It has been reported that insurance premiums have fallen significantly over the first three months of the year, with the average motorist paying some 16 per cent less than this time last year for a comprehensive policy. This is particularly good news for younger drivers, who are traditionally penalised by insurers for being the highest risk category on the road.
While prices have come down by around £100, insurance often remains a major obstacle for those looking to get behind the wheel for the first time. If you’re struggling to get covered at a rate that won’t break the bank, check out our top tips for reducing your premium:
Choose your car carefully
The type of car, its value and its engine size and power all have an impact on the amount you’ll pay for insurance, so unless you’re hankering after a specific model, pick a mainstream car that is likely to have cheaper repair rates. Also, there’s no point turning to a performance car if you’re going to be spending most of your time crawling along in rush hour traffic. Typically, the less expensive and powerful a car is, the cheaper it will be to get cover. Also, avoid modifications such as aftermarket wheels or body styling to keep premiums as low as possible.
Limit your annual mileage
Be realistic about how many miles you’re likely to cover in a year. Simply put, the less you do, the cheaper a policy is likely to be. However, don’t opt for cheaper personal use only cover if you’re planning on using your car for business or commuting purposes. You may find your insurer unwilling to pay out in the event of an accident.
Consider a black box
Particularly popular with high-risk younger drivers, many insurance companies are offering discounts to motorists willing to have their driving habits monitored by a telematics device installed in the car. It gives a detailed breakdown of your driving style, including how you accelerate and brake, as well as your average speed. Be warned, however, some policies come with restrictions such as not allowing driving after dark, so check it suits your needs before committing.
Add a named driver
A newly qualified driver may find their premiums come down if they add an older (at least over 25) and more experienced driver to their policy. In insurance terms this lowers the risk of an accident, though it won’t work will all providers. Younger drivers may also benefit from being added as a named driver to their parent’s policy. Don’t do this if you’re going to be the main driver – this is a type of fraud known as ‘fronting’ and an insurer will refuse to pay out if it's detected.
Increase your excess
An excess is a set amount that you will need to pay out for any claim. Opting to pay more will have a positive effect on your premium. Drivers often find that opting for a lower excess is a false economy, as making a claim for minor damage is likely to raise the cost of premiums in the future.
Improve your driving
If you’ve passed your test within the last 12 months, consider taking a PassPlus course. This will give you greater experience, particularly in motorway driving. Prices can range from £20-£200, and only a limited number of insurers will offer a discount, so do your research carefully before enrolling.