Bargain hunting is the only way to get a competitive price on your car insurance, and to do that you’ll need to compare quotes. Comparison websites are great for that. But what should you look for? Here’s a guide to the factors worth evaluating.
Obviously, cost is the number one thing you should compare. There are various factors that affect the rate you’re offered, such as your age and driving experience. But insurance companies weight these differently, so premiums vary.
Make sure you look at the total price after you’ve included all add-ons you need, so that you compare like for like. Also, check you’re not paying additional fees for anything you don’t need. And bear in mind that more expensive policies might include some extras as standard or carry a smaller excess fee in the event of a claim.
Don’t forget to add your no claim discount, too.
Check out websites with customer reviews for insurance providers. You’ll be able to gauge the standard of customer service you can expect, and you might also get an insight into the value for money certain policies represent.
Here are just a few of the services insurance companies might offer:
- Monthly payment Most insurers will let you pay in monthly instalments, but they often charge an admin fee or add interest.
- 24-hour emergency helpline This is handy, as you never know when you’ll have an accident.
- Legal advice This can prove useful if you have an accident, but your home insurance policy may already offer it.
Extras and benefits
Additional features vary. Some could be included in the basic price of your policy or you might have to pay extra – if so, make sure they’re worth paying for. There’s no point in shelling out for any service you’re unlikely to need. Also, check you’re not already receiving similar benefits from other insurers or banks, etc.
Here are some of the extras offered, either as standard or as a paid-for add-on:
- Breakdown cover Most insurers offer an add-on breakdown service, which might extend to Europe too, but it’s worth checking to see how the add-on prices compare with separate cover.
- Courtesy car Here, an insurer offers you a car to use if you have an accident and your car is temporarily out of action.
- Injury cover Again, check what your quote covers to decide if you need additional cover.
- Cover for driving in Europe Some policies will give you third party coverage if you drive your car in Europe.
- Personal possessions Some policies pay out if your CD player, phone or satnav is stolen from your car. Child car seats, roof racks and cycle carriers might even be covered as standard. Your insurance is unlikely to offer much cover for possessions – so check to see what cover your home insurance offers regarding possessions in the car.
Do your research
At the end of the day, doing your homework will ensure you get an adequate car insurance policy, suitable for your circumstances.
Tara Nathanson writes for Sainsbury’s Finance on a range of topics including car insurance, car safety and other motoring topics. In her spare time she likes going to the cinema and doing yoga and Zumba classes, and at weekends she likes hanging out with her six-year-old son.