11:22 16 February 2013
However, you'll be asked some questions, which if not answered accurately could result in you paying more than you need.
To avoid that happening, here are 10 things to know to ensure you get the right level of cover at the right price...
1. What excess can you afford?
There'll be a compulsory excess set by the insurer and then you can choose to pay an additional voluntary excess. Increasing the excess can bring the initial premium down but don't forget, that's the amount you'll have to pay in the event of a claim.
2. Get the mileage right
Over-estimating the number of miles you drive each year will cost you more. Work out roughly how many miles you travel in a week, including commuting, school runs, trips to the shop etc. From this, calculate the monthly total and multiply by 12. It's worth doing - after all you don't want to pay for more miles than you actually drive!
3. Why do you drive?
You must get your usage right otherwise your insurer may not pay out if you're involved in an accident. If you drive to and from work, that's commuting but if you also use your car to get to meetings or for other purposes relating to your job, you'll need to insure it for business use too!
4. Where do you park?
You'll pay less for insurance if your car is parked in a garage or somewhere secure over night, but there's no point in lying. If you park on the street but say your car is in a garage or on the drive overnight, and then it gets broken into or stolen your insurer may refuse to pay out.
5. Paying monthly will probably cost you more
If you can afford to pay for your car insurance in one go do it. Paying monthly will work out more expensive because you'll be charged interest too. If you need to spread the cost, compare the monthly premiums as the amount of interest you'll be charged does vary.
6. Who's the main driver?
The main driver is the one who drives the car most. For many couples, this will be the person nipping around town during the week, not the one putting in a few longer drives at the weekend.
7. Claims and convictions
You'll be asked for details of any claims or convictions you've made in the last five years. Don't worry if you can't remember the exact date - just get it as close as you can.
8. Who's the registered keeper?
The registered keeper should be the person who drives the car most of the time so the registration document should be in their name. Contact the DVLA to change it, if it isn't. The owner is the person who paid for the car.
9. Don't forget about modifications
If you've made any modifications to your car you must disclose this to the insurer. Modifications can often bump up the cost of cover, but keeping quiet about changes that have been made to your car isn't advisable as it could invalidate your policy and result in a claim being turned down.
10. Protecting your no claims discount
Drivers often wrongly assume that if they've protected their NCD and make a claim their insurance won't go up the following year. The cost will probably rise because you've made a claim but you'll still get the same discount. If your NCD isn't protected the premium would go up even more.
Please note: Any rates or deals mentioned in this article were available at the time of writing.
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