that people who are married and own their own homes are more responsible than their renting, single counterparts and are therefore less likely to have accidents. If you are considering having a partner on your insurance premium then make sure you get a quote for yourself and a quote for the two of you – it often works out less expensive than having ‘any other driver’ cover.

The Area You Live In

No matter how good your driving history is, if you live in a heavily populated area then you are likely to end up with a really expensive premium. If you live in a lovely country house miles away from anywhere, then you're likely to pay less than Mr smith who lives in the middle of Manchester. You’ll also pay less if you can keep your car in a garage or behind locked gates at night.

Insurance companies will charge you a fortune if you live in an area that has a high rate of car crime, or just doesn't rate highly on their scorecards, but even bearing that in mind - don't think about lying about it. Don't put your Mum's address on the forms even if she lives in the most crime-free village in the UK - if you need to put in a claim and the insurance company can prove your car wasn't kept at that address, then they will do. Once that happens, your claim is invalidated, your policy is null and void and you'll struggle to get another insurance company to cover you. That is, if course, if you're not charged with fraud.

So there you have it. There are lots of little ways you can bring down the cost of your motor insurance. Read your policy carefully, and question anything you're not sure of and remember - when it comes to renewal time - make sure you shop around and get the best deal!

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