There are two main ways to reduce the cost of car insurance.  One is to remove or reduce as many of the risk factors associated with insuring you to drive as possible.  Car insurance providers like Santander calculate your premium based on a risk assessment.  The other method of achieving savings on your premium, and in fact an area that is becoming increasingly important, is the way that you buy your car insurance – here we will take a look at some of these issues.

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) recently published some eye-opening research.  The ABI found that comparing the offers from as few as five different car insurance providers can knock about 35% off the cost of your renewal premium.  This means that you need to shop around each time the renewal date for your policy approaches.  This fact is backed up by some additional research from Consumer Intelligence put out in August 2010.  Consumer Intelligence found that 50% of car insurance customers could save around £185 by switching providers.

The significant sums mentioned mean that this is definitely not an area to be ignored.  Thanks to the rise of comparison websites, the task of shopping around is now easier than ever.  However, this is not the only way that the internet can save you money when it comes to car insurance.

Simply applying online can reduce the cost of your car insurance policy.  Admin costs are lower for the insurer, as much of the process is automated, and some of these savings are passed on to you the customer.  Furthermore, you can now find online what are known as cashback websites, third parties who refer business to car insurers.  These companies are awarded a finder’s fee from the insurance provider, some of which they will share with you as an incentive for putting your business through in this way.  One note of caution is to check the provisions for receiving the cashback, as in many cases the payment will not arrive until some time after the new car insurance policy commences.

Beware of paying for your car insurance in monthly instalments.  It is common practice for the car insurer to in effect offer you a loan to cover the yearly premium payment when a monthly instalment plan is worked out.  Like pretty much all loans, the cost of the instalment plan is then bolstered by interest charges.  Car insurance is a competitive industry however, so a monthly payment plan is not always penalised in this way.  Just make sure that you check the difference between a lump sum annual payment and any alternatives offered.  It often makes sense to use another, cheaper form of credit – like a new 0% on purchases credit card – to make the one off annual payment rather than opting for more expensive instalments.

Other methods such as opting for a higher voluntary excess will also keep the cost of your car insurance premium down, but any savings made have to be carefully balanced against the potential extra cost involved in making a claim.

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