Your car insurance questions answered

Looking at what people search for online, we put a selection of car insurance queries to the experts.

The cost of car insurance has been climbing steadily over the past five years and the average premium is now an eye-watering £740**. And with so many factors at play in the calculation of our premiums, it’s no wonder that most of us have more than a few unanswered questions when it comes to car insurance. So who better to consult for advice than the car insurance experts at comparethemarket.com. 

1. What are car insurance prices based on?

Each policy is calculated using a series of ‘building blocks’ relating to the individual, including where they live and the car they drive.

An insurance policy goes into real granular detail. All the information is broken down and reflected in your premium, taking into account factors such as age and the type of car you drive.

The biggest single discount you can get on car insurance tends to be the no claims discount. The more years you drive without making a claim, the greater the discount on your premium could be.

2. What’s the cheapest car insurance for young drivers?

Drivers aged 17-24 are often hit with higher premiums, partly because statistics show they’re more likely to be involved in an accident.

There’s no universal cheapest car insurance for young drivers, but there are products aimed at that market. One option may be telematics insurance, where you download an app to your phone or a black box is fitted in your car to monitor how, when and where you drive.

This gives you the opportunity to prove you’re a good driver. Most providers tend to think that within a three-week period they can recognise a driver’s idiosyncrasies and may look at offering discounts.

Car insurance questions for young drivers

3. Why does occupation affect car insurance?

A policyholder’s occupation is one of the 'building blocks' that factor into the overall premium. If you drive your car for work purposes, there could be an increased risk of you making a claim.

An insurance provider decides which occupations are most likely to be a risk. As an extreme example, they might well decide that a rally driver is a higher risk than a retiree.

4. Why does my car insurance keep going up?

There could be numerous reasons for this, which is why it’s so crucial to shop around. All providers review their policies on an annual basis. If you had a great deal in year one, you could see an increase when it comes to renewal.

Market forces can also have an impact, as can an individual’s actions, such as incurring points of your licence or making a claim.

Don’t just accept an increase in your insurance premium. Always check if there’s a cheaper deal available elsewhere. 

5. Why does my credit score affect my car insurance?

The past few years have seen insurance providers increasingly making a correlation between poor credit scores and the likelihood of a person having an accident or making a claim.

These scores are built into a lot of ratings and it’s becoming more and more prevalent. The credit searches won’t impact your credit file and it’s also a way to confirm a person’s address. It’s an added layer of security.

Car insurance rental

6. Should I get car hire excess insurance when I rent a car?

We would never advise somebody not to take out car hire insurance when renting a car. However, it’s sensible to make sure you understand the costs and consider the alternatives. 

Consider looking at independent cover, as this can often work out cheaper than buying insurance direct from the car rental company.

7. When will my car insurance go down after an accident?

If your premium has increased because you’ve had an accident and made a claim, you have to rebuild your no claims discount from scratch.

It will typically take you four years to earn the maximum discount. There may also be gradual discounts as you accrue years without claiming, depending on the insurance provider. It’s about rebuilding trust and showing you’ve had a period of safe driving.

8. Would installing a dashcam help me get cheap car insurance?

Dashcams are increasing in popularity. But they currently have little, if any, impact on the cost of your car insurance.

As it stands, some providers like them as they give clarity at the point of claim. It could help if there’s a claim made against you, for example, as it could prove you weren’t at fault. But, in our experience, we’re not seeing this specific question asked when it comes to calculating a policy.

Car insurance questions about your dashcam

9. Do different engine sizes need different types of insurance?

Each premium is based on certain considerations, including the type of car you drive and the level of cover required so engine size will be one of the factors considered. However, different engine sizes don’t need different types of insurance – it’s merely one of many sums that form part of the calculation.

10. Will my car’s transmission affect the cost of my insurance?

Again, this is one of the factors that might be taken into account. How much could vary among insurance providers. Eco-friendly cars won’t necessarily qualify for lower premiums.

Car insurance questions about snow tyres

11. Will buying winter tyres help me get cheap car insurance?

If you live in an area prone to heavy snowfall and ice, winter tyres could help make an accident less likely. But simply having them fitted isn’t enough to make a dent in the price of your policy. 

12. Do I have to declare a service plan when I buy car insurance?

A service plan, as well as a car’s service history, is irrelevant to insurance providers. But you will need to produce a valid MOT certificate to get car insurance.

Ultimately, there isn’t one simple answer to the question how can I find cheap car insurance, but if you’re looking for a quick and easy way to see how much money you might be able to save, start a quote with us today.

**Average premium from Premium Drivers Report - September 2017

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