Friday 30 September 2016

How to avoid the worst of the motor insurance price hikes

Published 31/01/2016 | 02:30

Motorists who have more than five years of claims-free driving have the best chance of dodging the massive price hikes that motor insurers have thrown our way over the last year
Motorists who have more than five years of claims-free driving have the best chance of dodging the massive price hikes that motor insurers have thrown our way over the last year

Motorists who have more than five years of claims-free driving have the best chance of dodging the massive price hikes that motor insurers have thrown our way over the last year.

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So if you're facing a price rise of 20pc or 30pc, and the maximum no claims bonus (NCB) you can get from your insurer is for five years - shop around if you haven't made a claim for longer than that.

"Traditionally, insurers offered a NCB of five years, but some insurers are offering one for up to nine years," said Jonathan Hehir of coverinaclick.ie. "So if you've got nine years or more of claim-free driving, be very clear about this when you're ringing around. Ask the rival insurer to give you a discount to reflect your nine years' claim-free driving. And even if your current insurer only offers a NCB of five years, ask it to give you a nine years NCB."

Not all insurers have the same level of price increases - so shopping around should save you money.

"Some insurers have narrowed their market - but kept their motor insurance rates low compared to others," said Mr Hehir. "If you have a sedentary occupation, you should be able to get a good price."

Before changing insurer, make sure the cover you get under your new policy doesn't fall short when compared to your existing one.

"Ask the insurer to compare the policy it is offering with what you already have," said Mr Hehir. "Check what's included - and what's not - in the cheaper policy. It could cost you €300 to replace a windscreen so if you're only saving a few euro by going for a policy which doesn't have windscreen cover on it, the cheaper policy could be a bad idea."

Watch out for administration fees too.

Last April, Liberty increased its administration fee from €25 to €30.

Aviva can charge you an administration fee of up to €25 for each change you make to your policy. However, if you make the change online, it's free. It is also considering introducing a renewal administration fee of €20 - for those who renew their policies over the phone. "We haven't introduced a renewal administration fee - but it is something we're looking at and we reserve the right to do so," said a spokeswoman for Aviva.

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