A simples guide

Acting on your car insurance renewal letter

Most of us probably don’t think too much about our car insurance renewal, afterall, most of the time our insurer just automatically renews it anyway making life much easier in the process.

But although it makes life easier, it’s not necessarily making life affordable as even the average best priced deals have risen by 4.4% between August 2014 and 2015.

So what does that mean when it comes to our turn to renew and what can we do, to make sure we’re getting the best deal possible? Read on to find out.

Auto renewal is the best option isn’t it?

It depends on what your definition of ‘best’ is. If you want your renewal to make the irritation of searching for car insurance go away, then yes, auto renewal probably is the best option for you. But do you still think it’s best if it also costs you more than it needs to?

Our recent data shows that 50% of customers who decide to compare the market could save up to £257.59 on their car insurance, a lucky 10% could save could save up to £1274.93 and 45% of you could save (on average) almost half (42%) of what you currently pay**.

But there is one group who considers car insurance auto renewals to be best, and that’s the insurers. Auto renewals are a lot less effort than going and getting new customers – think about it. Your current insurer has all your details on file – the car you want to insure, where you live, where it’s kept, how many miles you drive – simply rolling over your policy means that they don’t have to go through the whole rigmarole of asking questions, filling out new paperwork and issuing a brand new policy. Your insurer can just sit back and watch your direct debit come rolling in.

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Not all insurers automatically renew your policy

Some providers will auto renew your policy and some won’t. Either way, some customers end up in an auto renewal cycle without realising whilst others end up without insurance because they think that their policy has auto renewed when it hasn’t. The lesson here, is to always understand what your policy says and pay attention to what’s written in your car insurance renewal letter in the first place.

What should I do when I receive my car insurance renewal letter?

The first thing to do, is check when your policy’s due to end. Most insurers will send out car insurance renewal notices at least 21 days before your policy finishes. But don’t just rely on the letter plopping onto your doormat before you take action, afterall what happens if you’re away or it fails to arrive or if it gets swept up amongst some junk mail only to be chucked straight into the recycling.

That period between your renewal letter and your policy ending, is your opportunity to go and find a better deal. We all need car insurance – it’s the law and insurers rely on our busy lives (or laziness) preventing us from searching for a more competitive quote But by comparing what’s on offer, more than a quarter of you could save £514.

If you decide not to renew your policy, call your insurer and tell them. If you can, follow it up with an email or letter noting the time, date and person you spoke with about your cancellation. In most cases, a quick phone call telling your provider not to renew will be the end of it, but mistakes do happen so it’s worth having evidence to back up what you’ve said just in case. Calls should be recorded by your provider so they could be retrieved if necessary.

What happens if I don’t act on my renewal letter but I want to cancel?

By law, you have 14 days to cancel your insurance policy. The 14 day ‘cooling off’ period starts from the day the cover begins or the day you received your policy documents – whichever comes last. If you decide to cancel after this 14 day cooling off period, then you may be charged an administration fee and the time on cover and this could be less than the cancellation fee after 14 days.

You can still cancel your policy even if it’s been automatically renewed and you’ve missed the cooling off period. But in most cases, you’ll be charged a cancellation and admin fee and you may also be charged a small amount for the time during which the policy was active.

Getting the best deal at the right price

Don’t feel pressured into automatically renewing when it might not be in your best interest. Take the time to look around and weigh up what’s best for you, with over 100 trusted car insurance providers, you can be confident about finding a deal to suit you when you comparethemarket with us.

**Based on Online independent research by Consumer Intelligence during August 2016. 

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