Online motor insurance quotes: 10 things you need to know

Online motor insurance quotes: what you need to know
Online motor insurance quotes: what you need to know

Insurance tax changes mean your motor cover is going to cost more but there are things you can do to keep the cost of car insurance down, writes Simon Donohue

Online motor insurance quotes are increasingly popular now that hardly anyone uses a traditional insurance broker. Instead people tend to hit Google and look for the best deal.

If that sounds familiar, then you’ll be interested to know how you can keep your costs down.

As a former motoring editor and writer, I learnt quite a bit about the things you need to bear in mind when insuring a car for yourself or a family member.

Here are 10 things you need to know about online motor insurance quotes:

1. Go direct: Shop around using an online comparison site but remember that some insurers are not listed on price comparison sites. You’ll have to visit their websites direct. It also pays to start shopping early, that way you’ll have plenty of time to look for a deal.

2. Clear your cookies: Ever noticed that the great deal you were offered on a first visit to a website has disappeared next time you visit, to be replaced with a higher quote? Some websites leave cookies on your computer that mean they recognise you when you return. You’re bound to be seeking the same cover, so the cost goes up.

3. Speak to a human being: Online deals are often better than you get from your existing insurance provider, but it’s worth making a quick phone call and explaining you’ve been shopping around. There’s every chance they’ll make you a better offer to keep your custom.

4. Add an experienced named driver: It’s counter intuitive but having anothrr named driver on a policy can often bring down the premium. Check with and without, however, because that’s not always the case.

5. Check for special insurance deals: Some insurers offer special discounts for existing customers. That can include having more than one vehicle insured with the same company, or taking out a relatively cheap breakdown cover policy in order to unlock a discount that will save you more than the cost. A pal saved hundreds by buying a £50 breakdown cover policy.

6. Get a ‘black box’: Younger drivers can benefit from having a device fitted to their cars which monitor the way they drive. Discounts are offered for people who don’t drive too fast or aggressively.

7. Specify a higher excess: Adjusting the excess you are willing to pay will bring down the premium. But remember that it will hit you in the pocket if you make a claim.

8. Go fully comprehensive: Fully comprehensive cover can often be cheaper that third party cover. Don’t assume that you’ll save money by taking the inferior product.

9. It’s all in the details: Be honest, but try playing around with some of your personal details and circumstances. It might be that you only do around 10,000 miles a year. So why pay for 12,000 miles worth of motor insurance cover. Similarly, you might be a journalist (a notoriously high premium occupation), but not one who ever leaves the office or drives for work. Would it be more accurate to say writer? Is there an option to say that you work in business media rather than local media, meaning you’re less likely to be chasing fire engines?

10. Pay in one go if you can: Motor insurers will often charge you for credit if you opt to pay monthly rather than all in one go, and the difference can be quite dramatic. Stick it on a low rate credit card if you have one but make sure you pay it off before any credit charges are due.