Business Personal Finance

Thursday 22 February 2018

Seven ways of saving on car insurance


Jonathan Hehir

THE cost of car insurance is something that most Irish families have to grapple with. Almost 1.4 million households have at least one car, according to the latest Census.

Car insurance is not a discretionary spend. If you drive a car, you are legally obliged to have insurance.

Anyone who has ever shopped around for car insurance will tell you that there are huge variations in price – from hundreds to thousands of euro.

The internet has made it easier for families to shop around, but there are dangers to this.

One mistake I often see families make is that they leave out crucial information when getting an insurance quote online.

Last week, a customer called to my office to see if I could help him with a problem he was having with his car insurance. The root cause of the problem was that he had asked his daughter to get him online quotes as he wasn't internet savvy.

His daughter was not aware he had four penalty points and she ultimately bought a policy online on his behalf. When he received the insurance documents from his new insurers, he spotted this and then advised the insurer of his penalty points. The insurer immediately cancelled his policy. Luckily for this man, there were no accidents or claims – if there were, he would not have been covered as his policy was null and void. We were able to get him cover with another insurer after we explained the circumstances.

If you are asking someone in your family to get quotes for your insurance, read a copy of the quote and details of the cover before the insurance is bought. This should ensure that your insurer has all the right details. If you would prefer that a family member does not know about your penalty points, get your own quotes.

Cases like this shouldn't put you off shopping around online – as it is a convenient way to spot cheaper deals. However, there are other ways to cut the cost of cover. Here are seven simple steps you could take to slash your car insurance bill.

1 Only pay for the cover you require – if your car is a banger, there's little point in having comprehensive cover.

2 Most people don't claim for minor damage as they'll lose their no-claims bonus. It is a good idea, therefore, to opt for a larger excess of about €500, where you would pay the first €500 of any claim you make. This should bring down the cost of your premium.

3 If you want to teach your teenager to drive, find out how much it would cost to add them to you or your spouse's cover – as well as how much it would cost to arrange separate cover for your teenager. Don't assume that one will be cheaper than the other.

4 Before changing your car, find out how much the insurance will cost for the car you are planning to buy – particularly if you're young. The premiums for two apparently similar cars can vary considerably – insurance rates are nigh on impossible to predict.

5 If you're at the position where you're buying a car, consider the engine size as this will invariably effect your insurance premiums.

6 Additional security features can bring down the cost of your premium so make sure you tell your insurer or broker if you have an alarm, immobiliser or if your car is kept in a garage – it all adds up.

7 Ask your insurance company if you are eligible for a discount if you have more than one policy with them.

Jonathan Hehir is director of online insurance broker

Sunday Independent

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