Motoring insurance – we all need it, although we all wish we didn’t. But it is foolish to ignore it and illegal to drive without cover, putting you at risk of at least points on your licence and a potential ban.
So get wise and make sure you understand insurance and how to find the best deals around.
The three main types of motor insurance are fully comprehensive, third party, fire and theft, and the legal-minimum third party.
Comprehensive does exactly what it says on the tin, covering just about everything (but do check the small print for any exceptions). It is also the most expensive to buy and will cover damage to your own vehicle.
Make sure you do read the small print, because policies will vary and some will only cover your car if it has an alarm fitted or is kept in a garage overnight. Ignore that and if you fall victim to a vehicle thief or have an accident, then your cover may be void.
Third party, fire and theft is the medium-priced option. As the name suggests it covers third party costs after an accident, theft loss or damage, as well as fire damage. But crucially it does not cover repairs to your own car if the accident is your fault.
The most basic form of insurance and the cheapest is third party only, and is the legal minimum requirement in the UK. But it only covers third party repairs, so if there’s a fire or a theft or you are in an accident which is your fault, you’ll have to cover the bills yourself.
Having decided on which option suits you and your budget best you need to make the effort to shop around for the best price and deal. Be prepared to haggle, if you get a quote from one insurer use it as bait to get a better offer from a competitor.
The same principle also applies when it’s time to renew your insurance – don’t blindly stick with the same insurer out of laziness when you could save pounds by shopping around.
Resist all temptation to bend the truth about your car, and your own driving record in order to get the cost down. If you’re later found to have lied, then you could find your insurer disowning you.
Most policies will have a compulsory excess, which is where you pay a fixed amount before the insurer pays the rest of any claim. But it’s worth investigating a voluntary excess, where you agree to pay a greater amount in the event of a claim, but get the benefit of a smaller premium.
The no-claims bonus is one of the big features of motoring insurance. Basically if you don’t make a claim the insurer will see you as a better risk and reduce your premiums. You can pay more for a protected no-claims bonus which allows you to keep the full benefit even if you make one or more claims
If you’re planning to drive abroad, make sure your insurer knows. Even though many policies include cover overseas you need to check that yours does so, otherwise you may have to pay a top-up fee.
Finally, women are considered safer drivers than men which means they will in general get cheaper insurance. In fact some insurers only deal with women, so these insurers may well be worth investigating.