How to get the best deal on your car insurance

If you’ve had to insure your car recently, you’ll likely have noticed your premiums have risen compared to the previous year.

Rising values of used cars, and the increased cost of replacement parts, have both helped to drive up premiums. According to CompareTheMarket, the cost of car insurance had increased by 14 per cent year-on-year in November 2022, with an average premium of £629 – £76 more than a year earlier.

So if your car insurance is due for renewal, here we look at the ways that can help you to get the best deal. One point to make before we start is that you should always be truthful when insuring your car; you could invalidate your policy if you aren’t.

Shop around

Using insurance comparison sites can bring significant savings. (PA)
Using insurance comparison sites can bring significant savings. (PA)

While many of us know we should shop around to find a better deal when it comes to renewing or taking out a car insurance policy, plenty of us choose to avoid the hassle and just let it auto-renew.

However, it’s worth the time, as according to CompareTheMarket, drivers can save an average of £328 by looking elsewhere. There are various insurance comparison websites out there that easily let you compare policies and find the best deal.

Sort out your policy earlier

Setting reminders at the start of the year will stop you missing any dates, such as MOTs and servicing. (PA)
Setting reminders at the start of the year will stop you missing any dates, such as MOTs and servicing. (PA)

If you know when your car insurance is up for renewal, the best thing you can do is sort out your next year’s insurance earlier. Doing it last minute will always result in you paying more than if you worked in advance.

Most insurance companies will let you take out a policy around four weeks ahead, which is the best thing to do to bring your premium down. If you’re changing your insurer, don’t forget to tell your existing one that you’re ending the current policy, too, as it may be set up to auto-renew.

Lower the annual mileage

Nissan Leaf
Reducing your annual mileage allowance can help to reduce premiums. (PA)

Adjusting your annual mileage allowance on car insurance is another that can make a big difference, as ultimately the more miles you’re doing on the road, the more likely a collision or damage is to occur.

While dropping the mileage by 1,000 is unlikely to make a big difference, if you’re wildly over-estimating how many miles you do, it will likely rack up the cost. If you’re unsure of how many miles you do, it’s worth having a look through your car’s MOT or service history to work out the annual mileage. However, make sure it’s representative of what you do; as underestimating it could cause a policy to be invalidated.

Pay the premium in one go if you can

Paying your premium in one go will help to reduce costs. (PA)
Paying your premium in one go will help to reduce costs. (PA)

When you’re taking out an insurance premium, you’ll be asked if you want to pay in one go or split it into monthly payments.

If you’ve got the funds available, you’ll save money in the long run by paying it in one go, as you won’t need to worry about the interest charges, which can add around £35 to an annual policy, depending on the insurer and the amount.

Think about where you park your car

Parking your car in a more secure place can help to reduce premiums. (Kia)
Parking your car in a more secure place can help to reduce premiums. (Kia)

Where your car is usually parked can make a big difference to the premium, as it can affect the likelihood of it being vandalised, damaged or stolen. Again, you should never lie about where the car is kept, both during the day and at night.

However, if you have an option of somewhere ‘safer’, it’s worth making the change. For example, if you have a garage or driveway, but choose not to use them and park on the road instead, it will add a noticeable cost to the policy.

Only buy the cover you want

A broken down vehicle being rescued
Consider if you need extra add-ons, such as breakdown cover. (RAC/PA)

When taking out a policy, you’ll often be asked if you’d like any extras. These can include legal cover, breakdown cover and key covert that can help towards replacements.

These can quickly rack up the price in excess of £100, so it’s worth considering if you actually need them. It all depends on your own needs, however, it’s worth checking that you don’t have this already. Many new cars, for example, are sold with breakdown cover for a number of years (often the same as the warranty), so you wouldn’t need to buy it again.

Look at a telematics policy

Though black box insurance is often used by new drivers, it’s available to those of all ages. (PA)
Though black box insurance is often used by new drivers, it’s available to those of all ages. (PA)

A telematics policy, often known as a black box policy, is essentially where the insurance company can monitor your driving and adjust the cost based on your habits and driving style.

It’s often used by younger drivers to help bring down the cost, though such policies are available for motorists of all ages and experience. It’s a great way of reducing premiums, though you do have to be aware that your driving will be tracked and bad, fast or erratic driving could see you paying more. Some policies often have night-time curfews or penalties.

Consider a cheaper-to-insure car

Choosing a car in a lower insurance group will help to bring down premiums. (Volkswagen)
Choosing a car in a lower insurance group will help to bring down premiums. (Volkswagen)

If you’ve explored all your options, and you still can’t get the car insurance at the deal you want, a final point is looking at the car itself. If you own a desirable, high-value or powerful vehicle, this will all contribute towards a higher cost of the premium.

Though you do need to consider the cost of changing vehicles, a smaller, less powerful vehicle will nearly always be cheaper to insure. An easy way is by looking at the insurance group number – ranging from 1 to 50. The lower the number, the cheaper the insurance should be. You should always try and look at insurance premiums before you buy the car, though, so you don’t get a nasty surprise.