matter what car, van or bike you drive, we're all looking for great value and quality
in our UK motor insurance? But who is the best - who is the
cheapest and who offers the great service in the event of a claim?
the insurance companies below who claim to offer competitive cover at
sensible prices, our guide to the jargon and tips for cutting your quote -
Shopping for car insurance (often referred
to as ‘motor insurance’) has traditionally been a painstaking but
necessary task. From fully comp to third party, finding
the right deal from numerous UK car insurance companies can prove to be an
overwhelming challenge using a telephone. However, there’s more to a search than just finding
cheap car insurance. You need to ensure you get the cover to suit
your needs as a motorist and to understand
some of the terms used. Here are some factors you should consider:
What type of car insurance is right for you? It is illegal to drive in the
UK without insurance and therefore the minimum standard of cover you can
take out is ‘third party’. This covers:
· Liability for injuries to others, including passengers.
· Liability for damage to someone’s property.
· Liability of passengers for accidents caused by them.
· Liability arising from the use of a caravan or trailer while attached
to the car.
Next comes ‘third party fire and theft’ which will also pay out if
your vehicle is stolen or set on fire.
A comprehensive (normally known as ‘fully comprehensive’) car
insurance policy will pay-out for all of the areas covered by third party
fire and theft with the addition of paying for any damage to your own
vehicle regardless of who caused the accident. It also covers loss of, or
damage to, personal effects in the car.
Business car insurance (also known as ‘commercial car insurance’)
meets the needs of small businesses with company vehicles.
Though polices vary between individual car insurance companies, benefits
typically include a courtesy car, free cover for driving in Europe and, in
some cases, legal aid when the accident is not your fault. These benefits
may incur an extra cost.
We all know car insurance is an expensive
business – but where does our money go? One factor rarely considered
when making a claim is how your car insurance premium is used – yet this information
may help you choose your
cover wisely and make a more informed choice on the cover you opt for.
· 50% for claims.
· 25% for legal and administrative costs.
· 25% for costs of running the company.
These numbers vary between insurers. Some are better than others at saving
and on cutting their overheads.
Most of the money paid out on car insurance claims is paid on property
damage. Collision damage makes up about 50% of an insurance company’s
total expenditure. However, this is a relatively small amount when taken
in context with medical expenses and personal injury claims because the
most an insurance company will ever pay out is the ‘fair market value’
for your vehicle. That is why collision and comprehensive cover costs
companies a lot of money.
Insurance companies also spend a lot of money processing and settling
claims. There is little that can be done to avoid these expenses but in
part six we examine excess charges and their benefits in cutting these
Additionally, advertising, staff and commission payments further increase
the costs of running an insurance company – the best way to avoid these
costs is to buy online.
Now you know about where your money goes, move on to part three for
details on legal requirements and making a claim.
The law requires that any vehicles of three years old and over have a
valid MOT certificate. You are unable to tax a vehicle without an MOT and
certificate of insurance and driving a car without these is an offence.
The Road Traffic Act states that all motorists must be insured against
their liability for injuring other people (including passengers) and for
damage to other people’s property. It is also vital to keep your
insurance company up-to-date including vehicle modifications and fixed
penalties as it is an offence not to – and it may affect any claim you
Most insurers will issue the following documents:
Certificate of insurance – You will need this to buy your road tax.
A cover note - It acts as a temporary policy and certificate until your
new insurance policy has been set up.
Policy document – This tells you everything you are covered for.
Most car insurance companies will have a claims help-line with certain
office hours. Some will offer an accident emergency recovery hotline for
outside those hours if you have the addition of roadside recovery as part
of your claim.
It is worth discovering beforehand if your insurer will immediately
authorise repairs from recommended agents and in the event of a theft does
your insurance include cover for personal belongings or replacement locks?
It’s also worth checking whether a courtesy car is included in the price
quoted, and if so, for how long –your own car may be off the road for a
number of weeks after an accident and hire cars can be expensive.
insurance can be a minefield of difficult terminology and confusing
jargon. Moneysupermarket.com wants to help you find the right car
insurance deal for you and so we’ve compiled a guide to help bust
through the jargon.
ABI Group – Your car will be given a
specific ranking based on the level of risk involved with each car type
Approved Repairer – Repairers
recommended by your insurers.
DOC Cover – Otherwise known as
Driving Other Cars.
Fault/Non-Fault Claim – A non-fault
claim is when the insurer can recover the costs from someone else. A
fault claim is if they cannot recover the costs regardless of whether
the accident was your fault.
Indemnity - Insurance policyholders
are put in the same financial position after a loss as they were
immediately before it.
IPT – A Government tax charged as a
percentage of premiums.
Loss adjuster – Investigates the
legitimacy of claims.
Material fact – Failure to disclose
material could invalidate a policy, such as driving convictions.
S D & P - Social Domestic &
Pleasure. A description of how you plan to use your car.
Settlement – When an insurer pays a
TPO – Third Party Only.
Under-insurance – For example
insuring your car for £8,000 when the car is worth £10,000. Insurance
companies will almost always scale down claims as a result.
ULR cover – Uninsured loss recovery
– better known as legal expenses cover, which you can add on to your
Uninsured losses – Elements not
covered by your policy such as hire charges.
Underwriter – Person who decides
whether to accept a risk and calculates the premium.
deciding which type of benefits are right for you it can often help to
understand the perspective of the car insurance company. These include:
Age/sex – Younger drivers and
learner drivers are less experienced and therefore considered more
likely to be involved in an accident. Some companies now also offer
lower premiums for women, who statistics have proven are involved in
fewer accidents than men.
Insurance Group – Most cars are
given an insurance group ranking based on the level of risk involved
with each car type and group (often based on likely repair costs).
Generally, high-powered performance cars will be in the highest group
(up to ‘20’), whereas a small car will be generally lower ranked and
therefore should receive cheaper car insurance.
Cost of vehicle – If you drive a
classic or performance car you can expect to pay a higher premium as
these cars generally cost more to repair than others.
Engine size – The more powerful the
car the more likely it is to be involved in a high-speed accident.
Your occupation – If you are driving
as part of your job you are more likely to be involved in an accident
than someone who, for example, only drives at weekends.
Where you live – Higher density of
traffic and higher crime rates can make your car more susceptible to an
accident or theft respectively.
Your history – The more accidents
you have, the more expensive your cover is likely to be.
benefits available vary between car insurance companies. Of course the
more benefits you add, the more expensive your premium. The most common
example is the addition of a free courtesy car in the event that your
vehicle is off the road due to an accident. Legal protection too can be
considered, and some companies will offer legal help following a ‘not
at fault’ incident. Roadside breakdown service is also on offer from
some car insurance companies but not all – it often proves cheaper to
shop around. Also, it is worth deciding whether it’s worth paying
extra for overseas driving cover.
There are also ways to reduce your premium and get a more competitive
No claims bonus – Each year you
insure your car and do not make a claim you build up a ‘no claims
bonus’ (sometimes known as ‘no claims discount’). In some cases a
five-year no claims bonus can save you 65% on your premiums.
Protected no claims bonus – This
allows you to pay a premium so that in the event of an accident you
don’t lose your no claims bonus. Although it costs extra to protect
your no claims bonus, you’ll save pounds in the event of any claims
you do have to make.
Excess charge – Many companies issue
policies that have a ‘compulsory excess’ (and sometimes a
‘voluntary excess’). This refers to the amount of money you are
willing to pay in the event of an accident. So if your excess was £100
and the total cost of repairs was £300 then you would pay £100 and the
insurance company would also pay £200. However, if the cost of repairs
was £100 or lower you would pay the total cost. The more money you’re
willing to pay in excess, the lower your premium.
FACTORS TO CUT
addition to no claims bonus and excess charges seen above there are many other factors to help lower the cost of your
car insurance premium:
Parking location – for maximum
benefit keep your car parked in a locked garage overnight. If you
don’t have access to a garage, then parking on a driveway is viewed as
less of a risk than parking on the street.
Mileage – Update your estimated
annual mileage each year. If you change jobs and have a shorter commute
you could save cash.
Learner drivers – Extra lessons with
the Pass Plus scheme can cut premiums by as much as 35%. Motorists who
pass an ‘advanced driver’ course can also see their premiums
Marriage – Married men attract lower
premiums than single men.
Car security – A car alarm,
immobiliser or tracker makes it less likely that your car will be stolen
and therefore should reduce your premium.
Don’t speed – The higher the
number of speeding offences, the more expensive your car insurance is
likely to be.
Satellite Navigation – Some insurers
could cut costs for drivers with the satellite navigation facility.
Parents – Adding teenagers to your
policy can significantly increase the cost of your policy. If it is
unavoidable then try and keep them on your insurance for the minimum
amount of time – for example during the holidays.
Young drivers – The reverse is true
for younger drivers because adding a parent to your insurance, or an
older, more experienced driver, can cut costs.
Optional extras – Only select to
have a courtesy car or cover for legal expenses if you really need them.
Modifications – New wheels, seats,
colour changes and adding a spoiler are all changes that could add to
Avoid monthly premiums - Most insurers
charge a fee for this service. The fee ranges from and Annual Percentage
fee of 13% up to 29% APR. You can avoid this by taking out a credit card
with an introductory interest free offer.
internet has made shopping around easier without the need to wait on
call centres. In addition, some insurers will offer as much as a 20%
discount to people who buy their car insurance online.
Broadly there are four options available when researching and buying car
insurance. These are:
Insurance Brokers – Aim to deliver
the customer choice by utilising their computer systems. However, a
broker can only ever present the insurers he has deals with.
Direct Insurers – They cut out the
middleman because commissions paid to brokers can be saved if the
insurer gives the benefits to you. These include: Direct Line, e-Sure,
Admiral, Hastings, 1st Alternative, Churchill, Privilege, Norwich Union
Direct and Cornhill Direct, Moreth>n, Elephant and Budget.
Branded Providers – Established
names who have added insurance to their extensive list of products.
These include: Virgin Money, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, MBNA, Marks and
Spencer, the Post Office, the major car dealerships and Kwik Fit.
Full Search Provider – With a full
search provider you are able to enter your data and then a full search
of the market is performed to return a list of potential car insurance
providers that will include insurers, direct insurers, brokers and UK
If you’re concerned the cheapest quotes are from insurers you’re
unfamiliar with, why not find out more about the company’s financial
reliability? This can be done through the Standards and Poors website.
Their ratings work as follows:
AAA Extremely strong
AA Very strong
We hope the above information coupled to our comprehensive A to Z
directory of vehicle insurers, will make the task of finding the best
policy for you an easier job.
Now you’ve got enough to get you started, so good luck finding your
perfect policy from the Speedace team.