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Should You Always Choose the Cheapest Car Insurance?

Thu, 14/12/2017
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When comparing car insurance quotes, it may be tempting to simply go with the cheapest option. However, while cost is an important factor, you need to make sure that you are buying the right cover for you. The best cover may not always be the cheapest option, but it is far better to pay a little extra than to go for the cheapest quote and find that it falls short of what you need when you make a claim. A cheaper quote might not provide all the cover you need.

In order to choose the right level of cover for you, you need to understand all of the available options and add-ons. There are several things you should consider before committing to a quote. Here is a list of some of the options you will face when buying car insurance, to help you strike the right balance between affordability and practicality.

What level of cover do you need?

The three levels of cover are third party; third party, fire and theft; and fully comprehensive. Third party car insurance covers damage to other people’s property and injuries to other people, but not damage or theft of your own car. This is the lowest level of cover, and might be right for you if your car is of a low value, if you live in a high-risk crime area, or if you don’t have a no claims bonus.

Third party, fire and theft is similar, but it also covers repairs or replacements if your car is stolen or sustains fire damage.

Fully comprehensive is the highest level of cover, and it covers damage to your own car even if the accident was your fault. With this level of cover, you can claim for repairs to damage sustained in an accident, accidental damage, and vandalism.

While the lower levels of cover might be cheaper, fully comprehensive cover will provide you with much more protection and peace of mind if the worst should happen.

What does your policy cover?

Once you’ve decided on your level of cover, there are more factors to investigate. Not all fully comprehensive policies are the same, so it’s important to take a closer look to see exactly what your policy will cover. Some will come as standard depending on your insurer and the level of cover you choose, while some may be add-ons you need to request. Extras that may or may not be covered in your policy include:

  • Windscreen repair
  • Loss or theft of keys
  • Cover for personal belongings inside the car (such as bags and CDs)
  • Car stereo, speakers or GPS cover
  • Breakdown cover
  • Legal expenses
  • Vehicle recovery
  • Courtesy car while yours is being repaired
  • Adding named drivers to your policy
  • Cover when driving other people’s cars
  • Protected no claims discount
  • Accident transport to take you from the scene of an accident if your vehicle cannot be moved
  • Hotel expenses
  • Driving abroad

Many of these extras may not apply to you – for example, you may not need to use your car abroad, or you may be happy to go without the promise of having your hotel expenses paid if you only drive locally. Choosing a policy that doesn’t offer these extras might work out cheaper for you. However, if any of them sound like they are important or even essential to you, it is worth researching to make sure you find a policy that fits your needs, even if it’s cheaper to choose a policy without those little extras.

How much excess do you want to pay?

Excess is made up of two parts – compulsory excess set by your insurance company, and voluntary excess of an amount you choose yourself. Offering to pay a higher voluntary excess is one way you could reduce the cost of your insurance policy. However, it’s important to think practically about what you can afford, because if you make a claim you will need to pay the amount of excess you chose when you took out your policy. If you choose a very high voluntary excess for the sake of reducing your premiums, you may find this is a false economy if you have to make a claim. Find out more about car insurance excess in our guide, Car Insurance Excess Explained.

The best cover for your personal circumstances may or may not be the cheapest policy available, but when you are spending money on an insurance policy it’s important to get it right. Don’t mistake a cheap policy for a good policy. On the other hand, if you find a policy that gives you all the cover you need and it comes at a good price, you’ll have the best of both worlds.

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