As the year draws to a close, the time to renew my car insurance is at hand. It can be a painful task, particularly as premiums continue to increase – trawling through quotes (many ridiculous) in order to find the most affordable option.
So what can you do to ease the process and hopefully save some money on your next premium?
All companies large and small
Companies like Axa, Allianz and AIG might be some of the most well known companies in the market, but that doesn’t mean they always have the best deals. When the time came to renew my insurance last year, I saved a three digit sum by switching from a larger provider to a smaller Dublin-based company, which also offered breakdown assist as part of the package. If you’re finding it difficult to source an affordable premium, a broker might be able to find a good deal.
Get to know your car
Make sure you’ve got all information about your car and driving to hand, as that may help to reduce the cost of your premium. That includes security features, parking location, annual mileage and the most up-to-date value – search for similar models on Carzone or Car Buyer’s Guide to get an idea of the market value. If you’ve got penalty points then you must let your insurer know, but don’t forget to inform them when the points are removed from your licence.
If you can afford it, consider increasing the policy excess on your premium, as it should reduce the cost. The excess is what you’ll have to pay before the insurer forks out in event of a claim. For example, if you have an excess of €300 and the total cost of the claim is €1000, you’ll pay the first €300 and the insurer will pay the balance. Be careful – you can’t predict whether you’ll make a claim or not, so be prepared to fork out whatever excess you settle on, or keep the excess amount in a separate savings account.
If you can afford it, pay for your insurance in one payment rather than monthly instalments, as generally you’ll end up paying more if you choose the latter. A 35 year old male teacher from Clane in Co Kildare, with more than 10 years driving experience and a clean licence, seeking insurance for a 2013 Skoda Octavia worth €17,995, received a comprehensive quote of €739.75 (one-off payment) from AIG, with the option of paying €67.81 per month resulting in a total bill of €813.72.
Last minute search
According to the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, the best time to search for a quote is 3-4 weeks before your renewal date. That way insurance companies know that you have plenty of time to search for an alternative, and might be more willing to offer you a better deal.