Keeping a car on the road is majorly expensive. TheJournal.ie has some tips and tricks to help put some money back in your pocket.
While petrol remains the largest annual car-related outlay, there is only so much that you can do to reduce this, barring leaving the car at home or changing where you live/work/have to travel to.
Bringing up the rear is car insurance. A legal requirement, the price of premiums for females are set to rise due to gender equalization changes.
In addition to this, penalty points could soon become even more costly with insurers set to be given details of what drivers did to get them.
But never fear, TheJournal.ie has compiled a bumper list of tips and tricks to help you cut your car insurance premium.
Know your car
How often do you actually think about your choice of car? Do you really need that saloon with the two litre engine? If the answer to this is ‘no’ (or even ‘I’m not sure’), you should seriously consider downsizing.
Not only will you most likely get a newer model hatchback which may keep the NCT at bay for another couple of years, the smaller engine should help reduce the cost of insurance.
It’s also worth keeping up to date on what the value of your car is. For most people, it’s the price they paid for it and this becomes the figure that remains on their insurance policy forevermore. As the years pass, your car will be worth less.
Overvaluing your car will do little to help you should you claim, as the make and model will most likely be checked for the current market value. The end result is an increased premium and no payback.
Another handy price-related tip is to avoid round figures when valuing your car. If, for example, you’re told it’s worth R155 900, put down R154 995. While R5 won’t make a difference to your pocket in the event of a crash, it could put you in a completely different price bracket and with it, a lower annual premium.
Do you know how many kilometers/miles you traveled in January? Multiply it by 12 and check if the amount you specified when you last got car insurance makes sense. If not, update it. It may save you money.
Keeping your car in a roadworthy condition is a must, but are there any safety devices that could be saving you money? Does your car have an immobiliser and, if so, does your insurer know about it? Have you moved house, updated your address on your policy but forgot to mention that you now have a driveway and no longer park on the street?
More and more cars – including second-hand cars – now come with some additional extras. Are any still applicable to your car. If you got free breakdown insurance for a set period of time, make sure you don’t end up paying for it twice as part of your premium.
Know the law
In addition to incurring an up-front payment, penalty points are likely to impact your premium for however long they remain on your license.
The first step to avoiding penalty points is to know what will result in them. In that regard, the Road Safety Authority have a complete listing.
Also, while it’s a legal requirement to make your insurance company aware of any points you have, make sure to also alert them as soon as they are removed from your license. Hopefully your premium will drop as a result.
Where speeding is concerned, watch out for Speed over distance camera’s and speed traps
Know how your premium is calculated
When was the last time that you asked your insurer what you could do to reduce your insurance?
Chances are that the person on the other end of the line is staring at a list of options, all of which have some impact on what the final car insurance premium will be. Ask them what they are.
While it’s usually cheaper to complete your car insurance application online, ring them first to get all the information you need.
Who is your house and contents insurance with? If you don’t know, find out. If the same company also sells car insurance, chances are getting your car insurance with them will save you some money.
If you’re a first time driver it’s worth looking at value type products which tend to remove features such as the no claims bonus discount. As a first time driver you won’t have a no claims bonus to protect so why pay for it? AA value products, for example, offers savings of up to 20 per cent, depending on what you are willing to cut.
It’s also worth saying no to the option that allows your policy to automatically renew. What you gain in convenience you’re likely to lose in financial terms. When it’s due for renewal take the time to do a bit of shopping around.
If your occupation isn’t listed when taking out your policy, don’t just pick anything. Some occupations are more ‘expensive’ than others, so give your insurer a ring to make sure you pick the option that most closely reflects your job.
Don’t forget the hypotheticals
Would it be cheaper if I became a named driver on someone else’s policy? What if I add my wife/husband to my policy? What will it cost if I don’t have open insurance on my car?
Ask for prices before and after, and see which combination makes the best financial sense.
Use the internet for more than the quote
Before going straight to the comparison sites, check out the wealth of information that the web has to offer. The National Consumer Agency, for example, have a number of in-depth guides which relate to car insurance.
What other tips do you have? Let us know in the comments.