Vroom for improvement: How to save on car insurance
Published 09/01/2016 | 16:00
Motor insurance is on the rise … again. It seems that even when you've maintained a safe, accident-free driving record, you get punished anyway.
Since the gender directive imposed by the EU in 2012, insurance companies have no choice but to charge male and female drivers the same premium. This flies in the face of evidence, rather than political correctness, which shows that young male drivers have a far poorer claims record than women. Actuaries have tended to increase all premiums, rather than level out their books, as they also know this to be fact.
So, drivers are left with higher premiums for no extra benefit. To get premiums down, a number of factors matter:
The age of your car
Insurance companies want newer cars, rather than old bangers which are difficult to repair and break down more often.
Cross insuring spouses
Cross insuring spouses on each other's cars will discount both premiums. It seems odd, but insurers like the idea of 'trust' in a policy - if you trust himself in your car, then they can too.
Switching your house insurance to your motor insurer will get you a discount for the extra business.
Keeping your car alarmed or in a safe location overnight (e.g. a garage) is worth a discount off the premium in many cases. If your company doesn't offer it, switch to one that does.
Many companies empower call centre staff to discount premiums if asked. Shop around first, get a cheaper quote and call your own company to better it. But follow through and switch if they don't.
Like with Like
When looking at different insurers, make sure policies compare with each other. If things like breakdown assistance is important to you, make sure all quotes assume it.
The first part of every claim you pay can be varied from €250-€750. The higher the excess, the lower your premium, but if you have a mild tip, you'll pay for it yourself.
Paying by direct debit monthly is more expensive than paying up front. Many insurance companies charge outrageous interest for this 'service', perhaps as much as 15pc pa. It's cheaper to get a credit union loan at 8pc and pay the insurer in one go.
If you fail to disclose things like penalty points, you may get a cheaper premium, but it's a waste of a saving.
In the event of an accident, even one that is not your fault, the insurer may seek to repudiate the claim because you weren't honest with them. Even if it carries an extra premium, disclosure is the best route.
Consider a UK-based company. The spread of risk can make their premiums cheaper and they'll only quote you if they offer cover in Ireland.