One of our more popular pages on ValueIreland.com was our Top Tips on getting cheaper car insurance. Associated with this was a write up on my own experience in shopping around for car insurance when my policy was up for renewal.
Here are a few tips for you to follow next time you’re renewing your own car insurance.
Don’t automatically renew with the same insurance company. Consumer inertia is something all rip off merchants depend on. Insurers are supposed to provide renewal quotes a certain amount of time before the policy expires so that policyholders can shop around for competitive quotes. Use this time wisely.
Shop around, getting quotes from at least three different companies and brokers. There are no more than 10-15 insurance companies operating in Ireland at any one time – it’s not going to be overly time consuming to get a quote from them all.
Don’t be afraid to use the internet. We’re told that costs are lower from companies operating on the internet – particularly those with only an internet presence. Beware of the small print here more than usual. At least check all the sites before buying in case any of them have any special offers. Check out the offers carefully to make sure you’re getting the insurance you actually need.
Check your annual mileage. Insurers assume you drive a certain number of miles per year. Check what their assumption is, and if it’s less, tell them.
Extra drivers on your policy? If they are not necessary all the time, it can be cheaper to only insure extra drivers when they will actually use the car.
Increasing your excess can reduce your premiums in the UK. Ask your Irish insurance broker or company when requesting a quote if this is possible.
Do you really need fully comprehensive? This is the most expensive type of car insurance available. It is normally recommended that brand new cars be covered by comprehensive insurance – but as always, you should consider your needs fully.
Fitting immobilisers and alarms, and using a garage, can reduce premiums. Those living in larger cities will normally have a loading imposed. Some companies will also impose a loading if the car is not kept in a garage at night.
Do you belong to a professional body? For example are you a member of the Institution of Engineers, the Law Society or Chartered Accountants? It may be worthwhile to call your professional organisation to see if they have arranged any special offers with an insurance provider. This could also be true for any other types of organisations such as Unions or other affinity groups.
Check your policy and make sure you are not paying for features you don’t need. For example, many policies automatically add on and charge extra for overseas cover. Or some policies may provide breakdown cover as part of the policy – is this necessary if you are already a member of the AA?
Premium payments up front, or spread over the year? Paying over the year may incur extra costs of financing so paying up front would save you such extra costs. Or alternatively, many drivers cannot afford to pay the entire premium at once and elect to pay in installments. Sometimes it can be cheaper to borrow the money from a bank or credit union as some companies have been known to charge finance charges of up to 20% on the installments.
Don’t Lie. Telling a couple of little white lies on when looking for a quotation might seem like a good idea at the time and save you a few quid, but if it ever comes to making a claim, such a decision could come back to haunt you and cost you more in the long run.
Penalty Points. Some companies will acually provide a discount if you have 0 or 2 penalty points on your licence. Check this out when getting your quotation – as per the tip above, it’s not something you should hide.
Buy more than one policy. If you find a company that has the car insurance that suits you at a price that you like, ask them about discounts if you were to give them your home, travel or health insurance business also. Don’t buy these other policies on impulse though, just for the discount – make sure those other policies give you the value and coverage you need.
Two Car Family. Slightly similar to the tip above, you may get a discount if your quotation covers both cars in your family, rather than just your own.
Changing your car? If you’re thinking about changing your car, it could be useful to bear in mind the potential insurance costs of any new car you’re going to buy. Generally a smaller engined car, more in the “family” size range, free from any modifications, will cost you less in insurance costs.
Brokers vs Direct – A ValueIreland.com reader sent us this tip where they received a quote from an insurance broker for an insurance policy with a particular insurance company. Our reader rang the company directly and got a quote for the same policy going direct rather than via the broker, and found that they could get the policy at a significant discount than from the broker. Something to check out if you normally use a broker.