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Car insurance laws uk


The mistake most drivers make is failing to shop around for the best premium and simply accepting an insurer's renewal quote, which is likely to be much higher.

Thanks to recent reforms to compensation payouts, motorists face a 10 per cent - around £50 - hike in their car insurance premiums.

Piling on more pain, from June, bill payers will also see an extra £10 added to bills thanks to a rise in insurance premium tax to 12 per cent.   

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Motoring costs: Use our ten-step plan to lower your car insurance costs

Therefore, it is now more important than ever to make sure you are not overpaying for your car insurance.

There are a handful of ways to help reduce your car insurance costs? Whether you are male or female, old or young, follow our ten steps to lower premiums. 

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  • Compare policies from more than 130 insurers with This is Money's car insurance finder powered by MoneySupermarket 

1. Shop around for the best deals

Savings of hundreds of pounds can be found if you shop around when you renew your cover.

Be careful though. When shopping around for car insurance, it's important to make sure that you are comparing like-for-like cover. Some policies may seem cheaper, but you may find you don't have the same level of cover when you have to make a claim. 

Use an online comparison service to do the hard work for you. Put in your details and check the prices that come up. You can alter the excess that you are willing to pay and the mileage you will drive and get new quotes.

Also check the insurers that don't feature in comparison sites, the big two are Direct Line and Aviva. This is Money's car insurance search is powered by MoneySupermarket and will search more than 130 insurers for you. Try it out here. 

Also check the insurers that don't feature in comparison sites, the big two are Direct Line and Aviva. It is also worth checking Admiral separately for its Multicar offers if you are looking to insure more than one vehicle. 

If you've been happy with the cover your existing provider has given until now but are unhappy with their renewal quote, let them know the best offer you have received from a rival insurer and ask them to at least match it.

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Boxing clever: Laura Keely's premium has been slashed

All drivers, especially the youngest, can also grab themselves potentially much cheaper car insurance by opting for a blackbox policy (also know as telematics policy) - these monitor your driving and reward those who are careful and don't get behind the wheel at dangerous times.

Laura Keely, right, opted to have a black box installed in the dashboard of her Vauxhall Corsa provided by Insurethebox. 

Previously, she paid £1,800 for a comprehensive policy. Twelve months on, her premiums dropped to just £1,000 — a 44 per cent fall.

2. Don't put everyone on your policy

Ensure that only regular drivers are named on the policy. You can always add someone for a few days when they really need to drive the car. 

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3. Protect that no-claims bonus

A long no-claims bonus is the single best way of cutting car insurance costs, so protect it. 

This may increase the premium by a few pounds, but this fades into insignificance against the potential loss of a 90 per cent discount on a premium of several hundred pounds. 

But the definition of a protected no-claims bonus can vary widely between insurers. 

Though accidents caused by another driver will normally have no impact on such a bonus, those caused by the insured could. The key is to always check the policy carefully. 

4. Increase your voluntary excess

Agreeing to pay more towards the cost of any accident repairs will bring down premiums. If you are not at fault in an accident, the excess can be recovered. Beware being tempted to allow it to rise too high, however, especially if you have a lower value car.

5. Secure your car

Fitting an approved alarm, immobiliser or tracking device can attract a discount of around 5 per cent. Many newer cars will come with these as standard, so make sure you check if you have them and then declare them.

EXTRA TRICKS TO CUT THE CAR INSURANCE BURDEN

Don't forget to haggle! The car insurance market is notoriously competitive. Once you've been on This Is Money's comparison and found your cheapest price (below), get on the phone and start bargaining!

Avoid paying monthly charges: Direct debit installments generally come hand-in-hand with high interest rates. 

An alternative is to borrow the money on a 0 per cent purchase credit card and then clear it within a year. [Check the best 0% purchase credit cards here]

Think outside the box: An accelerated no-claims bonus, such as the Bonus Accelerator from Admiral, could give you a year's no claims bonus after just 10 months.

Named drivers and friends and family: If you have previously been insured as an additional driver on another policy, see if you can transfer a no claims bonus to your own insurance coverage. 

Some insurers do this, including The AA and Direct Line  . Try for a discount by insuring two or more vehicles between friends or family members with the same firm.

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No claims discount: It could be worth paying extra to protect yours 

6. Do fewer miles

Reduced mileage equates to a greater saving.

For example, a reduction in annual mileage of 5,000 miles could save a typical 35-year-old driver about £50 a year in premiums. 

A cut of 10,000 miles a year could save more than £100.

But you must be honest about your annual mileage, as inaccuracy will jeopardise any claim.

Check your use cover - if you don't use your car to drive to work or for business - both things that increase your premium - you may be able to get a cheaper rate. 

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7. Think carefully about adding young drivers

Adding a young, inexperienced driver to your policy can be a false economy, especially if you have a large or higher powered vehicle. 

The premium will still be affected by the youngest driver and he or she may not have a no-claims bonus. Insurers have also been cracking down on fronting, where parents insure cars in their name for children to cut costs, so make sure if you are the policyholder on a car driven by your children that you are actually its main driver, or that you declare otherwise. 

  • Looking for an insurance policy for your teenager? Check out our guide to insuring a young driver

8. Watch out for insurance trap cars

If you decide to change your car, check with your insurer if the model will have a significant effect on the premium. 

Sporty cars can attract a high premium and often a slightly different model or smaller engine can make a big difference in your favour. It will also probably save you on petrol too! 

Be aware that Insurers will try to include administration fees for changes to a policy mid-term. This fee, usually between £25 and £50, will be added if you change a vehicle or your home address. 

However, you can ask for the fee to be waived if it is a minor adaptation, such as changing to a personalised registration number.

9. Remember what the garage is for

If your garage is full of junk, clear it out and use it for your car. 

Insurers like cars kept in garages overnight and this can dramatically cut your premium. 

Aside from the benefit of not having to scrape the ice off in winter, there is a higher risk of theft by keeping the car on the road, so keeping it in the garage will be reflected in your premium. 

10. Be a better driver and sign up to a blackbox

Blackbox policies, where the insurer installs a system in your car to monitor your driving, reward those who drive carefully. 

Officially called telematics, these check your speed, how aggressive you accelerate and brake and how cautiously you drive, and also whether you are on the road at perceived dangerous times - i.e. the early hours of the morning.

They can cut premiums substantially once you start proving you are a good driver. The biggest win is for those whose premiums are high, especially young drivers.

Some insurers even offer an up front discount if you take out a telematics policy.  

  • Read more on blackbox insurance and how it works

THE EU AND FEMALE INSURANCE 

The EU has ruled that finance companies can no longer consider your gender when deciding what to charge you.

This was triggered by a European Court of Justice ruling on a challenge by a Belgian consumer group. Its case was that the exemption for insurers contradicted the principle of gender equality.

The ban came into force on 21 December 2012, after fierce campaign for UK firms which argued that they were not discriminating between the sexes — but instead were basing their prices on statistics.

Their argument was that as women live longer they pay less for life insurance, and get cheaper car cover because they have fewer accidents. The move to so-called gender-neutral pricing will affect premiums for all types of insurance — including car, life, private medical and income cover.

Despite this, there is still a significant difference between the prices paid by by male and female drivers on average, which is currently almost £100. 

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Not sure about something?

  • About our car insurance
  • Buying your cover
  • About your payment
  • My policy documents
  • Using the car
  • The policy excess
  • No-claims discount
  • Security devices
  • Making a claim
  • Changing your cover

About our car insurance

Who underwrites AA Car Insurance?

We find the best car insurance deal for you by comparing quotes from our hand-picked group of insurers. The insurer who gives you the best value for money on your car insurance will be your underwriter.

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Buying your cover

Can I get motor insurance that starts right now?

Yes. When you buy online or over the phone your car insurance can start immediately.

You'll need a credit or debit card to pay either the full premium or an initial deposit if paying by monthly instalments.

If I don't buy straight away, how long is my quote valid for?

You can future date your quote by up to 60 days. The quoted price remains valid as long as your details remain unchanged.

Do AA Members get a discount on car insurance?

When you get a quote online, confirm that you are an AA Member. You could get a discount when you insure your car with us for the first time, and on subsequent renewals if you remain an AA Member.

My car has modifications – will they affect my insurance quote?

If your car has been modified we can give you an online quote for a maximum of two modifications from the following list:

  • Alloy Wheels.
  • Front Spoiler or Air Dam.
  • Locking Wheel Nuts.
  • Rear Roof Spoiler.
  • Rear Spoiler or Aerofoil.
  • Bull Bars.
  • Dual Control.
  • Hand Controls.

Modifications will affect the quote price, as they present a higher risk than original components.

If your car has more than two modifications, or the modification isn't listed, please call us on 0800 197 7178 – we may still be able to give you a quote.

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About your payment

Can I spread my payments and pay by monthly instalments?

Yes, you can pay by monthly instalments. We'll ask for an initial payment by debit or credit card and the rest of your payment will be made in 11 monthly instalments. Credit will be provided by Automobile Association Insurance Services Limited, and you must be over 18.

How secure is my online payment?

We keep your personal details and your credit or debit card information private and secure when you buy online. We do this by using secure server software that encrypts any information you give us. It takes the characters you enter and converts them into a secret code, which is then securely sent to us.

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My policy documents

How can I access my policy documents online?

Your policy documents are in your My AA account. See the My AA help page for advice on how to access them.

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Using the car

Can I drive abroad with my car insurance?

AA Car Insurance provides the same cover you get in the UK in any EU country for up to 90 days in a year. So as a comprehensive policyholder, you have comprehensive cover when you drive within the EU.

Depending on your insurer, and for an additional premium, you may be able to extend the 90-day period, and be insured in countries outside the EU.

Am I covered for towing caravans or trailers?

When towing a caravan or trailer, you are covered for the costs you are liable to pay if you cause damage to property, or injury or death to someone.

Your car insurance also covers a single-axle trailer, worth up to £500 and kept in a safe and roadworthy condition, while attached to your car. For example, if you have comprehensive insurance, your trailer will also be covered on a comprehensive basis, which includes accidental damage, fire and theft.

When do I need to select business use?

Select business use when you use your car to travel to various places in connection with your work, such as offices or factories. Business use is not required when you travel to a single permanent place of work.

If I do voluntary work, do I need to select business use?

When you only commute to and from one permanent place of voluntary work, then select 'Social, Domestic, Pleasure & Commuting' for the use of your car.

If you travel to more than one place of voluntary work, our panel of insurers has agreed that 'Social, Domestic, Pleasure & Commuting' is also sufficient cover and should be selected.

But if you transport goods or people as part of your voluntary work, then please call 0800 197 7178 for a quote.

Please note, we do not charge an administration fee if you call us to update your policy to show you now do voluntary work.

Our panel of insurers operates under the statement below, issued on the Association of British Insurers website.

"The insurer will insure their policyholders to carry out voluntary driving, that is, the use of a vehicle they own in connection with, or for the benefit of, charities, voluntary organisations, clubs or societies, where payment does not exceed the HMRC mileage rates in force at that time. This does not cover use for hire or reward or vehicles owned by, hired to or lent to the voluntary organisation."

Can I drive other cars?

Yes, our comprehensive policy allows you to drive other vehicles with third-party cover, unless it's specifically excluded by your insurer. If this is excluded, we'll state this when you get a quote. If you've already bought car insurance from us, check your certificate of motor insurance. There are conditions that apply to this benefit, so please view our Car Insurance Policy Booklet for more details.

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The policy excess

What is a policy excess?

An excess is the part of the costs of a claim for loss or damage to your car that you have to pay out of your own pocket. Your insurance will be cheaper if you agree to pay more of these costs yourself. There are two types of policy excess:

Compulsory excess – the insurer will decide how much you'll be asked to pay for each claim before you buy the motor insurance policy. Check that you are comfortable with how much you'll have to pay for each claim before you buy a car insurance policy.

Voluntary excess – the amount you'd be prepared to pay on top of the compulsory amount. The higher you go, the lower your premium.

Can I pay a voluntary excess?

Yes, you can pay a higher voluntary excess for when you make a claim, usually up to £500. Typically, you pay less for your car insurance if you select a higher voluntary excess.

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No-claims discount

What is a no-claims discount?

A no-claims discount is a reward for not making a claim on your motor insurance policy. If you do make a claim, your discount will normally be less at the next renewal if your insurance company cannot get their money back from the person responsible.

Where can I find proof of my no-claims discount?

The renewal or cancellation notice from your previous insurer will contain proof of your no-claims discount.

Can I protect my no-claims discount?

Yes, you can pay an additional premium to protect your no claims discount. Depending on your insurer, you can usually make two 'fault' claims in a 3- or 5-year period without affecting your no claims discount.

What is the AA Uninsured Driver Promise?

If you make a claim following an accident that is not your fault, and the driver of the other vehicle is not insured, you will not lose your no-claims discount or have to pay any excess.

We just ask you to tell us the other vehicle's make, model and valid registration number, so that we can identify the driver of the other vehicle.

Can a named driver earn no claims discount on my policy?

Yes, named drivers over 25 years can earn their own no claims discount to use on an AA policy in the future. See our page about named drivers.

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Security devices

What is a Thatcham security device?

The Motor Insurance Repair Research Centre tests car security products for insurers. It's better known as 'Thatcham' after the Berkshire town where it's based. Most insurers like these products and give you discounts if you get them for your car.

What is a tracking device?

The police can track a stolen car with an electronic signal sent by this bit of kit hidden in the car. Most cars that have this are found after they are stolen. You can pay up to 10% less for your motor insurance if your car has a tracking device.

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Making a claim

How do I make a car insurance claim?

Call our 24-hour claim line 0800 269 622.

Before you call, please see how to make a motor insurance claim.

Is a courtesy car included on my policy?

Yes, a courtesy car is available with comprehensive cover. Following an accident, you will be provided with another car while yours is undergoing repair.

When you buy comprehensive cover direct from us, you also get a courtesy car for a total loss claim, where the vehicle is written off or stolen and unrecovered, or for accidents occurring outside the UK.

Is windscreen cover included on my policy?

If you have comprehensive cover, then windscreen cover is included. We cover the windscreen, sunroof and the remaining windows. And your no claims discount is not affected by a windscreen claim.

A windscreen replacement is subject to the applicable excess, but there is no excess to pay on a windscreen repair.

You can check your windscreen replacement excess when you get a quote online. On the quote page a summary of your details includes a link to 'Excess details / policy terms'.

How can I get my windscreen repaired?

Call our 24-hour claim line 0800 269 622 and select option 2.

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Changing your cover

What information is needed to advise a change of vehicle?

Please call 0800 316 1193 and select option 1 to make any change to your policy.

If you have changed your vehicle, we'll need the same type of details as you provided for the previous model, such as registration number, market value and any modifications.

Can vehicles be added temporarily?

Usually yes – call us on 0800 316 1193 and ask to add a temporary additional vehicle (TAV). We'll need to know all the details of the model.

Allowing a TAV is subject to the current insurer accepting the risk. Test drives are not covered.

You can add a TAV from 1 day to 4 weeks, and a cover note will be issued.

We cannot offer insurance where a policy is already in place for the vehicle.

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Source


1. The switch from manual to autonomous cars 

IMPACT: Premiums to rise

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers believes that 75 per cent of all cars will be driverless by 2040, though the shift to autonomous cars is already taking place today with models from Tesla and Nissan featuring semi-autonomous modes.

Full fat autonomous models are expected to be here as soon as 2020, which will be a major landmark for the motoring network as human and computer-driven vehicles share the roads for the first time.

As a result, there remains a big question mark around what this will mean for the number of accidents we see on the roads and, therefore, whether it will make car insurance prices go up. 

While a full network of interconnected driverless vehicles may make driving safer and cause less accidents in the long-run, it remains to be seen how well the technology will fare on our roads when most cars still have people behind the wheel.

2. Who pays when there's an accident involving an autonomous car? 

IMPACT: Premiums to rise, in the short term

Driverless car technology is already causing headaches for insurers. Where does the blame lie when there’s no one behind the wheel of the car that causes the collision? 

The Department of Transport has suggested the introduction of dual insurance - this is deigned to cover the motorist when they are driving and also when the vehicle is in a driverless mode. If the car is in a fully autonomous setting when the impact occurs, the claim will be made against the manufacturer rather than the driver. 

Confused.com said this 'seems like a sensible and straightforward solution' but said it is likely to lead to more complex claims being made, which in hand will bump-up premiums in the short term while insurers try to grasp the concept and close loopholes.

3. More gadgets; more expensive insurance

IMPACT: Premiums to rise

Our vehicles are wired-up with more gadgets than ever before, and it comes at a price, says the comparing site.

Tech ranging from sat-navs and parking assistance cameras to wi-fi and inter-connectivity between vehicles isn't only making car more expensive, it's pushing our premiums up too.

And as in-car tech becomes more advanced, Confused.com said software malfunctions will inevitably require specialist repair work, which you’ll unlikely be able to fix at your local garage. 

Any damage of this kind could cost more to fix and, therefore, will be a higher cost claim to your insurer, even if the technological features are designed to improve road safety.

4. Finance bundles

IMPACT:  Premiums to fall

Finance is now the most popular form of paying for your car - around 85 per cent of all new registrations are secured through some sort of finance deal.

Motor finance packages are likely to expand - think of it like contract phones, where minutes, texts and sometimes insurance are all included.

Eventually, it’s likely that drivers will be able to pay for all of their motoring costs with one simple monthly payment, including their car insurance, fuel/electricity and ownership of the car itself. And this bundling is bound to drive-down costs.

5. Pay-as-you-drive to be more common 

IMPACT: Premiums to fall, for irregular drivers

We've covered 'pay-as-you-drive' motor insurance before, and Confused.com said it's likely to become more commonplace in the future as car ownership is replaced by short-term hire and vehicle sharing.

It means infrequent drivers won't be burdened with expensive annual premiums, especially those living in cities where public transport is more efficient to use.

6. Peer-to-peer insurance

IMPACT: Premiums to fall, for some (unless a major claims is made)

Confused.com predicts more peer-to-peer insurance models will creep onto the market in the next decade. 

At the most basic level, a group of drivers pay their insurance into a pool and any claims are paid from this fund, therefore cutting out the middle man and reducing costs. 

While it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, it could see some drivers paying less for their insurance.

7. Insurance WILL be fairer

IMPACT: Premiums to fall, if you're a safe driver

Telematics insurance policies are already making it cheaper for young drivers to be covered, but the trend will grow as cars becoming increasingly interconnected.

It will mean insures will be able to better monitor how people drive and providers will be able to assess your risk more accurately rather than making assumptions based on your age, gender and the car you drive. 

Of course, this means only safer drivers will reap the benefits of cheaper premiums.

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