10 Things you need to know about car insurance

Car Insurance
Do you bother shopping around for car insurance? Do you bother to check the small print? When it comes to car insurance, most people fall into one of two camps. There are those who just renew with the same insurer, year after year, with the same insurer and there are those who scour the market and just go with the cheapest they can find. Either way, you could end up paying out far more money you need to, so here are ten surprising facts about car insurance that you may not have realised and a few tips to go with it.

1. Don’t forget that you might have to pay that excess one day
This really shouldn’t need saying, but people do get caught out with this. Taking out car insurance with an increased, voluntary excess will reduce your premiums, but only agree to an excess that you know will be able to afford. Even the most careful driver in the world can make a mistake or even have to take the blame for something that wasn’t really their fault, so don’t leave yourself open to an unexpected repair bill, just to save yourself a few quid extra each month.

2. Don’t lie on your car insurance forms
I suspect that most people tell the truth when it comes to the type of the car and the size of the engine, but what about the little things, like where you park your car, or what you use it for. If you say that your car is parked in a garage, and it gets written off while it’s parked in the road, the insurance company is quite likely not to pay out. Likewise, be careful about what you say you use your car for. Even driving your own car to a meeting is classed as business use.

3. Don’t forget to notify tour insurer of any changes
Another slip up that you can make with your car insurance is failing to notify the insurer of any changes to your circumstances. You will probably remember to tell them if you move home, but what about if you change your job, or your wife starts using the garage and your car is now parked on the road? If you fail to notify your insurer of any changes to your circumstances, you could end up not getting paid out for a claim.

4. Always pay up front if you can
If you can, it’s usually cheaper to pay for your car insurance in one lump sum rather than spread it over monthly payments. Most insurers treat monthly payments as a form of credit and they will charge you interest for doing it. The extra that you pay can be as high as 30% more, so do your sums!

5. Your fully comp car insurance may not be as compressive as you think
This is one area where reading the small print definitely comes into play, because the cheapest fully comp car insurance policy that you can find is probably not as compressive as you might think. Some of the common things that are missing from the cheaper policies are windscreen cover, legal cover and a courtesy car in the event of your own car being if the road.

6. Don’t renew without shopping around first
Shopping around for car insurance might not the most fun way to spend a weekend, but it could save you a lot of money. Insurance companies know that most people just renew without thinking, so they keep all their best offers for attracting new customers. Always shop around for car insurance and get a few quotes, or check it out on a price comparison site, before you renew any type of insurance cover.

7. Don’t claim unless you have to
If you have a minor collision, then it can often be cheaper to pay for the repair work yourself, rather than claim it on the insurance. Any type of claim that you make might increase your premiums and excess. You should still inform the insurer that you have had an accident though, that is often a requirement in car insurance policies.

8. Do always take photographs of any accident
Sadly, there are a lot of people who see a minor knock in their car as a great opportunity to get a complete respray and six weeks off work with whiplash. I know because it happened to me!  However slight you think the damage is, take photographs of both cars, grab a witness, if there are any around and, if your insurer’s assessors want to check out your car, let them come and do it.

9. Don’t only look at comparison websites to find car insurance
Price comparison websites certainly make shopping around much easier, but don’t forget that not all insurers are on them and those that aren’t, offer some pretty good deals, so that they can compete with all the companies that are on the comparison sites.

10. Protecting your no claims bonus doesn’t stop your premium rising
If you opt to pay to protect your no claims discount, that doesn’t stop your car insurance premiums rising of you have an accident. Your percentage discount may well stay the same, but the underlying cost of car insurance may still increase, which means that your premiums will still increase as a result of your having had an accident.

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