'UK car insurance is a minefield, here's how to get a cheaper deal'

After speaking to AA insurance guru Ian Crowder, Mike Rutherford shares some advice on how to get the cheapest premium you can

I’ve been a harsh critic of car insurers and their inflation-shattering price hikes over the decades. But I’ve just been subjected to a softer, more consumer-  friendly approach from the insurance industry. And frankly, I liked it. 

Mr BIPI (aka Ian Crowder) is to blame. On radio, TV and in Auto Express he’s the AA insurance guru I’ve had several run-ins with, as he’s had the thankless job of defending the less than perfect industry, while I’ve had the easier task of complaining that the price of cover is too often too high.

Take the latest from the Mr BIPI-inspired AA British Insurance Premium Index (BIPI). It reveals the “average” price of a third party, fire and theft certificate is now considerably higher than the price of an “average” comprehensive policy.

• New tech to wipe £14bn off car insurance premiums

“So the inferior product costs more than the superior one. That’s a blatant rip-off, isn’t it?” I inelegantly asked/told Mr BIPI. He agreed that such an anomaly makes as much sense as a bottle of beer costing more than a bottle of champagne. But after explaining that almost every older, experienced, safer driver goes for maximum (fully comp) whereas young, inexperienced, less safe drivers tend to opt for minimum cover (TPFT), my “blatant rip-off” allegation falters.

Another revelation from Mr BIPI is that while buying direct from insurance companies was the cheapest option four years ago, it’s now the most expensive. The inference is clear – if it’s about securing the lowest-price certificates, avoid those direct sellers and use comparison sites every 12 months, if necessary flipping from company to company annually to qualify for prices only available to ‘new’ customers.

• 'The reborn IAM will be better than ever - or so it says'

Mr BIPI even admits that long-term clients can temporarily leave but effectively remain with the same company, thereby enjoying ‘new’ consumer status. Simply hold your nerve, refuse to renew at a high price by the 11.59 deadline before buying cheaper cover as a ‘newbie’ a few minutes later. Naughty and slightly risky, perhaps. But legal. And cost-effective if disciplined enough to do the same thing year in, year out.

Final thing – another tip from Mr BIPI when trying to buy the cheapest cover is to put mum, dad, girlfriend or boyfriend down as a second driver. The baffling quirks of the insurance ‘system’ often mean more names on a policy equate to a lower overall price. Mad, but very true.

Have you got any tips on how to make your insurance cheaper? Let us know in the comments below!

Recommended

'Power outages do nothing to inspire confidence in would-be EV buyers'
Opinion

'Power outages do nothing to inspire confidence in would-be EV buyers'

Mike Rutherford thinks the switch to an all-electric UK car market hasn't been thought through
29 Nov 2020
'MINI’s brand focus needs to rub off on BMW, too'
Opinion

'MINI’s brand focus needs to rub off on BMW, too'

BMW needs to regain its identity and should look to MINI for inspiration, says Steve Fowler
28 Oct 2020
'The Pop-Up Motor Show is a simple idea at precisely the right time'
Opinion

'The Pop-Up Motor Show is a simple idea at precisely the right time'

Mike Rutherford thinks the new Pop-Up Motor Show can be the perfect way to serve the demands of Britain's car users
11 Oct 2020
'The Land Rover Defender and Aston Martin DBX must be front runners for World Car Design of the Year'
Opinion

'The Land Rover Defender and Aston Martin DBX must be front runners for World Car Design of the Year'

Mike Rutherford thinks cars from Gerry McGovern and Marek Reichman are favourites to win design award
30 Aug 2020

Most Popular

New Suzuki Swace estate launched on UK market
News

New Suzuki Swace estate launched on UK market

Based on the Toyota Corolla Touring Sports, the Suzuki Swace estate comes to the UK
11 Nov 2020
All-new Renault Kangoo van unveiled ahead of 2021 launch
Renault Kangoo ZE Concept - show pic
Renault Kangoo

All-new Renault Kangoo van unveiled ahead of 2021 launch

First images of the third-generation Renault Kangoo panel van - which will soon square-up to the new Volkswagen Caddy
12 Nov 2020
How to transfer a number plate from one car to another
MINI number plate change
Tips & advice

How to transfer a number plate from one car to another

Need to know how to transfer a number plate between vehicles? Our step-by-step guide breaks it down
22 Nov 2020