How to get cheap car insurance

Tips and advice: we show you how to get cheap car insurance

BuyaCar team
Sep 16, 2021

Insurance cover can be the most expensive part of owning 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 are suffering from 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 on your wallet? Read on for our in-depth guide that will help you towards getting 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 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, and overall performance 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. 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 dashcam in your car. 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 every 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 they 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, 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
    This device is plugged into your car and receives 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 will reward you if you're driving safely with a lower premium, either during the policy or when you come to renew. However,  on the other end of the scale, higher premiums will likely await if you drive dangerously. Excessive speed can also result in your insurance being cancelled. Also, beware of installation costs.
  • 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 having these qualifications.

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 making sure that you're accurate in your descriptions will help. For example, saying you’re a chef in a restaurant is viewed differently by insurers than saying you’re a cook in a café.
  • 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 and you as the named one, even though you’ll be doing most of the driving. Not only is this illegal and risking your cover, but you’ll delay earning a no-claims bonus, meaning next year’s premium will be higher still.
  • Add an older, named driver to your policy
    Diluting your level of risk by adding a lower-risk driver can reduce your premium. Insurers won’t check if the named driver ever 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
    Some insurers take into account your annual mileage, 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 the driveway will help drive down your premium. Clearing out the garage and parking your car in it will 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.
  • Avoid renewing automatically
    If you’re renewing your insurance, don’t just accept your existing insurer’s new premium (which invariably will be much higher). Haggle down the price but check it doesn’t come at the expense of your existing cover. 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, though, make sure you’re comparing like with like, taking account of excesses 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.
  • Don’t forget those who don’t feature on them, including brokers
    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 got 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, watch that your excess is proportionate.
  • Don’t pay the insurer’s interest rate
    Insurers’ rates for paying your insurance monthly 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 bonus is and always remember to quote it when shopping around.


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