In recent months, the headlines surrounding car insurance premiums have made for grim reading. Insurance quotes have been steadily on the rise, and according to information from the Association of British Insurers (ABI), the average cost of car insurance in the UK for April and June of 2023 is up 22% - from £419 a year earlier to £511 in 2023.
In the face of these rising prices, personalised number plate provider RegTransfers have put together a short guide of tips and tricks for drivers looking to bring the overall price of their insurance down. If you want to save some money on an upcoming renewal (and have a bit more to spend elsewhere), this article is for you!
Time your quotes (and gather a lot of them)
Since car insurance is compulsory across the UK, insurance companies can take advantage of that and give more expensive rates the closer people are to their renewal dates. This doesn’t just encourage people to get their quotes before expiry, but it also allows insurance companies to make some extra cash.
That said, asking for a quote too early may also result in higher premiums. It’s best to invest some time into gauging the market and identifying the best time to ask for a quote. If done correctly, you can significantly reduce the insurer's quoted prices.
We highly recommend getting a quote from several providers a few weeks before your policy ends - this is easily done through the quick and simple forms offered by various comparison sites online. Most quotes are valid for a full 30 days after issue, so you’ll have time to decide on the best deal for the insurance coverage you’re after.
Pay for insurance up-front
Another money-saving tip - and perhaps the best known among drivers - is to pay your insurance upfront. We’re aware, however, that this may seem a daunting option for some; A full payment for car insurance can seem hefty, especially to young drivers who have just passed their test or those on a limited wage.
That said, spreading out payments results in a higher overall cost in the long run. According to Zebra, drivers who paid for their insurance policies in full save around 4.7% on average. This might not seem like a lot, but if you’re a young driver with a quote for £1,500, 4.7% would save you around £70. It can be tempting to spread the cost of insurance over a monthly rate - which gives the illusion of “lessening the blow” - but if you’re a first-time driver saving for your first car, you may want to include the cost of car insurance in your budget, and tackle the costs in one go.
Smaller engines, cheaper insurance
If you’re buying your first car or looking to make a new purchase, we recommend you to buy a car with a smaller engine. Vehicles with bigger engines, due to their power and fuel consumption, often have higher insurance costs. Investing in a car with a smaller engine (or even an electric vehicle, if you have the budget) can result in major savings when it comes to insurance.
The UK is currently attempting a shift toward sustainability. So, there are clear benefits for drivers who opt for smaller engines and more efficient cars, and one of the biggest benefits is much lower cost for insurance premiums.
Invest in car security
Insurance providers are more willing to provide customers with lower premiums when their vehicle is equipped with a number of security features. Airbags, automatic braking systems, alarms and similar show insurance providers that you present less risk overall, as you’ve taken the necessary steps to prevent your car from being damaged or stolen.
While such security systems can present quite a high initial cost, they’re definitely worth having. And if you’re yet to buy your first car, we recommend that you look for a vehicle that already has all of the above-mentioned car security features installed.
Consider a monitoring device
Installing a monitoring device to your car (commonly known as a "telematics box" or "black box") comes with equal pros and cons for drivers, and it’s an option one should consider carefully.
These devices are used to track a number of driving habits such as speed, hard braking, turning and mileage. In essence, knowing that your insurer is tracking your performance as a driver should, in theory, improve your safety on the road - and this leads to insurers offering lower premiums for vehicles fitted with such devices.
There are some trade-offs in this solution, however. Your insurer may require you to limit your driving to a certain number of miles per month, and you will be giving up your privacy in terms of how and where you use your vehicle, as your location is also tracked. There’s also a risk involved if you don’t maintain safe driving habits that could lead to higher premiums or problems if you get into an accident.
To reiterate, monitoring devices are a potential way to save money on your insurance, but it’s important to weigh up the potential overall impact.
Add another named driver to the car
Various individuals will find that insurance providers may not be as willing to provide you with cheap premiums. In general, younger and older drivers will see higher insurance quotes, as well as those who’ve had points on their license or have been uninsured for six months or more.
If you’re in such circumstances, insurers will deem you a higher-risk client, and as such, you will see higher prices when seeking a quote. That said, one of the ways to work around this is to add another, more experienced driver to the insurance policy. For example, if you’re a student, you can add one of your parents who has more years of experience behind the wheel can help to reduce your overall costs.
It’s important to note that if the named driver uses your car and gets into an accident, it will be you, as the main driver, that will take the hit to any no-claims bonus you may have accrued if you choose to make a claim. Keep this in mind if you’re adding a named driver to the vehicle who may use your car.
As a quick warning, you should never add someone to your policy as the main driver if they're not - this is a type of fraud, which could result in a prosecution.
While the increase in costs are frustrating, having car insurance in the UK is a must for every driver on the road. Even so, that doesn’t mean you should be paying thousands of pounds a year on your policy. There are, of course, many other ways to decrease your insurance premiums (such as taking defensive driving courses or adjusting coverage levels) but hopefully you’ve gained a little know-how on steps you can take to reduce your next insurance quote.
As a closing statement, remember to shop around for the best deals, work within your budget and be well-informed of your options - and the levels of coverage provided - before taking on a new policy. Saving money may be important in the current financial climate, but making sure you have adequate coverage is paramount, as you don’t want to be caught without adequate protection.
Guest Blog - About RegTransfers
With 40 years of industry experience, Regtransfers is the UK's largest independent private number plates specialist. Established in 1982 and with its headquarters in Dunstable, Bedfordshire, RegTransfers are registered with the DVLA as a supplier of both personalised registrations and acrylic number plates, buying and selling for their own stock and on behalf of clients throughout the UK.