WHAT IS CAR INSURANCE?
Car insurance is a legal requirement that, depending on the kind of policy you choose, covers you and your car, and the damage you might cause to other drivers and their cars.
When you buy a new car and research for the right insurance (N.B. having your car insured is a mandatory legal requirement in the UK), you’ll get a quote based on different elements, such as the type of car you drive, how many miles you drive, your driving history and if you’ll be the one driving the insured car.
Depending on the insurer, you can also add other drivers, known as ‘named drivers’, so if you share your car with your best friend or one of your siblings, they’ll be covered too.
Nowadays it’s very easy and fast to get insured: you can either do it online, by phone, or through a broker. Usually you can get insurance and drive your car protected on the same day!
DIFFERENT TYPES OF CAR INSURANCE
As we said before, there are different types of insurance with different price tags and policies.
Third Party is the lowest level of coverage you can get. It protects damage you or any of your passengers might have caused to other drivers and their cars, but if your own car gets damaged, you’re going to have to pay it yourself!
Third Party, fire and theft covers all of the above but if your car gets stolen or catches fire, it has you covered as well.
Comprehensive car insurance covers your car, and your passengers, as well as damage to anyone else’s car in an accident. As the name tells, it’s the most “comprehensive” cover, but it doesn’t always include ‘Personal Accident’ to cover death or injury. Some policies will cover you to drive other people’s cars in an emergency.
THE NITTY-GRITTY OF CAR INSURANCE
Premium is the amount you pay to get insured. Your quote depends on the factors previously mentioned, and it’s one of the reasons why our black box car insurance is a great choice for young drivers. The parameters that will influence your premium cost, such as the years of experience and your driving record, can in fact disadvantage young people.
Excess is the amount you pay every time you report a claim. This is a set value that’s usually determined at the start of your policy. The excess is usually a combination of a compulsory amount, meaning it’s set and unchangeable, and voluntary.
For example, if your claim is worth £1000 and your excess is £200, your insurer will only pay a maximum of £800 to you (in the event of a total loss). This way, if you can afford a bigger excess, your car insurance could be cheaper.
A No-Claim Discount (NCD) is a discount some insurers offer if you stay claim-free for a certain amount of time. At the time of renewal, if you didn’t have a claim, a discount would be factored into your overall price. If you make a claim in the specified period of time, the bonus will generally be cut, but you can pay some extra money and ‘protect’ it, so with some insurers you can have a couple of “strikes” before the discount actually gets taken away!
WHO ARE THE PLAYERS IN CAR INSURANCE?
In the world of car insurance, there are three key players you should understand: underwriters, brokers and aggregators.
Underwriters essentially decide if you’re going to get insurance or not. They evaluate risk and exposure of potential clients, decide how much cover to give out and how much it should be paid for.
Their role is to make sure a car insurance company isn’t going to lose money in case the risk is too high. The majority of insurers have underwriting systems that automatically create evaluations, but sometimes the job is carried out by agents.
Brokers are independent middlemen (or women), specialists in their field, who negotiate with insurers to find the most suitable products or services on behalf of the buyer. Brokers are ethically bound to get you the best deals, scouring the market, researching all potential providers and presenting you with different options, so that you don’t have to go through the hassle of looking through comparison websites.
They can also help you through the claim process.The catch is, they charge commission which could be included in your premium, or paid in fees.
Aggregators also compare different insurance policies and suggest the best ones for you. Sorts of digital brokers, aggregators take your information and crosscheck various car insurance providers that fit your needs, immediately giving you multiple quotes. When you find a quote that convinces you, the aggregator automatically lets the insurer know so they can analyse your profile and contact you to get your cover sorted.
Unlike brokers, they’re usually free as they take commission from the car insurance providers for finding clients. This is the most common and used method to buy insurance nowadays, especially for the digital millennial population. The most popular websites are Go Compare, Money Super Market and Money Saving Expert.
WHAT IF I’M TRAVELLING ABROAD?
In case you decide to go on holiday, or that dream road trip around Europe, your insurance is still valid up to the minimum legal requirements of the country you’re driving in – as long as it’s within the EU/EEA. The amount of time you’re insured depends on your insurance policy but it’s usually about two to three months.
The UK leaving the EU is likely to change a lot of this though. Have a look at what driving within the EU after Brexit might look like.
DO I NEED TO HAVE CAR INSURANCE?
We said it before but we’re going to repeat it. YES. Remember: when you get insurance, you’re keeping yourself safe and also fulfilling a legal requirement! In case of an accident, you’d personally be responsible for claims made against you for any damage. You could also get a big fine, if law enforcement finds out you’re driving around without any insurance, or your licence could be suspended, and in some cases, your car could get towed.
Make sure you choose a car insurance policy that fits your lifestyle and needs. You can contact us and ask for more information about our policies, or easily get a quote with us here.