12 things you should do to lower your car insurance
I wouldn't recommend it, but sometimes taking a car to university is unavoidable. In fact, if you're a long way from home, it can be a little cheaper -and much more convenient - than taking a train. It's definitely easier than skateboarding a few hundred miles.
Car insurance, though, is a killer. In fact, going broke over it seems to be a rite of passage for young drivers. Your power is in your ability to barter - so follow the tips below.
Remember, insurance is all to do with risk. The less the insurance company sees you as a risk, the less your insurance will cost.
1. Confidence is key
Funnily enough, car insurance companies are pretty attached to the money they take from their customers. So if you approach them with a 'oh, well, um, please sir, can I have a little money off' attitude, you'll be conned into paying more.
Be assertive: you know you're paying too much, you know there's a better deal elsewhere and if they don't match it, you'll leave. Confidence goes a long way.
2. Twisting the truth doesn't hurt
Let me be explicit here: do not lie about your car, your named driver, how many miles you do, where you park and so on. Any lie of this kind is fraud. Yes, the illegal kind. Do not do it - if it catches up with you, as it inevitably will, it'll be hell.
What you can do, however, is pretend you've seen a better deal elsewhere and play them off the fictional offer. Tell them it's £100 cheaper at their biggest rival, mention you've seen a new-members offer online - whatever it is, use it to your advantage. It's all a bit of harmless bartering, after all.
3. Get them to press their button
...not as filthy as it sounds.
The voice on the end of the phone is sat in front of a computer. On that computer is a button that can automatically deduct between 5-10% off a policy - which is usually reserved for those customers who threaten to leave. Your aim is to talk them into clicking that button and getting that extra discount.
4. Agree to a tracking box (telematics)
Fiiiiiine. And yes, we know it's not for everyone - they're controversial and have their haterz, but they save a lot of people money.
Have a tracking box attached to your car and it'll send information to your insurer via satellite about how you drive, taking into account your speed, braking, acceleration, cornering, the time you drive and so forth. If your driving is good, it can lower your premium. In fact, specialist telematics insurance policies exist for those drivers prepared to pay according to how well they drive.
5. Take an extra course
Not all licenses are equal, at least, not in the eyes of insurance companies.
Take a few extra lessons after getting your license and you'll earn a 'Pass Plus' qualification which will cut your quote with many companies.
This said, it costs around £140 - 180 (though your council might be able to help you with a discount) and not every insurer recognises it. If you're wondering what impact it'll have on your quote and whether it'll pay for itself, ask the company you're thinking of going with.
6. The internet will let you down
Disappointing, I know. But don't rely purely on comparison sites or online quotes: they give ballpark figures. You'll need to call up a company and barter with someone if you really want to save.
7. Find a decent parking spot
Insurance is not just about the risk of you as a driver, but the risk of your car being damaged or stolen. If your place has a garage, or off-street parking, use it!
8. Give comprehensive insurance love too
Insurance tends to be thought of as so: third party = cheapest, comprehensive = expensive (although probably what you actually need).
Weirdly, though, this isn't always the case. Insurers sometimes see those who go for third-party insurance as a higher risk group, which bumps the premium up. The rule? Always get a quote for third-party AND comprehensive.
9. Add a parent as an occasional driver
....provided they are, of course (see the point about not lying, above).
If your parent is a good driver who uses your car every now and then, add them to your policy - having another drive with a clean license on the account can lower the premium.
10. Try your local broker
...because it's not just the big names who offer the best deals and they'll work hard for your custom.
11. Know your claims inside out
...I know, super boring. But at the risk of repeating ourselves: insurance is all about risk.
An insurance company will assume certain things about how you drive, based on how long you've been driving and your age. Show them you're different: know your claim history inside out, know your driving habits and show yourself to be sensible driver. You're trying to present yourself as a no-risk driver, after all.
12. Fit a security device
The safer your car, the less chance of it being stolen. The less likely it is to be stolen, the less you'll pay.