Cheap Car Insurance Tips: Tried and Tested

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What really lowers your car insurance price? There are many common tips that are thought to bring your policy down, but do they work?

We investigated 140 car insurance quotes to test how much these tips bring down your policy. Our findings show that a typical UK driver spends £725 a year on car insurance, which is in line with data from Confused and Statista.

Our quotes had fixed variables except for one factor to show how your policy price can change. We used this method across 10 of the UK’s most popular cars to see the average increase or decrease against the average British driver’s quote.

Our top findings

  • Third-party, fire and theft is 60% more expensive than comprehensive cover.
  • Save 30% on your insurance by parking in the street instead of the garage.
  • Decreasing voluntary excess can make your premium 25% cheaper.
  • Additional driving qualifications can make your insurance more expensive.

Here’s more on what worked in our car insurance investigation – and what didn’t.

1. Third-party, fire and theft is 60% more expensive than comprehensive cover

Many drivers think that a lower level of insurance will be cheaper, as you get less cover. But our findings reveal that quotes with third-party, fire and theft cover are 60% more expensive than those with comprehensive cover – the only insurance which covers damage to your car.

This could be because high-risk drivers try to lower their insurance by opting for third-party cover. However, our analysis shows this has had the opposite effect. You could save a huge £448 by choosing the better cover!

2. Save 30% on your insurance by parking in the street instead of the garage

Parking in the garage seems like the safest place for your car – right? But not all insurance companies seem to agree.

Our study show that parking on the street outside your home instead of the garage brings down insurance quotes by an average of 30%. That’s a saving of £224 for the typical UK driver.

This might be because you’re more likely to damage your car when driving in and out of a garage, however, a car parked on the street is more visible to thieves. Because of this, many insurance companies agree that it’s safer to keep your car in the garage.

Always choose the option that you’re most comfortable with – ask your provider if you’re not sure.

3. Decreasing voluntary excess can make your policy 25% cheaper

A higher voluntary excess is thought to lower your annual insurance price, providing you don’t claim. But we found that by decreasing your voluntary excess from £500 to £250 can make your policy 25% cheaper. That could save you £186.

Even more surprising was that by increasing the excess, the policy price itself would go up. Our analysis reveals that by increasing the voluntary excess from £500 to £1,000, premiums were typically £6 more expensive.

It’s best to choose the right level of excess that you are comfortable with. Remember that policies have a compulsory excess which you must pay, no matter how much you choose for your voluntary excess, so check this in your policy summary before you commit.

4. Additional driving qualifications can make your insurance more expensive

We tested insurance quotes with and without Pass Plus, an additional driving qualification that you can take after you pass your test. Our data shows that drivers who have completed the Pass Plus course in the past year will spend an extra £5 a year on their insurance.

Some insurance companies do offer bespoke discounts if you have a Pass Plus qualification, so you should check with them directly. The course is also designed to make you a safer driver, which should result in fewer accidents, therefore you’re less of a risk to your insurer.

5. Adding your spouse can save 25% – but adding your child costs thousands

Adding your spouse to your insurance policy brings the price down by 25%, on average. This could save you £186, if your husband or wife has a good driving history.

Unfortunately, the same doesn’t apply if you add your son or daughter to the policy. It’s no secret that young drivers are more of a risk – research from road safety charity Brake says that 17-24-year-olds are much more likely to crash than older drivers. But how much does this affect your insurance?

We found that, when adding an 18-year-old driver to the policy, average quotes increased by a massive 524% – that’s £3,799 more a year! Many quotes with a young driver went beyond £5,000, so you might want to start saving if you want to share your insurance with your child.

6. Choose your car carefully and save £91 each year

Cars are put into insurance groups, which are numbered 1-50. Usually, the lower your car’s insurance group, the lower your policy will be. This is because most vehicles in the lower group have small engines and are cheap to fix.

We put this theory to the test. Our investigation found that cars in a lower insurance group, like the Nissan Micra, the Volkswagen up! and the KIA Rio are £91 cheaper to insure each year.

7. Save £109 a year by paying annually instead of monthly

Most insurance companies say that paying annually is cheaper than monthly. It turns out this is true, but by how much?

We discovered that by paying monthly, you’ll spend 15% more over the year. Consider paying annually instead, if you can afford to do so – it could save you £109 overall.

8. Improving your car’s security can increase your insurance price

Strangely, improving your car’s security could make your insurance price go up. We found that by adding safety measures, including a tracking device and locking wheel nuts, the typical insurance policy increased by £8.

This could be from insurance companies providing a quote based on you modifying the car, without assessing what the modification actually is. Modified cars are normally more expensive to insure. You could always contact the insurer directly to see if you can bring the price down by explaining what safety modifications you’ve put in place.

9. Lowering mileage only brings your insurance down by £17

It’s thought that drivers with lower mileage benefit from cheaper premiums because they aren’t on the roads as much, so are less likely to cause an accident.

But our investigation reveals that the average UK driver will only save £17 by reducing their mileage to 5,000 miles per year, which the RAC describes as ‘low’.

10. No-claims bonus can save you up to £356 a year

Unsurprisingly, a no-claims bonus (NCB) will get you a great discount. Your NCB is the number of years that you haven’t claimed on your insurance. The more you drive without claiming, the cheaper your policy will be – but how much can you save?

Our findings show that the average driver’s annual policy will cost:

  • £1,080 with no NCB
  • £842 with seven years’ NCB
  • £725 with 14 years’ NCB

That means you can save up to £356 if you have been driving for a long time without making a claim.

Five ways to get the best deal on your car insurance

Our study shows that the common tips to save money on car insurance will sometimes work in your favour – but sometimes they won’t!

It’s best to be honest and accurate about your driving to get the right policy you need. You should never lie about your details to bring the price down, as this can void your policy.

We asked the Car Insurance Experts at Chill Insurance for their top tips on bringing down your premium. Here are five ways to get a better deal.

  1. Drive safely and build up your no-claims bonus.
  2. Correctly estimate the value of your car.
  3. Use an online broker which will search the market for you to find you the best deal.
  4. Estimate your mileage correctly. You may pay more if you over-estimate.
  5. For young drivers, complete the driving test and get a full licence. You will often see your premium decrease once you move from a provisional licence to a full licence.

Check out the Moneyshake blog for more money-saving tips and the latest motor news.