OPINION: How to save £290 on your car insurance
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Everywhere you look, prices are rising and there’s one group of people on the receiving end of an almost constant financial hammering: the motorist.
In addition to a surge in used car prices, which have risen by 30pc in a year, and more expensive vehicle repairs (an 11pc hike since June 2021), last week the RAC reported that average fuel costs had soared to 170p a litre for unleaded and 181p for diesel. Those brave (or rich) enough to venture onto a motorway will discover that pump prices are even higher, pushing 186p and 197p respectively for a litre of unleaded or diesel.
The cost of fuel is one of the most talked-about subjects in British society, almost ranking alongside discussions regarding our variable weather. And with good reason: at present, the level of tax slapped on fuel (around 46pc of the total) means the British car driver must endure the world’s seventh-highest fuel cost.
Yet if fuel prices are a constant bugbear, the motorist’s largest annual fixed cost – car insurance – offers little financial respite, especially if you’re aged 50 and above.
Since January, drivers aged 50 and over have witnessed a 6.2pc rise in insurance costs, the highest increase impacting any age group. Furthermore, older motorists across East Anglia now pay an average of £656.14 for annual insurance cover, a staggering 22pc more than drivers in the South West.
This is partly due to new rules introduced in January which effectively banned insurers from offering cut-price car insurance deals to new customers that are cheaper than those available to their existing customers.
However, there’s still an enormous variance in car insurance costs. To take advantage of these often huge discrepancies, motorists are advised to shop around.
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Ken Carter, head of insurance services at personal finance website Moneymapp.com says: “Despite the new rules, motorists can still save up to £290 on their car insurance when using the insurance comparison tool on our website.
“January’s legislation means that individual insurers can no longer sweeten introductory deals to attract new customers if the same deals are not available to existing clients. Nevertheless, significant differences remain between what insurers charge for cover.
“The technology embedded within the website enables us to compare insurance costs levied by more than 100 insurers and present them to motorists who usually have an opportunity to make enormous savings.”
The savings are genuinely good news for the demographic most likely to benefit from lower motoring costs, namely those aged 50 and over. To date, the insurance comparison service has attracted more than three million users and has achieved a coveted ‘Excellent’ rating on Trustpilot.
The tool is also remarkably easy to use. Simply type in your car registration number on the Moneymapp.com website, add a few personal details, including driving history and information regarding vehicle usage, choose the level of cover you require and the technology behind the scenes goes to work. Within a few minutes you’re presented with a clear, no-nonsense summary of car insurance costs. Naturally, the decision to proceed or request further information remains in the motorist’s hands.
The simplicity and speed of this service could help millions of drivers who currently overpay for their insurance, including around 16 million motorists who allow their car insurance policy to ‘auto renew’ every year – an expensive oversight which costs an estimated £830 million annually, or almost £52 each.
Anecdotal evidence suggests that as inflation takes root, motorists are making fewer journeys, buying slightly less fuel, driving more carefully and (a personal favourite) ‘coasting’ where road conditions allow in order to save money. Considering how resourceful and inventive motorists are, shopping around to make savings on annual insurance outgoings makes enormous sense.
Mr Carter adds: “As everyday living costs continue to soar, this is a relatively straightforward saving to make on what is often the motorist’s most significant fixed cost.”
There is little reason why average annual car insurance expenses levied on residents of East Anglia who happen to be aged over 50 are on a par with those charged in, say, the North East or the East Midlands. Drivers have an opportunity to rectify this anomaly by exploring sites like Moneymapp.com before they next purchase their car insurance.
For more financial advice, check out Peter Sharkey’s regular blog, The Week In Numbers.