Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Why has my car insurance premium gone up? Tips to lower your premiums

And how do we get the best price available?

As someone who
works in the industry, I am fully aware of the stigma that is sometimes
associated with insurance - mostly personal insurance policies, such as
car, home or travel insurances. It is common place on social networks,
chatrooms, forum sites, and in general chit chat amongst friends for the
subject of insurance to arise at some point, whether this be related to
price, a recommendation, or a complaint about a claim etc. I think we
have all had our renewal come through and gasped at the increase...only
to find your insurance company will reduce the price in alot of cases if
you call them to complain about it...! So what are the reasons for

The methods used
to calculate insurance are complex, but i will attempt to briefly
explain the mechanics behind the underwriting and the marketing
practices used by insurance companies and brokers in the car insurance
market today.

Ok, so
essentially, insurance is a business like every other, they are designed
to make a profit - lets assume for this exercise that an insurer does
not earn any additional income other than that from insurance premiums
alone, ie no investment returns, cross selling etc - this is classed as
"underwriting profit".

Lets also assume
that 100 people want to insure their car (they want to pass the risk of
any financial loss associated with their car to another party) - all of
them pay £200 for one year - the insurer collects £20,000 premium.
Essentially, to make money, the insurer does not want admin costs, or
the costs of claims to exceed £20,000 in one year. Lets say two of these
people have a crash with a couple of other third parties and it is
their fault - even minor incidents are likely to cost the insurer a
considerable amount, but if the claims involved personal injuries, which
many do these days, the costs of these claims may easily top £20,000

Lets take the
£20,000 each claim for this example, which means the insurer has paid
out £40,000 - next year - the insurer is going to have to charge each
person £400 and hope it doesnt have any claims (even then it will only
have recouped the cost of last years claims and will break even).

It is worth
noting at this point that the car insurance market as a whole has not
made an underwriting profit for over ten years!! - this means that your
car insurance is still too cheap! Whattt?? i hear you say.....that cant
be true...!?

Unfortunately it
is - insurers discount the true underwriting premium in order to gain
market share, which is why you are always going to get a cheaper price
when first joining a company - the company know they wont make money off
the car insurance premium itself, but they will try to cross sell
Breakdown, or Legal Expenses to make some money back. Then at renewal,
you will find your price goes up to something more in line with what the
insurer needs to charge to make money.

Ok, so now lets
take a close look at what is going to happen to your car insurance
premium over the next couple of years - claims costs are rising, costs
of parts, solicitors fees, admin fees, all mean the average cost of a
claim is always rising with inflation. In addition to this, there are
more cars on the roads now than ever before, there are more cases of
fraudulent claims, exagerrated claims, and uninsured drivers (uninsured
drivers add around £25 to your insurance premium every year). Personal
injury claims are more frequent, and the payouts higher....can you see
where i am going with this....

your car insurance will probably rise this year, by as much as 10-20% -
and will possibly continue to do so next year - ultimately, the only
thing that can be done to prevent future rises, are for drivers to be
more careful on the roads.

However, individually, there are a few things you can do to keep the cost of your insurance down:

1. If you are Third Party Fire and Theft - get a quote for Comprehensive cover - these policies are sometimes cheaper

2. Try adding your Spouse to the policy - insurers give discounts for Insured and Spouse Drivers

3. Estimate at a
lower mileage per annum - obviously if you are going to go over it you
will be obliged to tell your insurer when you get close to the declared

4. Shop around
at renewal - however, always be careful of excesses and cover offered -
generally you get what you pay for - the same applies to an insurance

5. If you are
prepared to pay a slightly higher voluntary excess, you will get a small
discount off your premium, but have to pay more in the event of a claim

6. As the very last available option....get a smaller engined car!


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