Yorkshire Times
A Voice of the Free Press
Andy Harris
Motoring and Property Editor
1:00 AM 20th January 2024

Car Insurance – Are You Paying Too Much?

Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay
Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay
Anyone renewing their car insurance will likely have been surprised by renewal premiums which were substantially higher than the previous year’s. In a recent study conducted by The Green Insurer, motorists have stated that they are receiving quotes that are on average 26% higher than what they were paying last year.

The increase in motor insurance renewal premiums is widespread and causing financial strain for many vehicle owners, with some 70% of all respondents reporting that the premium offered by their insurer was higher than the previous year. Almost 29% of motorists described their renewal quote as being substantially higher.

Regular readers of my articles will have gathered that I own a motley assortment of cars and up until recently, all were insured by Admiral on a ‘Multicar’ policy. It was easy to add or remove cars and the premiums being paid were very reasonable. Living in a low-risk rural area and being over 50 years of age clearly helped.

At the last renewal, my total premium rocketed by over £300, which was a bit of a shock and represented a roughly 60% increase. Nothing had changed. No claims had been made and all the cars only covered very modest mileages, some less than 500 miles a year.

Before contacting Admiral, I decided to shop around for a better deal and this is something I would recommend everyone does come renewal time, even if your premium has not increased. There are many price comparison websites available, and this was my preferred route.

The quotes I received were in fact less that I had been paying Admiral in previous years for comparable cover. It would mean separate policies but with the potential savings on offer, I was quite happy to proceed.

In these circumstances, I would recommend talking to your existing insurer to see if they can match the new quotes or at least come close. They do not like losing loyal customers, especially if you have a good claims history, which I fortunately do.

The Admiral customer advisor I spoke to was very helpful and at first offered a modest reduction on the renewal premiums. Their company was still too far away on price, so I pushed a little harder and was rewarded with another modest reduction. We were still poles apart, so we parted ways and my cars are now insured with Saga. They offer cover for anyone over 50.

There are other tactics to try to reduce premiums and all are worth a try. Cutting your stated annual mileage is one and increasing the excess on the policy may also lead to a reduction in the premium.

Younger drivers may well benefit from adding an older more experienced adult (parent or guardian perhaps) to the policy and then there are insurers that use telematics that assess an individual’s driving performance. A box is fitted to the car that sends signals back to the insurer. It is a bit ‘big brother’, but the savings may be worth it. Keeping your car off-road or in a locked garage may also make a modest difference to premiums.

To summarise:
Shop around come renewal time regardless. A comparison website is a good place to start, but some insurers such as Direct Line are not on them.
Haggle with your existing insurer. They do not like losing customers.
Adding a more experienced driver to the policy may benefit younger drivers.
Make sure your job title is correct. Certain professions will command bigger premiums, as the perceived risk is higher.
Do you need business use or commuting cover? If you don’t make sure they are removed as this will help reduce the premium. Don’t be tempted to mislead however!
Consider the excess you have on the policy. Increasing it may well lead to a much lower premium.
If you have built up a substantial no claim bonus, pay extra to protect it. Doing so will allow a claim or two without substantially upping the cost of cover at renewal time.
Many insurers try to tempt motorists to pay extra for courtesy car cover, legal expenses cover and windscreen cover. Consider whether you need them.
Make sure you disclose all material facts when obtaining car insurance quotes. Your driving and claims history are all readily accessible to an insurance company and in the event of a claim, they may refuse to pay out if you have not provided accurate information.