Motor Insurance

The Basics Of Motor Insurance In The UK

A car insurer is shown filling out a car accident report

Insurance companies take a number of factors into account before pricing your motor insurance policy. These include your age, profession, postcode, how often you use the car and your driving experience (including any previous accidents). In this article, we look at:

  • How to get cheaper motor insurance
  • Finding out the insurance group of your car
  • The cheapest cars to insure
  • Driving another car on your motor insurance

How can I get cheap car insurance?

The single most important way to get cheap motor insurance is to shop around before your pre-existing policy comes to an end. The best way to do so is by the use of an online price comparison site, always checking you are comparing like-for-like, and that each policy offers the same level of cover. If you find the same cover at a cheaper price, it might be worth contacting your present insurer to see if they will match the quote you’ve been given.

Adding other drivers to your policy  increases your insurance premiums

Another way to reduce the price of your motor insurance is to increase the amount of excess (your financial contribution to any claim). Adding other drivers to your policy can increase your motor insurance premiums especially if they are young and/or inexperienced drivers.

Young and/or inexperienced drivers can often be penalised by motor insurance companies with higher premiums. Voluntary signing up to blackbox policies (also known as telematics) can prove to insurers they are careful drivers and bring their motor insurance down.

A car insurer is shown assessing vehicle damage for motor insurance purposes

Finally, to protect your car from theft, keeping it in a garage or the installation of devices like alarms and immobilisers can also reduce how much your motor insurance costs.

What insurance group is my car?

Administered by the vehicle testing centre Thatcham and set by the Group Rating Panels, all cars on the road in the UK are assigned to a car insurance group. These groups go from 1 (the cheapest to insure) to 50 (the most costly). Factors like cost of damage/replacement parts; repair costs/times; the value of new cars; the vehicle’s performance and safety/security features are all taken into account when allocating a car to an insurance group.

Questions about UK car insurance:

How much is UK car insurance?

The average cost of insuring a car in the UK is £470 per annum, according to the Association of British Insurers published figures in 2018. This can vary depending on the class and age of the vehicle, the age and driving record of the primary insured person and the type of motor insurance policy which the driver has subscribed to. In order to get the best possible price it is advisable to shop around before you purchase car insurance in the UK.

How do you get cheaper car insurance?

There are a number of methods you can use to lower your car insurance costs, such as shopping around different insurance companies, obtaining multiple quotes and using a car which belongs to a lower insurance group. In addition you can ask for a higher deductible when taking out a policy, limit your mileage, install a tracker that the insurance company can use to monitor your driving and use the same insurance company that you use for home insurance. Many vehicle insurance companies in the UK offer incentives and special deals if you switch your insurance to their company.

Are older cars cheaper to insure in the UK?

Generally speaking older cars are cheaper to insure in the UK but this is not always the case. The make and model is much more likely to lower the cost than the cars age. For example, a car may be 15 years old but if it is a Rolls Royce or high-end 4×4 it may not be so cheap to insure, whereas a two year old Nissan Micra may have a smaller premium. Older cars can also be prone to problems and this may also affect the car insurance quote you receive.

What is the cheapest car to insure?

When purchasing a new or used car, choosing a vehicle from a lower insurance group can drastically affect the price of insurance cover. Some of the cheapest models to insure are from groups 1 and 2 such as:

  • Nissan Micra
  • Volkswagon Polo
  • Skoda Citigo
  • Ford Ka+
  • Hyunda i10
  • Vauxhall Corsa Hatchback
  • Ford Fiesta
  • SEAT Ibiza
  • Renault Twingo
  • Toyota Yaris

Can I drive another car on my motor insurance?

Comprehensive motor insurance used to include DOC (Driving Other Cars) cover as a standard part of the policy, but this is becoming rarer. To check whether you’re insured to drive someone else’s vehicle, you should check the terms and conditions of your policy very carefully. It might be included but as third party cover only.

If it isn’t included, you could take out temporary (or short-term) cover on the day it is needed. If you’ll be driving another person’s car regularly, they could add you to their policy as a named or designated driver.

About the author

Megan Walsh

Megan, a former employee of over 20 years in the insurance industry, is devoted to sharing her valuable insights on familymoney.co.uk

Apart from her interest in insurance, Megan also enjoys painting, gardening and keeping up with current affairs.

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