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While average petrol prices have fallen below 175p per litre for the first time since June, this has done little to ease the squeeze on wallets while living costs spiral. And some outgoings, like car insurance, remain an unavoidable expense. However, with effective planning and some tips from the experts, it’s possible to slash costs by as much as 20 percent, according to an insurance broker.
Gerry Bucke, general manager at Adrian Flux, said: “Car insurance is one of the outgoings people are still going to have to make regardless of how tight for money they are because if not, they’ll be breaking the law,”
“The job of a broker is to not only find the most appropriate cover but also to provide the best-value-for-money insurance available. By working with a panel of insurers we do the shopping about for you so you don’t have to.”
However, he continued: “Our clerks are experts in finding savings that people wouldn’t be able to make by pumping information into a computer, so we’re happy to pass some of this knowledge on to help at a time when people need all the help they can get in cutting costs.”
Here are eight expert tips to “save hundreds of pounds” when renewing motor insurance.
The ‘sweet spot’ is larger than you think when renewing insurance
Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis has previously indicated that 21 days before renewal is the ‘sweet spot’ to get a quote, and Mr Bucke confirms this. However, if that’s missed, there’s no need to panic.
Mr Bucke said: “A policy taken out over five days before your existing one expires can still cut costs by anything up to 20 percent – in a few special cases even doing this just 24 hours before you need to insure your vehicle can still have benefits.”
Get on the electoral roll and make sure it’s at the address you live at
Being on the electoral roll helps to improve credit scores and, in turn, can save people money.
Mr Bucke said: “Insurers view this as a sign of stability and a better rating will prove that you will be able to meet your repayments, especially as monthly ones will be the only option for many at the moment to help spread outgoings.”
Mr Bucke advises people not to list a relative’s address either, a trick some people try to use, if it’s not where they actually live.
Mr Bucke said: “While it will match the surname to yours it won’t match the full name and will be immediately flagged and either loaded with extra cost or not quoted at all.”
Use apps and sites to get tips on how to improve credit scores
According to Mr Bucke, there is “at least a 50 percent difference in the frequency” between claims involving people with a good or poor credit score.
He said: “The assumption is that good credit means you’re likely to be wealthier, live in a nicer area, can keep your car roadworthy and have no need to claim for minor bumps as could afford any repairs.
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“Those with a poor score are, in general, perceived to be the opposite. So get on those apps and sites and use the tips you’re given to get that score bumped up.”
Provide your driving licence number when doing an online quote
According to Mr Bucke, insurers have noticed the drivers who give their driving licence number are trustworthy and claim less so they “immediately” discount their premium because they are deemed as lower risk.
Mr Bucke said: “It’s a really simple money-saving trick but can save up to five percent in some cases so is well worth doing at a time when every penny matters.”
Don’t forget anything – the policy will cost more if things are missed
It’s important to ensure all information provided is absolutely accurate to avoid having to pay a fee.
Mr Bucke said: “Claims, accidents – even if it was not your fault, make sure it’s stated. Insurers have access to data to confirm and check what you say. If you forget anything your rate will get loaded more than if you had actually mentioned it in the first place.
“Some insurers won’t even quote if your details don’t match the data they can access while others will charge 25 to 50 percent extra if you’re forgetful or, worse still, economical with the truth.”
Aggregators may save time but they don’t always save money
While online comparison sites, known as aggregators, may appear to save time, they may not always provide the best deal.
Mr Bucke said: “What many people aren’t aware of is that it’s always worth phoning a few insurers or brokers who are not on the [aggregators], like ourselves – even if you’ve got a quote online.
“Aggregators charge firms £60-80 on average for a sale via them, some brokers and direct insurers can simply pass this saving directly onto you.”
It pays to be kind when getting a quote over the phone
Mr Bucke said: “Insurance sales clerks have the power to discount people who they like and treat them with respect on the phone. When it comes to cover, it really does pay to be kind.”
Simply being polite could save people from £10 to 20 percent of the total cost, according to Mr Bucke.
Take your time
It’s important to plan and organise car insurance in advance to prevent any costly mistakes – and enable more time to source the best quote.
Mr Bucke said: “If you give yourself more time on the phone when calling an insurer or broker to get a quote, the clerk won’t be pushed into giving you a price either. They can take their time to get a discount for you, speak to managers for further discounts or contact underwriters for off-screen deals that can be less expensive.
“Calling anytime after 10am on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday is also the best time as it avoids peak periods for incoming calls. Oh, and remember to be super nice to whoever you speak to – the final price of your policy is in their hands.”
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