THE NEWLY QUALIFIED
THE EXPERIENCED ROAD USER
THE DAILY COMMUTER
THE SUNDAY DRIVER
THE FAMILY RUST BUCKET
THE HOLIDAY MAKER
THE PROUD OWNER
Whether you’re a newly qualified driver just starting out or an experienced road-user trying to find the very best deals, owning a car comes with so many complications and potential pitfalls that some might start to wonder if it’s really worth it. However, we all know that nothing beats to the freedom of the open road and being able to travel wherever you want, when you want – so how to make the experience as stress-free as possible? While we can’t help you install a new car stereo or find that elusive Saturday afternoon parking space, we can help guide you through the often confusing world of car insurance and find the policy that’s right for you.
Who needs Car Insurance?
Simply put, if you own a car it is a legal requirement to have it insured. It doesn’t make any difference if your car is used every day or only a few times a year – unless you have declared it as off the road via a Statutory Off Road Notice (SORN), you are legally obligated to purchase insurance. Car insurance is there to protect you, your vehicle and other people from the consequences of any road incident or accident you might be involved in, and helps you to provide financial compensation to cover any damage to property or injury to other drivers or pedestrians. Driving without insurance is an offence, and you could be fined up to £5,000 and lose your licence if you are caught.
What types of Car Insurance are available?
There are several different types of Car Insurance available – so much so that the choice can seem overwhelming at times. There are three main types that will cover you and your vehicle to varying degrees – these are:
Third Party Car Insurance (TPO)
Third party car Insurance is the most basic level of insurance that you can purchase. This will cover any damage caused to another person or their property if you are at fault in an accident. For example, if you reverse into another vehicle your third party insurance will cover repair to their vehicle and compensation for any injuries, but it will not cover any repairs to your own vehicle. If your car is not worth very much money or you are on a tight budget this could be a good choice, however it is worth bearing in mind that you could be left vehicle-less in the case of a crash.
Third Party, Fire and Theft Insurance (TPFT)
The next step up from third party insurance, this policy provides the same coverage as that detailed above but with additional cover if your vehicle is stolen or damaged in a fire. You can also opt for a more comprehensive version of this which covers all of the above, plus cover for you and your vehicle in the case of damage or injury – even if you are at fault. This is a great choice for drivers that don’t want to fork out for fully comprehensive cover (see below) but still want to minimise their chances of facing a big bill in the aftermath of an accident.
Fully Comprehensive Car Insurance (Fully Comp)
The highest level of cover that you can get for your vehicle, fully comprehensive cover insures against all the costs of repairing or replacing your vehicle if it’s involved in an accident, as well as additional extras such as medical bills, legal costs and more. While commonly the most expensive type of motor insurance, the difference between this and third party insurance can often be minimal – so it’s worth looking into what quotes are available to you in order to make the best decision.
What affects the cost of my Car insurance?
There are many different factors that your insurance broker will consider when preparing a quote for your Car Insurance. One of the biggest factors that they will take into account is the age of the driver. Because older motorists statistically have fewer accidents than younger drivers, their premiums tend to work out cheaper. The same used to apply for female drivers, who were perceived as less likely to speed and make a major claim, however due to Gender Equality laws passed in 2012 insurers are no longer able to offer cheaper premiums based on gender alone. However, there is no need for young, male drivers to despair – there are plenty of ways to keep insurance prices down. Speak to an insurance broker about your individual requirements to find the best deals. Motorists with previous driving convictions also represent a high ‘risk factor’ for insurers, and they may find it difficult to find affordable motor insurance. If you have single or multiple past convictions on your record, it’s worth getting some advice from a broker on steps you can take to reduce your premiums. A broker can also help advise you on how other factors affect your car insurance, from the type of car you drive to the neighbourhood you live in.
No claims bonuses (NCB/NCD)
Insurance companies reward safer drivers, so for every year that you are driving and don’t make a claim you get a discount on your premium for the following year – a ‘no claims bonus’. This is one of the major ways of making big savings on your Car Insurance, with discounts of up to 75% possible for those that build up multiple years’ worth of zero claims. You can also transfer your no-claims discount across most insurers, so you’re not trapped with just one firm. Because no-claims discounts represent such big savings, some drivers choose to pay a small amount in order to ‘protect’ theirs. This means that they can make a certain amount of claims during a year without jeopardising their ‘no claims’ status.
An excess is the amount of money that you will have to contribute towards any claims that you make. So if your policy has an excess of £200 and you make a claim for repairs costing £600, your insurance company will pay you £400. There are two different types of excess: voluntary and compulsory. With compulsory insurance, your insurer sets the excess rate. When making a claim, it’s worth checking your policy’s excess as it sometimes makes more financial sense to pay for repairs yourself and keep the benefits of your no claims bonus. With a voluntary excess, you set the rate. A higher voluntary excess often means a lower policy cost, although you need to make sure you can afford to pay it in the event of making a claim.
What are Car Insurance Group and do they affect my insurance premium?
Car Insurance Groups can have a huge impact on your insurance premium, they range from 1 to 50. The higher the group, the higher the premium. Sports cars and luxury supercars (Ferrari, Lamborghini etc) are usually the highest groups. Learn more about Car insurance groups.
Finding the best deals with a broker
As we’ve outlined in this guide, there are multiple factors which can affect the cost of your insurance premium, and getting the best deals can be an arduous process. That’s why we recommend using an impartial insurance broker to shop around on your behalf. By shopping with an experienced broker like highgear.co.uk you can benefit from a wealth of expert insurance knowledge. They’ll shop around all the different insurance companies on your behalf, ensuring you get the best possible quotes to suit your individual needs. Related products: taxi insurance – van insurance – chauffeur insurance – private hire insurance – young driver Car Insurance