Car insurance FAQs

Got a query while running your quotes? Our Frequently Asked Question list should help. 

Got a query while running your quotes? Our Frequently Asked Question list should help. 

Daniel Hutson
From the Motor team
5
minute read
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Posted 24 MAY 2021

Frequently asked questions

If you’re still scratching your head, you could also pay a visit to our glossary or our car insurance hub – this has a short explanation of a lot of the common insurance-related terms. 

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Frequently asked questions

I don't know the registration number of the car, can I still get a car insurance quote?

Telling us the reg of the car you'd like to insure is the quickest way to get a quote, as we can look up the make and model of the car and a lot of the details about it. But if you don't know it, don't worry, we can still help. You’ll just need to enter the year, make and model, and we'll provide a list of car types to choose from. 

Rerunning a comparison today returned a different quote from yesterday. What’s that about?

This is normal in car insurance. Providers are constantly adjusting the way they price policies for all sorts of reasons, so you may find that your car-insurance quotes vary on a daily basis. You should also check that you’ve used exactly the same information when you’ve re-run your quote. Because of these variations, when you find cheap car insurance that meets your needs, it could be worth purchasing straight away.

How long will my quote be valid for?

This is something that’s set by the car-insurance companies themselves, rather than us. If you’d like to see when a car-insurance quote is set to expire, click through to the provider’s own website. Be aware, though, that providers change their pricing very often, so if you edit your quote you may find the price changes. The only way to guarantee a price is to buy straight away. 

Is it okay just to buy the cheapest car insurance?

It’s easy to find the lowest prices because we put the cheapest car insurance quotes at the top of the page. But the cheapest policy might not be the best to suit you. Do check that it offers everything you need – for example, would you need a courtesy car or windscreen replacement if your car got damaged? 

I have a page of quotes, can I change my level of cover from third-party to comprehensive?

On your quotes page, there’s a section at the top called ‘Tailor your quote’. You can choose a different level of cover from the three options available: 

Just click ‘Update prices’ to get new results.

How do I make sure I get a courtesy car, legal cover and breakdown cover?

Our quote page helps you compare important policy options. These include things like courtesy car, breakdown and legal-protection cover. These options are listed side-by-side, so it’s easy to compare car-insurance policies. Just remember that sometimes these will be optional extras that may have an additional cost. 

Do check the details, though. Will your breakdown cover be home-start or roadside? Is the courtesy car available for car repairs or just in case of a write-off? 

How do I print out my policy details?

Providers themselves will usually send out your full policy details, or allow you to print them out, and you can do that once you’ve bought the policy. Providers also allow you to see a summary of the policy during the online journey, which you can find by clicking through to the provider. But if you want to print out policy summary details here, click on the ‘more details’ to open up the quote in full. Then print using the ‘File > Print’ menu on your browser. 

If you want to print out the details you’ve put into our form, click on the ‘Edit details’ tab at the top of your screen and print using the ‘File > Print’ menu on your browser. 

Can I buy temporary car insurance?

Yes. We can help you find temporary car or van insurance from one hour up to a full 84 days. Short-term car insurance can be really helpful if you want to: 

  • borrow a vehicle from a friend or family member 
  • lend your car or van to a friend or family member 
  • test drive or drive home a new car you’ve just bought so you can then sort out your annual insurance at your leisure  
  • share the driving on a long trip. You can get temporary car insurance and be on the road in minutes 
  • drive someone else’s car in an emergency 
  • move furniture in a borrowed van 

Find out more about temporary vehicle insurance and get a quote.

Can you explain the difference between total excess, voluntary excess and compulsory excess?

The total excess is the amount your insurer expects you to pay towards the cost of a claim. The excess is split into two parts.  
 
The compulsory excess is set by your insurer and depends on things like your age, your car and the type of claim you’re making.  
 
The voluntary excess is something you can set yourself when you apply for your cover. A higher voluntary excess may bring down the cost of premiums, but you’ll have to foot more of the bill if you do have to claim.

What should I do when insurers come back with a different voluntary excess?

Sometimes insurers don’t want to accept your suggested voluntary excess because it’s too low or too high. Use the options on the quotes page to change your voluntary excess; it might give you more quotes.

Is a higher voluntary excess better?

In truth, this is a bit of a dilemma – a higher excess often equals a lower premium, but you can’t plan for accidents and you’ll need to be confident you can afford to pay your voluntary excess plus any compulsory or young-driver excess. Find out more and weigh up the pros and cons on whether bigger is better. 

When is my car insurance due for renewal?

If you are prone to forgetting the date when it’s due, we’ll remember for you – AutoSergei automatically checks for better deals before you even need to renew.  
 
Did you know that you could get a cheaper quote if you aim to renew around three weeks before your renewal date
 
It’s also worth reading our car-insurance renewal guide so you don’t fall into the auto-renewal trap, and you’ll be able to find out what to do if you change your mind about your policy. 

Are black box policies worthwhile?

You could save money with a telematics insurance policy depending on what type of driver you are, find out more and decide whether it’ll work for you with our guide to telematics.  

You can easily see which policies involve installing a telematics box in your comparison results. 

What is ‘fronting’?

This is when you say someone is the main driver when they’re not – it’s a type of fraud and the consequences can be harsh. Find out more about fronting and the impact it can have – especially on young drivers and their parents.

Do modifications to my car affect my car insurance?

In short, yes, most will, but not all modifications will negatively affect your insurance. Find out more on our page about modifications. 

Why is car insurance mandatory?

Car insurance is there to protect you, other drivers and the general public if an accident does happen. For more details, read our guide to why car insurance is a legal requirement.

How do job titles affect car insurance?

Your risk profile is one of the factors used to determine your insurance premium. As a result, your job can affect the cost of your cover. If you can’t find your job title when trying to get a quote it could be listed as something similar, so try another option. For example, if you work in tech and you can't find your exact job title, try to find the closest match – as long as it accurately describes what you do. It’s important to be honest about your job – if you’re not, you could invalidate your policy. 
 
Find out more on job titles and car insurance and what you can do about it.

Does car insurance cover breakdowns too?

Your insurance will only cover breakdowns if you’ve included that as an extra add-on to your policy. See more on breakdown insurance.

What’s a no-claims discount?

A no-claims discount (NCD) or no-claims bonus (NCB) is a way that insurance providers recognise and reward careful drivers who’ve gone without having an accident or making a claim, by offering you a discount on your premium. The longer you drive without claiming, the bigger the discount on your premium could be. It can also be known as a no-claims bonus.

What is comprehensive insurance?

Comprehensive insurance offers the highest level of protection for you and your car. You’ll get the cover you’d get with a third-party, fire and theft policy but, on top of that, it will typically cover the cost of any damage to your car in the event of an accident or malicious damage or vandalism if you make a successful claim. See what this means and why comprehensive insurance isn’t always the most expensive

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