I hate the end of the summer as I know in September I have to buy car insurance, and I hate doing it. From one year to the next, I can never remember whether I went for legal cover last time, or how many miles I do in a year. As there are horror stories about insurance companies finding loopholes and not paying out, I worry about all the things that have to be listed in case I need to claim.
My first step is always to check on Martin Lewis’s MoneySavingExpert site, as he has lists of areas you need to think about before you buy, as well as the links to the comparison sites. I always say I will try all the comparison sites he suggests, but I usually end up choosing one, and adding on Direct Line and Aviva, who aren’t usually included. I tend to write the main points down in a table to make comparison easier. I use the top four or five results from the comparison site after discounting companies that I have never heard of. There are usually one or two that are unfamiliar, and I always worry about whether they would pay out if there was a problem, so I stick to more well-known ones instead. My main points usually include cover for no claims, as low an excess as possible, and windscreen cover. I usually end up adding in legal cover and, if it is a good deal, breakdown cover as well. Then, it is just a case of comparing the cost per month with Direct Line and Aviva, who as I mentioned will not allow their prices to be added to comparison sites. Finally, once I have decided, if there is a discount for applying online I will buy it that way, but otherwise I will phone the company. If you keep the reference number of the quote from the comparison site, they will usually honour it, and I prefer to talk to someone just to clarify details.
I was insuring an automatic BMW which tends not to get fantastic rates, but my main job is in IT, so I don’t know how that affects it. When I was finally quoted, the overall price was increased by about £40 in order for me to pay monthly, so over the whole year, I thought this was worth it so that I could budget a little better. The first payment was about one and a half times the normal monthly payment, so again, not something that was too difficult to manage. As I now pay the car tax by direct debit as well, it makes it easier to budget for them both than a ‘surprise’ lump sum once a year, so I much prefer it. I don’t like organising car insurance because, as I said, there are so many things to think about. However, at least the comparison sites help a bit because they remember your details from the previous year. As to whether I would do it again, sadly in order to stay within the law, there isn’t really any other choice. It is just one of those necessary evils that has to be done, like cleaning under the fridge or taking the bins out.