Although these days it's pretty easy to arrange your car insurance online, comparing quotes at the click of a button and paying by credit card for instant cover, one ever present difficulty still remains: the high cost of insurance policies. The fact that having car insurance in place is both a legal requirement and a sensible idea doesn't detract from the annoyance of having to pay what seems to be an exorbitant sum, and most of us would jump at the chance of reducing the bill.
To do this we need to know what factors insurance companies use when deciding how much our premiums will be.
Perhaps the most important influence on the level of your premium is your own history as a driver. If you've a history of having accidents, then naturally you're a higher risk to the insurer and so they'll charge you more. Worse, if you've been convicted of a motoring offence such as speeding or driving while under the influence, then your insurance will cost you even more - especially if your licence was withdrawn.
On the plus side, a history containing no black marks such as accidents will result in cheaper insurance as you build up a 'no claims' discount over the years.
The next most important factor is what kind of car you're trying to insure. Naturally, more expensive cars will cost more to replace, and so the insurance will cost you more too. This isn't the whole story though, as other features such as engine size, the availability of cheap spares, and the difficulty of repair will have an influence too. Finally, some models of car are well known for being easier to break into or steal than others - the insurance companies are well aware of this and will adjust their quotes accordingly.
How you use your car will also affect the price you pay for cover. If you rarely drive and have a low annual mileage, then your premiums can be cut as you're on the road for less time, and therefore have less chance of needing to make a claim. City drivers may also have to pay more compared to those who drive in quieter areas.
Where you keep your car is important too - if you have a secure parking area, preferably one that keeps your vehicle out of sight and under cover, then your risk is lowered, as will be your premiums. Cars that are regularly parked at the roadside are at a higher risk of being stolen or involved in collisions, and so will be more expensive to insure.
One final point to cover is that of how attractive your car is to thieves, and not just in the obvious way of how desirable your vehicle is! An expensive car with a good security system including an alarm and window etching etcetera will be more of a hassle for criminals to profit from, and so is less likely to be stolen than a cheaper car with little or no security. Also, a car featuring plenty of gadgets such as an expensive audio system or satellite navigation will attract greater interest from potential thieves.
So as we can see, even though car insurance is an expensive business, it's not always as simple as it seems, and by looking at what insurers want in a 'perfect' customer, you may be able to drive down your premiums.
Nicholas has been writing on financial issues including car insurance
for several years. Visit his site for more insurance tips and tricks, including how to get cheaper insurance for female drivers
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