It’s not enough that cars are expensive to run and maintain, but we also have to keep them insured. However, shopping around for car insurance and perhaps even changing providers can really pay off, and you may be able to save as much as 20 percent or more on the rates you are now paying. You need to be careful, though, because sometimes what looks like a good deal really is not. Here are some things to keep in mind.
Shop around before renewal time.
Do not simply accept the first renewal offer from your present insurance company. Remember that car insurance costs can vary significantly across the market, and you may very well be able to find a better deal elsewhere. Insurers often use cheaper deals to attract new clients, but then they raise the rates on renewals to make up for that “lost” revenue. So you really cannot automatically assume that you are going to get the best deal from your insurer after that first year is up.
There are several reasons that it may be easier than you think to find a cheaper deal. For one thing, over the past year or so the cost of motor insurance has actually decreased – the biggest decrease in two decades, in fact. In addition, there have been several changes in the insurance industry that could lower your premiums. For instance, under EU gender equality law, men can no longer automatically be charged higher premiums just because of their gender. Therefore, blokes might find that their premiums are lower with a new provider, and may even have leverage to negotiate with their present insurer.
Use price comparison web sites, but know their limitations.
For an increasing number of drivers these days, the Internet is the first resource they turn to when shopping around for car insurance. There are several price comparison web sites, such as AOL Compare or various Smartphone apps. You simply enter the necessary information about you and your car, and you will get numerous listings for insurers who are willing to sell you a policy.
However, you really should not make your decision based upon visiting just one site. A single site will more than likely not cover the entire market, so it is best for you to search two or three sites in order to get the best idea of the deals that are available to you.
Also keep in mind that comparison sites may make assumptions about some of your preferences – assumptions that may not be correct but that could impact your premiums. So use the online resources, but also be sure to read the fine print carefully.
That said, these sites can be invaluable, particularly if you discover that your current insurance provider shows on the site as offering a less expensive premium than they want to charge you to renew your policy. That can certainly give you a basis for negotiation.
In general, paying annually is cheaper than month to month or quarterly.
Sometimes you just can’t come up with that annual premium, but if you can possibly do so, it will almost always be cheaper to pay it in one lump sum than to spread the cost over the year. Some of the APRs can be quite high. A payday loan may offer the solution to finding your annual premium, just check the rates beforehand.
The cheapest deal is not necessarily the best one.
Choosing the right level of cover is important, and not all policies are the same. That why it is crucial to read the details of different policies with a sharp eye. You absolutely need to make sure that the policy you choose will meet your needs. The cheapest deal may not be the best one for you. To save a few pounds, you may be sacrificing competent claims handling or careful customer service. You can’t simply judge a policy by the amount of the premium.
The more you understand about your policy the better off you are. And one more thing: don’t be afraid to ask your family and friends about their own experiences, good or bad, with their insurers.
When all is said and done it may be easiest and most convenient for you to simply renew with your existing insurer, but more than likely this will not be the cheapest option. If you really want to save, it pays to shop around.