The world of car insurance can be confusing and expensive, so let us guide you through the ins and outs of the whole process, from purchasing a policy to making a claim and how to save money along the way.
In this guide:
Continuous Insurance Enforcement
Like it or not, car insurance is a legal necessity that is now being enforced more heavily than ever.
Unless your car is officially declared off road by means of a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN), it must be insured at all times if you want to avoid penalty fines, vehicle seizure and even criminal prosecution.
Continuous Insurance Enforcement (CIE) means that DVLA have more powers and more data to draw on in order to track down uninsured drivers.
What levels of cover are available?
There are three broad categories of car insurance available:
Third Party Only
Third party only insurance is the most basic level of cover available. Your insurance provider will pay out for any damage caused to another’s property or vehicle, including any injuries caused to the driver or passengers of said vehicle. With third party only cover, you will be financially responsible for any damage caused to your own vehicle.
Third Party, Fire and Theft (TPFT)
TPFT insurance will give you all of the cover offered by a third party only policy, but you will also be covered for any fire damage to or theft of your own vehicle, including any damage cause during an attempted theft.
The highest level of cover available is fully comprehensive. A fully comprehensive policy will cover you against damage to your own vehicle, but despite the name, not all fully comprehensive policies are the same. There will be slight differences from provider to provider regarding what you exactly you’ll be covered for, so you should always be sure to read the small print.
Age and Car Insurance
The age of the driver has a big bearing on the cost of the insurance policy. Insurers base the cost of the policies they offer on a variety of statistics helping them work out the probability of the policy holder being involved in some kind of claim worthy incident.
Younger driver (aged between 17 and 25) are, unfortunately, the most at risk group on the road for insurers and so face the highest premiums on the market.
Conversely, drivers over the age of 40 are considered the safest and are therefore the cheapest to insure, all other things being equal.
What if I'm driving abroad?
If you’re planning a trip abroad, say to continental Europe, you’ll need to get a specialist car insurance policy to add on to your existing one.
This could be a temporary policy for up to 28 days, or a longer term policy allowing for 90 days or more. There are various different types of European driving cover and various extras that you can add, such as European breakdown cover.
For more on this, head over to our guide to European car insurance.
What do I do if I need to make a claim?
At some point in your driving career, the likelihood is that you’ll be involved in some kind of accident and you’ll need to make a claim.
This can be a stressful time, but don’t worry; the process of making a claim isn’t as daunting as it might initially appear.
If you are involved in an accident, you should contact both the police and your insurer as soon as possible and make sure you can inform them of every detail you can remember. Your insurance company will provide you with a form to fill in that you should return to them as quickly as you can.
You should also make sure that you take photos of any damage caused to yours or anyone else’s vehicle and include these with the form you send to your insurance.
General Tips to Cut the Cost of Your Cover
Car insurance can be expensive but there are several steps you can take to make sure that you get the right level of cover at an agreeable price.
Black box, or telematics, insurance is a great way to save money on your premiums and is particularly popular among younger drivers, who need to find cheap car insurance.
With these policies, a small tracking device is installed in your car that monitors and records various aspects of your driving with a view to building up a profile of you as a driver. The cost of the policy is then tailored to this profile, rather than calculated according to the average risk associated with members of your age group, hence why such policies are popular among young motorists.
If sharing a car with someone else is an option, you might want to consider adding yourself as a named driver to their policy. The overall cost of the policy will increase but as it’s shared between the two of you, you will likely find that you’re both paying less than you would for two individual policies.
You need to make sure that the primary user of the car is down as the main driver on the policy as otherwise you may find your policy invalidated in the event of a claim.
To find out more about this, read our article on named driver insurance.
Choice of Car
As with age, the car you drive will have a large effect on the cost of your insurance policy. Cars fall into one of 50 car insurance groups and policies are priced accordingly. Cars with smaller engines and lower repair costs will be in the lower, cheaper categories, whereas higher performance vehicles will be in the top tiers, costing the most to insure.
Compare Car Insurance Quotes Online
If you want to make sure that you get the best deals, whatever kind of cover you’re after, you should always shop around online before settling on a policy.
Using our car insurance comparison service, you can avoid all the hassle of contacting provider after provider and simply choose from a list of the best quotes available, tailored to your needs according to the information you enter into our quick form.
So why wait?
Compare car insurance quotes with Money Expert and start saving today.