How to get cheap car insurance

Looking to cut your car insurance premiums? Keep reading to make sure you're following all the top tips to secure cheap car insurance

BuyaCar team
Apr 29, 2022

Insurance cover can be the most expensive part of running a car for some, with young and inexperienced drivers being two of the groups most likely to incur costly premiums.

But it’s not only young drivers who might be faced with high insurance costs. A significant rise in Insurance Premium Tax over the past few years, the growing problem of uninsured drivers and the continuing high level of whiplash payouts are just some of the reasons for an overall increase in motor insurance premiums.

So what can you do to minimise the effect of car insurance on your wallet? Read on for our in-depth guide that will help you to make all the moves you can to get the cheapest car insurance possible.

Get cheap insurance by buying the right car

Every car on the market is assigned to an insurance group, these range from 1-50, with insurance group 1 cars being the cheapest to cover and group 50 cars being the most expensive. Cars placed in group 1 will generally be smaller and cheaper cars producing less power, with the most desirable and powerful cars sitting in the higher groups.

Factors such as the car’s value, its susceptibility to being stolen, overall performance and the likelihood of drivers crashing it will all contribute towards the chosen group. Because of this, different trim levels of the same model can also differ in insurance groups.

A car's safety rating can also be a major factor in getting the cheapest car insurance. Features such as autonomous emergency braking (AEB) along with other cutting-edge safety tech can all help to bring down costs, too. Insurance claims for cars fitted with AEB tend to be lower than those without it, enough to persuade insurers to reduce the insurance rating of cars fitted with the system by up to five groups, the equivalent of a 10% reduction to your insurance premium. Unfortunately, the system cannot be retrofitted.

One last thing you can do is to install a dash-cam in your car, which records the road ahead and provides evidence in the event of a crash. Some insurers offer a discount on overall insurance costs if you have a dashboard-mounted camera recording your journeys. The basic idea is that you will always have evidence of any incident you are involved in, helping to speed up the claims process and save the insurers time and money.

A good quality dashcam costs from around £50 and these are usually ‘plug and play’ or can be hardwired to your car if you know what you're doing. Higher-end versions also have GPS systems that can record your car’s location, speed, and direction of travel.

Get cheaper insurance by changing the way you drive

  • Don’t speed
    Even having just one SP30 speeding penalty and a £100 fine can raise your premium notably, and other offences that you might consider minor can raise your premium even further. Undertaking another car, for example, can be classed as driving without due care and attention and increase your premium by twice as much as a speeding conviction.
  • Have a black box fitted
    A black box can be plugged into your car and log information about your speed, cornering and braking. It knows when and where and you drive (so it checks you're abiding by speed limits, too). Insurers monitor the data and reward safe driving with lower premiums, either during the policy or when you come to renew. However, at the other end of the scale, if you're always bashing into kerbs as you're on your phone around town, or regularly slam on the brakes on country roads because you're not paying attention, such erratic driving is likely to result in higher premiums. Excessive speed can also result in your insurance being cancelled. You need to be aware of any installation costs, too.
  • Take additional driver training
    Polishing your driving skills with a recognised training organisation is another way to drive down your premium. Some insurers offer reductions to people holding a valid Institute of Advanced Motorists driving certificate. Some insurers recognise successful completion of the government’s Pass Plus inexperienced driver course, too. However, not all insurers give discounts for drivers who have these qualifications, so it could be useful to get some speculative quotes to see which insurers offer discounts and to gauge whether any of these would undercut the cheapest quotes available without having additional driver training.

Make the best of your situation for cheaper insurance

  • Your job
    The job you do will affect what premium you pay. You can’t lie about what you do but choosing one term to describe your job rather than another similar one could potentially help. For example, saying you’re a chef could result in very different quotes to saying you work in catering - both of which could be equally accurate.
  • Don’t ‘front’
    If you’re a young driver, it may be tempting to ask a family member to insure themselves as the principal driver on your car with you as a named driver, even though you’ll be doing most of the driving. Not only is this illegal and risks your cover being cancelled, but you’ll delay earning a no-claims bonus.
  • Add an older, named driver to your policy
    Diluting your level of risk by adding a lower-risk driver can reduce your premium, however. Insurers won’t check if the named driver regularly drives the car but always remember that they investigate claims carefully and it pays to enter an insurance agreement confident that what you have declared, is true.
  • Make sure your mileage estimate is accurate
    Insurers take into account your annual mileage - with higher mileages resulting in higher premiums - so quoting the lowest realistic mileage could reduce your costs.
  • Park your car in a garage
    It’s not an option for everyone but parking your car on a driveway may help drive down your premium. Clearing out the garage and parking your car inside may reduce it further still.

Shop around to get cheap insurance

  • Give yourself time
    Don’t rush into buying insurance. Most quotes are valid for three weeks, so use the time to do your homework and don’t be bounced into the first quote you get. Don't leave it until the last minute, either. Some insurers are thought to increase the cost of premiums that start within the next 24 hours, as they know you're likely to be desperate for cover and don't have time to compare prices. Potentially organising cover around three weeks ahead of time could be the cheapest option.
  • Avoid renewing automatically
    If you’re renewing your insurance, don’t just accept your existing insurer’s new premium, as this could be higher than other quotes available. If you'd like to stick with your current insurer, haggle down the price but check it doesn’t come at the expense of the level of cover you get. Still not happy? Get a fresh quote online from the same company via a comparison website. As a ‘new business’ customer it may be much lower and you can take that quote back to the insurer to beat down your renewal.
  • Compare prices
    An obvious step, really, but it can save you a lot of money. While you do get new quotes, though, make sure you’re comparing like with like, taking account of the excess, annual mileage figure and extras including courtesy car provision.
  • Check the comparison websites
    Comparison websites have done a good job of presenting themselves as the only destination for cheap insurance. They aren’t always, but at least you can get a feel for premiums and the extras you can expect to get for the money.
  • Don’t forget insurers that aren't on comparison sites
    Not all insurers are on comparison websites. Traditional insurance brokers are also a good option if you have a more complicated risk profile. Even for the average applicant, they offer a listening ear and often greater flexibility, being able to tailor cover to suit your circumstances as well as your pocket.
  • Watch the extras
    Enhanced courtesy car cover, legal expenses cover, stereo cover… insurers have become very good at offering tempting extras to ensure they squeeze every last penny out of you. Ask yourself if you really need these extras because they’ll seriously bump up your premium. Most policies provide a standard loan car when your car is being repaired, for example. Also, if you have a large excess, it could easily wipe out the benefit of smaller extras.
  • Pay a higher excess
    Agreeing to pay a higher excess (the amount you contribute if you claim) will reduce your premium, so judge whether the reduction is worth the extra you’re paying in excess - as it isn’t always. And if the car is of a low value, make sure that your excess is proportionate. A very high excess on a low-value car could mean that you'd never want to claim on your insurance, even if you were involved in a crash, making it practically useless.
  • Don’t pay the insurer’s interest rate
    Insurers’ rates for paying your insurance on a monthly basis are often very high. Check if you can borrow the money at a cheaper rate and pay the premium in one go. This can often be done in combination with new or used car finance. A 0% credit card could also offer a cost-effective way of paying the premium - as long as you settle the bill before interest is charged.
  • Don’t forget your no-claims bonus
    Know what your no-claims bonus is and always remember to quote it when shopping around. Make sure to include this in every quote, so that they are comparable and you can see which offers you the best value. If you're not sure, your current insurer should be able to confirm it, or it should be on your paperwork or online insurance account, if you have one.

 

Latest advice

  1. Car maintenance

  2. Car ownership

  3. How long does it take to charge an electric car?