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Buying the very cheapest car insurance used to be really easy. We would get a third-party only policy with the absolute minimum of benefits but also at the absolute minimum cost. Now that same bargain priced cover would probably cost far more than comprehensive insurance!

Why is third-party insurance more expensive?

Insurers want to know what the risk is of an insured driver having a motor accident. Statistics show that those who look for very basic cover are more likely to drive older vehicles, which lack safety features that are common on more modern cars. They are also more likely to skimp on maintenance. Finally, many motorists who apply for the cheapest possible policies are young drivers; and these are the most likely to be making claims against their policies.

If you apply for this type of cut down cover the insurer may be biased against you from the start. So; when searching for quotes make sure you compare prices for comprehensive cover first.

So how do I buy the cheapest possible insurance?

Firstly; save up, beg or borrow enough money to buy a yearly policy; don't even think about paying for it monthly. There are a number of UK insurers who not only have very low premiums compared to their competitors, but which are solid, reliable and well established businesses who will pay out on genuine claims without a quibble. Unfortunately most of them will not accept monthly payments. This is because, again, they have found that those who look for so-called no deposit policies are the most likely ones to claim against their insurers.

Do price comparison sites provide the cheapest insurance?

Not necessarily. Nearly all of them will only provide you with quotes from companies which pay them a commission. The commission is added to your premium, making it more expensive. There may well be other companies who can offer much lower prices, but unless they pay for the privilege you will not be shown their quotations.

They all have different agreements with the insurers on their panel, which means that they can have different prices for exactly the same policy.

Also, most of the comparison companies are owned by, or have businesses connections with, certain insurers. This can lead to bias in the search results that you are shown.


To get the cheapest possible price from a car insurance price comparison site you should therefore get quotes from several of them, not just a single one.

When is the best time to look for cheap cover?

Research has shown that most insurance companies offer substantially lower quotations to applicants who apply well before their renewal date. This is because they see these motorists as being better organised, and more sensible; and therefore less likely to be involved in an accident.

Can I drive a car in the UK without insurance?

If you drive a motor car or van on private land to which the public have no admittance you may stay within the law if it is not insured. However this is a very grey area. It would be illegal to drive an uninsured vehicle onto a car park or access road, even if it was all private property.

How do the police know if a car is uninsured?

They use ANPR (automatic number plate recognition) cameras and there are thousands of these in the British Isles. They read car number plates and compare them to a database which lists every single motor insurance policy in the UK. If you drive past an ANPR camera you are likely to be stopped by a police car a little further on. They will check your licence and probably search the vehicle. The car will then probably be impounded, and towed away; you will then face a heavy fine and points on your licence. If you get too many points you will automatically be disqualified from driving.

Is insurance cheaper if I add another driver?

If you are a young driver, or have had accidents or convictions, you may get a reduction in your premium if another person, particularly an older person with a long, safe driving record, is added to your policy. You cannot just add anyone however; this person has to give permission and it is essential that he or she actually drives the car from time to time.

Can I get cheaper insurance if I claim to be older?

Insurers have many ways of checking on the accuracy of the information that people provide them with. They would soon find out if any of the claims you made were incorrect. Also, providing them with false information would not only invalidate your policy, leaving you open to a charge of driving without insurance, but it would also constitute fraud as well, with the possibility of criminal charges being laid against you.

Should I pay a higher excess?

By offering to pay more out of your own pocket in the event of a claim, you not only reduce the risk for the insurance company, but you also show them that you are confident that you will be a safe driver. Both of these factors will encourage your insurer to offer you a better price. However you should make sure thay you can afford to pay this if necessary: accidents DO sometimes happen.

Should I have a black box policy?

Blackbox, or Telematic technology, enables an insurer to check on not only the way in which you drive your car but also where you drive it, and when. These are important because some areas in the UK have higher than average accident records, and a higher proportion of serious accidents occur during the night, and at weekends. It may be that a condition of your insurance is that you have a curfew during these more risky periods.

If you drive safely, within the speed limit, and without excessive acceleration or braking, it is likely that your renewal premium will be reduced. However, if you drive at an excessive speed, and corner too quickly, your insurer will be made aware of this and may either increase your premium or even withdraw your cover completely. This could result in other insurers refusing to accept an application from you, or at the very least charging you an extra premium.

Should I accept a renewal quotation from my existing insurer?

If you are happy with the insurer and the premium is reasonable then you may wish to continue the relationship. However, if the price has risen considerably you can of course shop around for cheaper quotes. Customer service staff at most car insurers do have a lot of discretion in agreeing premiums. If you feel you are being overcharged you have nothing to lose by ringing up your insurer, telling them that you cannot justify paying their increased premium, and that you intend to take your business elsewhere. You may well be offered a lower price; if you have been a good customer and have not made a claim against your policy they will want to keep your business. The call would only take a few minutes, and could well save you a great deal of money!

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