What you need to know about car insurance – overview
It’s always compulsory for you to insure and tax your vehicle unless you don’t drive it and declare a SORN (statutory off road notice) and don’t keep your car on a public road. You can choose from three different levels of cover, although depending on your circumstances – for example, if you use your car for business – there are a number of additional top-up products you can buy which can provide extra insurance benefits.
- Fully comprehensive: insurance that provides cover for all events, including damage to your car, damage to the third party’s vehicle and damage to any person/s involved
- Third party fire and theft: insurance that provides cover in the event that the other person’s vehicle/belongings are damaged. It also provides cover for your car in the event of a fire or theft
- Third party only: insurance that provides cover in the event that the other person’s vehicle/belongings are damaged. This does not provide any cover for your own vehicle
It’s worth noting that TPO is the minimum level of insurance that you’re required to have by law. TPFO (posh way of saying third party fire and theft) doesn’t really give you a lot of cover, while TPO gives you nothing at all, really. The benefit though is that your premiums will be far cheaper.
What your car insurance will cost
What your insurance costs depends on a variety of factors:
- The make and model of your car: the more expensive it is, the more expensive your insurance is likely to cost as your vehicle will cost more to replace
- Your location: people with vehicles in cities tend to pay higher insurance premiums as it’s statistically more likely that your car will be broken into
- Motoring offences or points on your driving license: you’ll have to declare these and if they occurred within the last five years, you’ll usually have to pay an increased premium
- No claims: you can build up your no claims bonus so that you get savings of up to 70% off of your car insurance. You can also protect your no claims bonus with most insurers so that if you do have to make a claim you’ll be able to protect that discount – yay!
There are a number of additional top-up products that you can add onto your policy and some of these are outlined in more detail below:
- Legal Expenses cover: cover that pays out in the event of an accident that isn’t your fault, which can cover you for legal costs related to claiming for any uninsured losses, such as loss of earnings or compensation for an injury
- Road Risk cover: insurance that covers you, your workers and members of the public for driving one of your vehicles (for example, if you own a dealership)
How to make your car insurance cheaper
There are a few things you can do to reduce the costs of your car insurance premiums and these are outlined in more detail below:
- Limited mileage: often, if you only drive your car infrequently (perhaps you drive less than 5,000 miles per year) you can qualify for a discount. One thing you’ll need to keep in mind is that if you go over that 5,000 mile limit, you’ll have to tell your insurer as if an accident occurs over this limit, your insurance may be invalid
- Additional security measures: things like alarms, immobilisers and additional security measures can often reduce premiums
- Keeping your car secure: keeping your car in a locked garage or on a driveway will often reduce your premiums
What to do if you have a car accident
If necessary, contact the police. Call our Claims Line on 0345 872 3611 and follow the advice in our Claims Guide.
Information your insurer may need to fulfil your insurance
- A copy of your driving license (and CBT certificate if necessary) for you and any other drivers named on your insurance policy
- Proof of your no claims bonus
- Proof of security if using it to get a discount
- Proof of advanced driving qualification if using it to get a discount
If you don’t provide full and completely accurate information to your insurer, if you ever have to make a claim, it will invalidate your policy so it’s important that you give them the correct information from the get-go.
The difference between brokers, insurers and comparison sites
The difference between the three is fairly simple. Brokers act on your behalf to find the right insurance product for you, taking into account your personal circumstances. Comparison sites simply compare (hence the name) all of the quotes available to you, and insurers are the guys that provide the insurance. They’ll pay out in the event of a claim.
Brokers, insurers and comparison sites are all regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (the FCA) which regulates all financial service providers within the UK. To ensure that your insurance is provided by an insurer that you can trust, make sure that they’re regulated by the FCA – this should be referenced on their website.
If we’ve missed anything out that you think we should include in this guide, drop us an email!