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How I found a cheaper policy

When my car insurance renewal came through, I had another year of no claims bonus to add on to the eight years I already had. I expected the renewal to be slightly cheaper than what I paid before, considering I had had no accidents and no driving offences within that year. However, the renewal quote was almost £100 higher compared to what it was the year before. Usually, I will aim to stay with the same company in order to avoid having to spend time shopping around for a cheaper quote. This time I decided to look to see if I could find the insurance cheaper elsewhere as an extra £100 on top of the previous year's cost seemed to be too excessive.

Searching for Quotes.

I used the internet to search price comparison websites in order to find a cheaper quote. I used multiple price comparison sites including Compare the Market and Go Compare. I also searched insurance brokers who are not on price comparison sites such as Direct Line, and entered my details to get quotes from them too. It took me around 2 to 2 1/2 hours to complete my searches and retrieve suitable quotes.

Personal Details.

I am a single 33-year-old female, living in a town in East Anglia. I have three children and drive a 2007 Ford S Max. The car has seven seats and a 1.6L diesel engine. I have three children aged under 16 and am self-employed. The car is only used for social and domestic purposes, I didn't need cover for commuting or business use. I expected to be have been quoted cheaper car insurance compared to the renewal quote a year previously. I had the same car as I did when I last took out insurance and none of my personal details had changed.

What I Disliked About the Experience.

I find looking for car insurance are very tedious. I usually stick with the same insurer and allow them to automatically renew my policy in order to avoid having to spend the time searching online for a cheaper quote. I find it time-consuming and tedious having to keep entering my details into different websites in order to obtain quotes. Many of the websites require you to make an account by entering your email address and a password. I dislike doing this as I would rather view the quotes first to see whether there are any quotes returned that are suitable, before committing to registering and agreeing to receive emails and phone calls.

What I Liked.

Some of the websites allow you to enter your car registration details and it will automatically find the make and model of your car. This saves considerable time as I didn't have to enter the car details individually. The sites that allow you to do this are sites that I think I am more likely to go back to in future.

Buying the Insurance.

When looking for car insurance, my main criteria is a good price. I will select four or five of the cheapest quotes that are returned from various websites and look at those in closer detail. I insist on having legal expenses cover and a courtesy car in case of accidents or the need for repairs. I also aim to have key cover and windshield included. I will add the key cover and legal expenses and then compare the quotes again, as some companies charge more for these extras than others and what was the cheapest quote before may not be after they have been added on. I will also try adding an additional driver to see how this affects the quote. I have found that adding my 63-year-old dad to the policy results in a significant reduction in price for the quotes returned. Therefore my current insurance has myself as the main driver and my dad as an additional driver.

I would have preferred to have remained with my original insurer just for ease. The renewal cost was significantly higher than the amount I eventually paid for car insurance. I managed to save over £200 simply by using price comparison sites and searching for insurance brokers. This is a significant yearly saving. This is the first year I have not renewed automatically with my current insurer, previously I was under the assumption that as you are already a customer your loyalty would be rewarded with the cheapest quote they could provide. However, it seems that new customers tend to get the best deals so remaining with the same company year after year is often not the best choice if you wish to save money.

Conclusion.

Although I dislike having to spend time searching the internet and entering my details multiple times on various accounts, it will be something that I do every year in order to save money. I like that you can add or remove options to the cover such as breakdown cover, legal expenses, windscreen cover and other optional extras. You can tailor your insurance to best suit your needs which is better than just getting a generic quote from a broker. When I first started driving, in order to take out car insurance, you would have to visit the insurance brokers office or phone around giving your details over the phone multiple times in order to obtain a quote. I find it much better being able to enter your own details on the internet and tailor your insurance to best suit your needs. On the internet, you can also see companies that are offering deals or promotions for new customers. This could help you save on things such as home and mobile phone insurance when I've taken out the car insurance I got a discount on home contents insurance. Overall, I was very happy with the experience, the benefits far outweighed the negatives and I now have insurance that I am happy with, for a price that was very reasonable. In total it cost me £350 for insurance for the year which I paid off in full to avoid paying interest on top when paying monthly for the insurance. Some quotes returned were as high as £3700, my renewal quote from my current insurer at the time was £550. I was extremely pleased to have been able to save so much money on the insurance and felt the insurance was very cheap. When I cancelled the renewal I had with the previous insurer, they returned to me with an amended quote that was significantly cheaper than the original renewal cost. However, by this point, I had already committed to purchasing insurance elsewhere, and out of principle, I turned it down as I couldn't work out why they wouldn't have offered the insurance at that price to a current customer in the first place.

Carol Worthington

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