It is the easiest way to blow a load of money unnecessarily, yet 5.2 million UK motorists fell for the car insurance auto renew trap last year – costing them a massive £1.5bn in the process.
March is one of the busiest months of the year for car insurance renewal and for a number of reasons many Brits are prepared to pay over the odds when it comes to their new annual premium.
Young drivers in particular, who potentially have the most to save, are auto renewing their insurance due to a mixture of low confidence in understanding how insurance works and misplaced loyalty to their current insurer.
Taking this route when discussing their renewal price means they are paying much more than they could if they shopped around.
Loyalty doesn’t pay
With the introduction of the first new number plate of the year, March is always a busy time in the world of car insurance as sales increase as a result.
Premiums have reached record highs and it is more important than ever to make sure you are not getting a terrible deal when you come to renew your policy.
Your insurer will offer to auto renew your cover when your policy is coming to an end, often using it as a selling point as it appears the easiest option, with the least effort required on your part.
However, what they are not so good at pointing out is that by shopping around, you could be able to find exactly the same cover for much less.
The rule of thumb when it comes to insurance is that loyalty generally doesn’t pay and the best deals pretty much always go to new customers.
How do I save on my car insurance?
You can find some amazing insurance cashback offers on Topcashback and Quidco.
In fact, I would recommend you check out both these apps before buying anything, as you can earn a nice tidy sum over the year simply purchasing items you needed to buy anyway.
That being said, don’t take the first thing you see on there either, still search around on sites such as Go Compare, Compare the Market and Money Supermarket – and don’t let a cuddly meerkat toy be the deciding factor on the policy you choose!
Find the correct job title
I used to work in insurance many moons ago and there are some job titles, for one reason or another, insurers are not keen on.
For instance, if you describe your job title as ‘chef’, you will pay on average £98 more than if you choose kitchen staff as the option.
Unbelievably, construction workers pay more than builders, but bricklayers pay more than builders – maybe it’s not too hard to see why 18 – 24 year olds lack the confidence to seek out a better deal!
If your job title can be covered by more than one category, check them all out to see which one is giving you the cheapest option. For instance, music teachers pay more than teachers.
Add an experienced driver if possible
Just to be crystal clear on where the law lies with this, it is illegal to claim somebody is the main driver of the car if they are not, so don’t be tempted to step outside the law to save a few quid.
However, adding a secondary driver is perfectly legal and could save you money on the cost of your premium.
You must seek their permission first, ensure they have a clean driving license and preferably have a decent amount of no claims.
Don’t wait until the last minute
Shopping around for a new car insurance quote around three weeks before your insurance is due to expire instead of leaving it until the last day will save you over £200 on average.
Younger drivers could expect to save even more.
Shop around and do a few comparisons before accepting your current insurance providers auto renewal quote and don’t be deterred by cuddly meerkats.
Pay in full if you can
Many car insurers will charge you interest on your monthly payments if you spread the cost.
You can expect to pay anything up to £60 a year more by spreading the cost of your car insurance, so if at all possible save a bit every month over the course of the year and pay it all in one go.
Increase your excess and cut out the extras
We live in a world where we are always asked if we’d like fries with that.
Insurance companies will offer you a whole host of extras and add-ons with your main insurance policy such as breakdown cover, driver’s legal protection, excess insurance, windscreen cover, driving abroad and a courtesy car if anything happens to your vehicle.
You may also get a lot of these with your current bank account, home insurance, travel insurance or even an AA membership.
Have a quick check to make sure you don’t already receive these perks elsewhere to make sure you’re not paying twice.
Also take note of any excess charges there are on the policy and how much you would have to pay if you had to make a claim.
Generally ,he lower the excess, the higher the premium, so do your sums and work out what you could realistically afford should the worst come to the worst and you need to make a claim.
Increasing the cost of the excess by even as little as £50 – £60 could have a significant difference in the cost of your overall premium.
Something as Brits we almost feel embarrassed to do (I’m not one of them).
If you have called to receive your quote, the salesperson on the end of that phone will be carrying an income target and in some cases a policy target too.
Call towards the end of the month when the likelihood is the salesperson is closer to their target and could be more inclined to boost their policy target by taking a dip on their income.
I know from my own experience that a lot of insurance salespeople will sell their policies at a loss once their income target is complete and it’s just policies they need!