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In the UK motor insurance is a legal requirement. It is against the law if you use (or permit to be used) a motor vehicle on the public highway without third party insurance - to quote the Road Traffic Act.
I have been in this business for some 15 years now and I realised a long time ago that if this law should ever change I'd be out of a job!
Motor insurers continually get bad press. Quite simply for every 100 satisfied customers there will always be a few disgruntled ones - and it's those few that you hear about because it's more interesting to the media.
In my opinion if you follow these few basic rules, you will not go far wrong!
A) ALWAYS tell the truth. You may save a few quid by telling fibs but you may as well not bother insuring your car at all if you've told porkies.
B) DO NOT make assumptions. Just because you have comprehensive cover this DOES NOT mean that you're covered to drive any car! In fact, you're just as likely to be able to drive any other car (that is not owned or registered to you) on a third party fire and theft or third party policy. Insurers can (and do) exclude this extra cover on policies - usually because you're under 25 years old or because of your occupation (taxi drivers, mechanics, couriers etc will not usually be granted this extension. If you need a particular extension on your policy ASK for it!
C) ALWAYS shop around for your insurance. A great way of doing this is to visit 'HELP INSURE ME' at www.helpinsureme.co.uk. This site contains links to the vast majority of insurers and also tells you briefly what they will and what they won't quote on.
D) DO NOT cancel your policy mid-term if you've changed your car. ALWAYS ring the company you're with first and get a quote from them to uograde your policy. Cancelling your insurance part way through the policy will cost you money (for example, if you have had 6 months cover you can expect to get only 3 months premium back).
E) FIND OUT what the charges are if you change your policy etc. Some insurance brokers such as Sureterm for example charge a staggering £50.00 if you simply move address, or change the registration number of your car!
F) REMEMBER that your details supplied to an insurer generate the premium - your premium should not generate your details. In other words, do not manipulate your information in order to get a cheaper quote - YOU WILL BE FOUND OUT! This is what's called 'obtaining insurance by deception' and can lead to prosecution.
G) IF you own a sports or performance car, or one that is worth over £15,000 consider fitting an immobiliser to your car. Some insurers won't offer a quote unless it's immobilised and so by not having one you're narrowing your market place.
Moving on a little, I'm going to explain here why insurers ask certain seemingly 'irrelevent' questions - and the effect your answer may have on your quotes...
A) "Are you Married, Widowed, Divorced or single..." Some insurers give bigger discounts if you are married (rather than any of the other categories) because you're supposed to have settled down and be more responsible (!)
B) "The postcode of where the vehicle is kept" affects the premium greatly. If your car is kept on the street in London you will pay more than if it's kept on a similar street in a smaller city, town or village. This is because the risk of the car being hit, stolen, set alight, stolen or involved in an accident is much higher in an inner-city. Prices also vary from inner-city to inner-city.
C) The question "Are there any other cars in your household" can work both ways. If you have a young driver on your policy and you have access to more than vehicle, the insurers will assume that the young driver has a greater access to the proposed vehicle than if there was only one car in the household. On the other hand, if there are no young drivers you may get a '2nd car' discount or an 'introductory no claims discount' if there have been no accidents/claims on the first vehicle. These discounts are usually available to insured only or insured & spouse policies only, so bear this in mind when getting quotes.
D) "Have there been any non-fault accidents" - yes it's true I'm afraid, if you have had a non-fault accident (where a full recovery of any losses has been made from the other person) your premium could be affected. This is because insurers have statistics to show that if you have had a non-fault incident you are more likely to have a further (and possibly fault) accident than if no incidents have occurred at all. Non-fault incidents MUST be disclosed or your policy might not protect you.
E) "Modifications" can affect your policy even if they do not effect the car's performance. This is because your car may appear more attractive to potential thieves if it looks different from the standard specification. Some insurers will not quote on modified cars, some will increase the premium accordingly and with others it may be OK - but you MUST tell them or your policy may be invalid.
F) "Convictions" can increase your premium, and yes, fixed penalty offences ARE convictions and must be notified to your insurer. You may lose any introductory no claims discounts at renewal if you pick up any convictions during the year and your premium could double as a result - BEWARE!
Anything else you want to know about this topic, please leave me a message in my guestbook..
I might take a look at that site as we bought a new car recently and have been with the same insurer for ever, but its due for renewal. I was in insurance myself for years. Interestingly for the last week, someone whose name I do not recognise has been using my name to obtain motor insurance quotations..I dont see the point myself but there you are..