When you enter your details online and ask for a quote, the car insurance rating system returns a price for your coverage determined by the answers you give to the questions asked. This is exactly the same process as if you walked into a high street brokers or telephoned a company you found in say yellow pages. The difference online is that you are doing the work filling in the form or researching the market for yourself, saving the insurance company the cost of employing people to process your application.
Online car insurance is therefore nearly always a cheaper method of purchasing coverage as nearly all online motor insurance companies offer an immediate discount to the basic insurance rates, of at least ten percent for purchasing this way. To get the cheapest cover then, it is necessary nowadays to spend some time online.
The art to obtaining cheaper car insurance is found in a combination of first identifying a set of policies or companies that suit your particular insurance cover needs and then adjusting the factors within the preferred policy to tailor the price of it to your pocket.
Different companies ask different questions to assess your risk, but all ask a basic set of questions called rating factors. Although rating factors vary from policy to policy, the standardised method of rating a vehicle according to its risk group (engine size and cost to repair) and a driver by his age and experience, apply almost universally. When looking for cheaper insurance always answer the questions asked truthfully, in order not to invalidate your cover.
Your answers to the standard rating factor and risk questions should always be the same, as things such as your age or the type of car, do not change.
Identifying a company which is right for you is of particular importance as it is not desirable to reduce coverages to save on price. Getting cheaper premiums is about negotiating a price for the level of cover you desire. For example, reducing your coverage from comprehensive to third party fire and theft may save you a lot of money up front, but will cost you dearly in most cases in the event of a claim, especially if you are at fault!
A good place to start, if you have the time, to get an indication of what you are likely to pay, is to visit a car insurance price comparison site. These websites compare rates and policies, often from hundreds of different insurance suppliers. Some online systems particularly these so called aggregator or price comparison sites are more often obliged to ask more questions, so getting a cheaper quote can be time consuming. This is because certain of the insurance companies on the panel require differing information about the driver or the car, in order to return the quote. This obviously takes a lot longer to complete the quotation and purchasing processes where sometimes hundreds of policies are involved, however the time spent is rewarded with a list of competing companies offering a variety of quotes, giving you a very good indication of what you are likely to have to pay. These may not be the cheapest quotes you will find online, but being presented with various offers and options is a starting point for identifying cheaper car insurance.
If you like a look of a particular policy that you have found on a price comparison website, you can often save money by visiting the company's own website and applying direct. In order to ensure you get the full benefits of cheaper cover it is often necessary to remove all cookies from your browser window, before visiting the car insurance provider direct.
It is also worth remembering that many of the cheaper car insurance companies do not have their motor insurance products for sale on the price comparison sites, and many make a point of this direct exclusivity, in their advertising campaigns. These so called direct car insurance companies are also able to offer large discounts for purchasing their insurance because they cut the costs of production of the policy by cutting out the costs of the middleman, in the form of a price comparison site fee or insurance broker commission. The commission savings these direct insurers make by conducting business this way can then be passed onto their customers as cheaper car insurance premiums.
Another area to explore if you have particular driving coverage needs or own a classic or expensive performance car, is the specialist car insurance market. This market is comprised of many specialist car or niche motor insurance schemes, often operated by much smaller companies who could specialise in, for example, a particular classic car make and model scheme, young inexperienced driver insurance, or drivers with convictions.
These specialist policies are often available at much cheaper prices than both the price comparison sites and the direct insurers because they have both the bulk buying power and mutuality of affinity groups, where these economies of scale can be passed on as cheaper car insurance premiums to the customer; and also benefit from the fact that where the risk is known and can be grouped, much more accurate and tailored risk pricing can be achieved. To identify a suitable specialist company simply search online for insurance for your vehicle type.
Once you have identified a few policies that are suitable for your personal driving requirements, there are certain adjustments that can be made within the quotation system that will reduce the premiums.
Many of the adjustments that online car insurance applications allow you to make, do not reduce your levels of cover but transfer some of the risk to yourself in the form of excesses. The excess is the amount that you personally have to bear the cost of in the event of a claim, before the insurance cover kicks in.
The higher the excess you are prepared to accept on a voluntary basis the cheaper the cost of the policy. This method of reducing premiums is fine if you are a careful driver and do not believe that you will ever have an at fault accident or claim. Higher excesses invariably mean small claims for bumps and scratches are avoided. A new type of car insurance called value insurance was recently introduced into the UK market by supermarket chain Tesco.
The concept of this insurance is an ultra high compulsory policy excess to deter all but the most serious claims; coupled with ultra low premiums, sometimes as much as a third of the competitors prices. Companies are able to offer this cheap coverage because claims are reduced and profits higher.
So in order to get cheap car insurance it is necessary to dedicate some time comparing policies, plans, schemes, covers and prices. Going direct or haggling on the phone can also sometimes produce spectacular price reductions, particularly as there are many promotional offers these days that are only available direct from the supplier. The more time you dedicate to exploring and researching various car insurance options the more likely it is that you will find much cheaper car insurance than you are currently paying!