Ideally you should live in a crime free area and drive a vehicle with a small engine and a good safety record but life is never ideal. However, you should try to ensure that your car is kept on a drive or, even better, in a garage overnight. Any modifications to the car are a complete no – no and you should keep the annual mileage down as much as possible and offer to pay as large an excess as you feel you can afford. If you are driving an old car with a low value then third-party fire and theft cover may be sufficient but bear in mind that many insurers do not encourage motorists who are looking for such a low level of cover to insure with them, because they believe that those motorists may not maintain their cars as well. If you still wish to go down this route then at least get a quote for comprehensive cover as well, surprisingly there have been cases where fully comprehensive policies have cost less than third-party ones.
Many insurers offer cut price policies for short periods and sometimes the reductions can be as much as 50% of their normal premiums. The problem is that there is usually no way of telling just when these offers will come a long. You therefore need to begin your search for your next policy as early as possible, and search regularly using a good comparison site so that you have plenty of time to find the right price. Sometimes insurers will allow you to book a policy to begin at a date in the future at the cut price rate even though by then the offer will have expired; but of course some will not.
Picking the right insurer
There are a number of cut-price insurers offering comparatively cheap policies but the majority of these are registered abroad, particularly in Gibraltar. Do bear in mind that in the event of a claim you may have some difficulty getting the claim settled if the insurance company proves obstinate; although all insurers offering policies within the UK have to be authorised by the Financial Services Authority, meaning that you could have some protection in the event of the company becoming insolvent, they are not usually members of the UK Insurance Ombudsman Scheme which is otherwise a very useful protection for consumers. There are also some cheaper insurers that can be contacted only over the Internet and these companies tend to attract a disproportionate number of complaints from clients who find difficulty in dealing with them when things go wrong. Sometimes you may find it better to pick a well-known company that has a reputation to uphold.
A lot of insurance companies offer very attractive premiums to new clients. The following year the rates return to normal but the majority of drivers renew anyway, often encouraged by the fact that the insurance companies get them to agree to automatic renewal. You should never agree to this and towards the end of each policy you should see what other companies will offer you if you switch to them. This may mean changing insurer every year but it could save you a packet.
Read the small print
Insurance companies love extras. Change your address, change your car, go over your estimated mileage, get a new job, develop a medical problem, in fact find any circumstances that would give an insurer an excuse to charge a higher or lower premium, and your insurer may well charge a fee for changing their records. Some companies will charge you nothing, others may charge fees running into three figures. Failed to inform them of these changes and they could have an excuse to refuse a payout. So, make sure that you read all policy documents carefully before making any commitments.
Motorists sometimes bend the facts a little. Young drivers claim to be a little older than they are, minor bumps are forgotten and previous no claims discounts can be exaggerated. Insurance companies are wise to all these manoeuvres and they share an awful lot of information amongst themselves meaning that any incorrect information you give can result in an insurer refusing you a quotation. What is worse is that a lot of insurance companies will accept a proposal form at face value, provide a quote and issue a policy.
They will then make background checks and if they find any anomalies they hit the insured person with either a straightforward cancellation or demand an additional premium. Even worse are those who wait until a claim is made and then wriggle out of payment on the grounds that incorrect information was given to them in the first place. If you are scrupulous in ensuring that everything you write on an insurance proposal form is 100% accurate you have the best chance of avoiding these problems.
Follow the above guidelines and shop around carefully and you will have a very good chance of finding the very cheapest insurance policies available.