Different motorists have differing needs when it comes to car insurance. The type that suits you depends on the kind of car you drive and how much experience you have, as well as things like if you go abroad regularly.
Car insurance is compulsory in the UK, even if your vehicle stays in the garage for six months of the year. The minimum level of cover required by law is third party, and the penalty for driving uninsured is high – you can be fined up to £5000 and have your licence revoked.
This is our brief guide to car insurance for those who are confused about what type of cover they might need, or want advice on how to save money.
Types of car insurance policy
There are three different types of car insurance policy. The first is third party, which covers you for damage to third party property or injury of another person in an accident that is your fault. It doesn’t cover you for damage to your own vehicle. This may be suitable if you are insuring an older car that isn’t worth very much.
The second type is third party, fire and theft insurance. This offers the same cover as third party, but also covers your vehicle if it is damaged by fire or stolen.
Finally, there is comprehensive car insurance, which provides extensive cover both for you and your car, as well as third party damage. Some companies offer benefits with comprehensive such as breakdown assistance and legal expenses insurance. It’s the most popular as it gives complete peace of mind.
Saving money on car insurance
Insurance premiums can be high, especially for younger and less experienced drivers, but there are ways that you can cut the cost of your insurance besides using a comparison website.
The type of car you choose has a big impact on the insurance cost. Aspects such as engine size, modifications and repair costs are considered by insurers, and they group each vehicle into a category of one to 50. The lower the group, the less expensive the car is to insure.
Adding an older, more experienced driver to your policy can also help you to save money, particularly if you’re just starting out. The insurer will assume your named driver will be behind the wheel for some of the time, lowering the risk of a claim. Don’t, however, put the more experienced driver down as the main driver if you will be using the car most. Not only is it illegal, it will also void your policy.
The final way for you to save money is to use black box insurance. The insurer fits a tracking device to your vehicle, which records when, where and how you drive. Your premium is then based on the information fed back. If your mileage is low and you avoid rush hour for example, your insurance price will be lower.
If you’re planning a trip abroad, it’s a good idea to check your policy details before leaving. Most insurance policies will only cover you at the minimum legal level in the country you’re visiting, even if you buy fully comprehensive cover.
You can add comprehensive cover to your policy at the point of buying or later on, which incurs an additional cost. If you take your car abroad frequently, research the level of cover offered by the insurer for driving overseas before buying.
Making a claim
If you’re involved in an accident, it’s important to contact your insurer as soon as possible afterwards, and provide them with any evidence you may have, such as photos. The insurance company should be able to provide you with guidance about what to do next and if the claim is valid they should pay out promptly.