Comparing Car Insurance: Essential Tips

Car with collision damageDisclosure: I received payment for this article from Tesco Car Insurance.

According to the AA, the average cost of comprehensive car insurance rose by 29.9% in the year to 30th September 2010. Young drivers got hit even harder – the average cost of insurance for drivers aged between 17 and 22 rose by 51%.

Given the scale of these price increases, it is no wonder that drivers are more focused than ever on finding the cheapest car insurance, which usually means looking online.

Although it is important to save money in these difficult times, it is also important to ensure you are getting good quality cover that includes all of the features you need.

Not all car insurance is created equal and some companies charge extra for services that others provide as standard – making it more difficult than you expect to do direct price comparisons.

Here are a few examples of insurance features you may or may not need – and which your insurance company may or may not provide as standard.

Courtesy Car

For some car drivers, being left without a car unexpectedly would cause huge problems – perhaps threatening their job security or leaving them in trouble with childcare arrangements. Some drivers, on the other hand, only use their car once or twice a week and can easily manage for a week or two without it.

A courtesy car is standard on some car insurance policies and an option on others. Make sure you know what you are getting and whether it will cost you extra.

European Cover

All UK comprehensive car insurance includes the minimum legal cover required to drive in other EU countries. That means third party only insurance. In case you are not sure, third party only insurance only provides cover to meet your legal responsibilities to other drivers – you don’t get any cover at all for your car. If your car is stolen – no cover. It you cause an accident, your car will not be covered – only the other driver’s.

If you are planning to drive abroad in your car, it is very important to ask your insurance company what level of cover they provide for European use – third party only or comprehensive? Some companies do offer comprehensive cover while abroad, some will charge extra to provide this service.

I know that the first time I drove abroad, I rang up my insurance company before I left and asked if I had cover to drive in Europe. They said yes, so I thought no more about it. It was only after I came back that I discovered that I had only had third party only cover while I was abroad. Fortunately, I was not involved in an accident, but if I had been, I could have had a nasty shock.

Protected No Claims Discounts

Many motorists choose to protect their no claims discount. This means that even if you make a claim, your NCD will not be affected. However, what you may not realise is that although your NCD is protected, your premium is not and may still rise if you have made a claim in the preceding year.

Comparing Car Insurance Policies

Car insurance is fairly simple at first glance, but there are many small variations between the policies offered by different insurance companies.

When shopping around for the best price, it is important to compare the details of your cover, too. The cheapest insurance policy may not be cheapest once you have added on the cost of all the extras you need.

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