Cheapest Car Insurance - Can The Internet Find It For You?
Nick Huckleberry Beak - A Potted History
Has the Internet really given us cheaper car insurance? Have websites, which none of us had even dreamt of 10 years ago, slashed the cost of our policies? Can companies such as confused.com, prudentplus.com or money supermarket really find us the best possible quotes?
The answer is: definitely. The cosy arrangements that insurers have with brokers working out of offices in the high Street are over. In real terms, premiums have dropped as a result; although it may not seem so to those, particularly young drivers, who may still have to pay four figure sums for their policies!
What hasn't helped is insurance premium tax. Introduced in 1994 at a relatively modest 2.5 percent it has gradually risen step-by-step and the latest rise was in 2017when it reached 12 percent. And unapologetic government spokesman pointed out that insurance is not subject to VAT and the standard VAT rate is 20 percent, so we are all getting a bargain. I doubt if most motorists would agree with that.
Insurance companies have found that the profits they make from premiums has fallen dramatically. This is why so many of them now make as much as they can from selling add-ons such as legal representation, windscreen cover or courtesy cars in the event of an accident. These add-ons are highly profitable and can often make an insurer more money than the premium itself generates.
For many drivers finding the cheapest quotes has become almost a sport. They'll sit on the price comparison sites, juggling about with their answers to the questions on the proposal form, and seeing what effect it has on their premiums. If they describe themselves as a plasterer rather than a builder will it be a few pounds cheaper? What if they put themselves down as a shop worker instead of a manageress or manager? If they offered to pay a large voluntary excess, would it cause the premium to fall substantially? If they had an accident, would they even be able to afford to pay that voluntary excess, on top of the compulsory one?
These bits of juggling, and many others, can sometimes make sizeable differences in the premium that will be charged.
Personally, I have what I believe is the best method of all. When I get a renewal quotation, I get on the telephone to the insurance company and tell them that I can't possibly afford to pay it, and I will be very sorry to leave them but I will have to get some quotes offer a price comparison engine. It is amazing how many times the person on the end of the line has come back to me with a premium reduction. Sometimes that single phone call has saved me over £100!
Getting automated quotations for your car insurance using a price comparison site is all very well; but sometimes speaking to a real live human being can save you a lot of money! So by all meansgo off to your favourite online car insurance comparison site and look for the cheapest possible quote; but see if your current insurer would be willing to beat it. Some will. You won't know however until you ask!