Top 10 tips to save on your motor insurance costs

  • Get the right level of cover – Fully comp or Third Party?

It used to be that third party fire and theft cover was always cheaper, but in recent years insurers have been happy to provide lower premiums for fully comprehensive as customers with fully comp cover seem to be a better risk and less likely to claim. So get more for less by getting quotes for fully comprehensive cover as well as TPFT.

 

  • Don’t leave it until the last minute – you will end up paying more!

Searching around for a new deal or switching car insurance 2-3 weeks before your due date results in average savings of £280.00 according to price comparison site comparethemarket.com The closer to the date you need cover to start before seeking out quotes results in the comparison sites and insurers dishing out more expensive quotes. Make sure you get your quotes in early. Many sites and insurers will guarantee the quote for 30 days.

 

  • Make sure you do compare and switch – never just let a policy auto renew.

There is no reward for being a loyal customer, not with insurers anyway. As you are already experiencing, new customers get all the best deals. The insurers rely on snagging you as a new customer with an inviting deal and then hoping you are too lazy to shop around at renewal time, by which time the premium will have increased and you end up locked in for another year.

 

  • Add another experienced driver on to the policy as a named driver

Adding a parent or other experienced driver onto your policy as a named driver can often lower premiums substantially, especially for younger drivers.

 

  • Pay up front – instalments = interest charged on top of your premium

Although it is easy to say, considering motor insurance costs for some people can be a big ticket purchase, if you can afford to take the hit all at once, consider paying your full premium in one hit rather than monthly. When you opt to pay by instalments you often find that the instalments are financed by a separate financial agreement, where interest is added and this typically adds another £60 to the total cost of the average premium.

 

  • Do you need all the extras?

Trimming back on some of the more common place “add-ons” like excess protection, guaranteed courtesy car cover can reduce premiums substantially. Also a cause close to our hearts is the added motor legal protection cover. This is typically £30 a year per vehicle. So a household with several cars could be buying this additional cover several times over. A free alternative can be found for motorists in England, Scotland & Wales., saving £30 per vehicle a year.

  • Set your excess higher to reduce the premium

An excess is the amount you agree to contribute towards the cost of a claim you make. So by increasing your excess amount, you are going to cost your insurer less in the event of a claim, but don’t get carried away. If you set your excess very high, such as over £1000.00, you could find yourself not being able to afford to pay for repairs to your vehicle after a collision

 

  • Cashback deals

Price comparison sites and other introducers get commission payments from insurers when you take out cover through them. So instead try some of the sites like www.quidco.com and www.topcashback.co.uk to see what cashback deals you can get. Make you search for some quotes via the usual price comparison sites first so that you know what the typical premium before cashback is.

  • Job titles make a difference

As strange as it sounds, the title or terminology you use can make a difference. You have to be honest though. So no point saying you are the chief executive of a multi-national company if you really work as a part time cleaner. But examples can be calling yourself “kitchen staff” when you work as a chef. The lovely people at moneysavinexpert.com have developed a tool to suggest job title changes which may lower your premium.

  • Haggle!

Yep indeed, it costs nothing to ask for some discount and often there is some “wiggle room” to be had, resulting in a lower premium.

What is Motor Legal Protection?

For motorists in the UK this is usually a separate policy you buy in addition to your main motor insurance policy. Motor Legal Protection (MLP) is also known as Legal Expenses Insurance (LEI) and the policies are used to assist you in recovering uninsured losses and expenses following a motor vehicle collision that was not your fault.

What is the cost?

They usually retail at around £30.00 per annum and often are restricted to only being used in connection with the vehicle you have insured. Households with more than one vehicle will often find that they are buying this additional cover several times over.

What are the drawbacks?

The policies can have restrictions on who can use them, causing households to have to buy the cover for each vehicle in the household. For example, a husband has his car insured and the wife is named as a driver on that vehicle. But the wife has her own car insured in her name with the husband as a named driver. If the husband purchased motor legal protection with his car insurance policy and the wife did not with her car insurance, the wife could not use the husband’s motor legal protection cover if she had an accident in her own vehicle and needed to claim back losses and expenses.

What is Motor Legal Protection used for?

Although you have your motor vehicle insured, often on a fully comprehensive basis, if you are involved in a collision that was not your fault, or where liability is disputed, you will often still end up with some losses and expenses that need to be claimed back. These are known as “uninsured losses” as they are not covered or insured under your motor insurance policy. This can include your policy excess which you have to contribute towards repairs or other expenses not covered  by your motor insurance policy, such as lost earnings, damaged items of clothing, travel expenses, hire car charges or personal injury.

What if the accident was my fault?

If you are the party at fault for a collision, say you fail to notice the vehicle in front has stopped and you collide with the rear of that vehicle, causing damage to the other vehicle and injury to the occupants, this would be a fault claim. In this situation, the other motorist would pursue you for payment of losses and compensation arising from the collision. This is not a situation in which your motor legal protection would become involved as this would be known as a “third party claim”. This is where you would involve your actual motor insurers. Even if the other party had to take court proceedings against you, your legal protection cover does not get used. Your motor insurers would appoint their lawyers to defend or deal with the claim and any court proceedings.

What if blame is disputed?

A common scenario, either because the drivers both blame each other for the collision (rightly or wrongly) or where the other motorist is being a little creative with the truth. Most motor legal protection policies will contain a clause that requires you to have “reasonable prospects of success” for your claim before they will appoint lawyers to fight your case or assist generally. Usually this means that you have a better than 50% chance of succeeding with your claim. As to how this will unfold will generally depend on what evidence you have to support your allegations, such as a witness who backs up your story, or dash camera footage or images taken at the scene which  could help to disprove the story of the other driver. This is why it is important to gather as much information and evidence at the scene as possible, rather than just take the “sorry mate, all my fault” apology from the other driver at the scene as drivers can often have a change of heart and deny accepting liability or simply change their story.

In conclusion

Motor Legal Protection / Legal Expenses Insurance is an “add-on” policy which runs alongside your motor insurance policy and is there to be used when you need to recover money for losses and compensation after an accident that was not your fault and, providing you have “reasonable prospects of success”. It is not there to “lawyer up” when you are at fault and the other party comes after you for their losses and damages. That is what your motor insurance cover is for.

Are there alternatives?

There are a few alternative ways of gaining access to legal services after a non-fault collision without having to pay for a legal expenses policy.

  • Union Membership. If you are a member of a union, you will often find that included within your membership benefits is access to legal services. Usually this would allow the appointment of a lawyer of their choosing and should avoid you seeing any deductions taken from your compensation.
  • Free Motor Legal – freemotorlegal.co.uk are a UK based free alternative to paying for motor legal protection. Members join free of charge and the membership lasts for life, so there is no need to renew each year like you traditionally have to with motor legal protection/ legal expenses insurance. There are no deductions taken from any awarded compensation and there is no limit on the number of vehicles you can have as the person is the member and the membership is not tied to your motor insurer.
  • Use a no win- no fee lawyer. This would avoid you having to pay any annual premium for a motor legal protection policy and if you had a non-fault accident, you would simply approach a no win no fee lawyer or claims management company to appoint a lawyer for you. Whilst you will save £30 a year from your insurance costs, there are a couple of major drawbacks to this method. i) The lawyer will most likely deduct a 25% “success fee” from your compensation settlement under the terms of the no win no fee agreement. ii) They will not help you if all you need to claim back is a policy excess or some other incidental expenses. For a no win no fee lawyer or claims management company to be interested in helping you, they will want you to have suffered from personal injury as that is the only way they can make any fees and apply a success fee. Taking 25% from a £100 policy excess is not going to keep them in business, so they will only deal with uninsured losses if there is also an injury claim involved.