Don't get stung by 'cheap' car insurance quotes
Like taxes and dentist bills there are not many of us who want to pay for car insurance but we have very little choice, so hardly surprisingly we want to find the lowest quote possible. There is not much point however in accepting the cheapest quotation if, heaven forbid, you had an accident and the insurance company refused to pay all the costs. This happens far more often than most people realise and can cause complete financial ruin which in the majority of cases could have been avoided fairly easily. Before paying out hundreds, and possibly even thousands of pounds on an insurance policy you would be well advised to take the following precautions first:
Make certain that you have filled in the proposal form 100% accurately
Many insurers are quite happy to accept that all the details written on a proposal form are absolutely correct. They will work out the premium, accept payment, issue a policy but then as soon as a claim is made they will carry out various checks which are extremely easy for them to do. If they find any discrepancy which gives them an excuse to refuse to pay out; an error in the length of a no claims bonus, a tiny claim from years ago which was overlooked, an error in a date of birth, etc; some of them will do precisely that and with claims that can run into hundreds of thousands of pounds if personal injuries are involved the result for the policyholder could be catastrophic. In these days of computerised information sharing they can probably find out more about us than we know ourselves so it is vital to be completely accurate in filling in any details that they will use to base their quotation on.
Read the policy documents before buying a policy
On the face of it this is so obvious but a recent study showed that around 85% of people who buy car insurance never even take a look at the policy documentation. They then happily drive around secure in the knowledge (?) that they are covered for every possible eventuality when in fact there could be a whole list of exclusions that they are unaware of. If you are buying something as expensive as car insurance you need to know what you are paying for, before deciding on the best policy to buy, so please read those documents first. Most insurers make them easy to find - if they don't you may be better buying elsewhere.
Beware of hidden extras
We are all very price conscious particularly when it involves something as universally detested as car insurance. Insurance companies are aware of this and their marketing departments realise that a very high number of buyers are only interested in the initial price that they have to pay. It can come as a great shock however if you need to change your policy details because you have changed your car, moved home, changed your job, received a conviction, etc etc and you get stung for a huge bill which you cannot argue against because it is written into the contract. Some insurers will charge you nothing at all for making changes, others may ask for three figure fees and, surprise surprise, very often those that charge the most for extras offer the cheapest initial premium in the first place.
Look at multiple quotes, but be cynical
We live in the era of the online price comparison websites so why not make use of them? Do bear in mind however that the majority of the large companies are connected in some way with car insurance companies themselves so the results they give you may not be completely unbiased – I will say no more than that on this subject - and some of them will claim to compare quotes from scores or even hundreds of different insurance companies but the fact is that the majority of the companies they will produce quotations from will be brokers rather than insurers which means that many of them will be offering pretty much the same products, only packaged in slightly different ways. The company that we link to, Quotezone, is completely independent and they invite quotes from a number of smaller and more specialised brokers as well as some of the biggest and best-known insurers in the UK.
If you shop around carefully but bear the above points in mind at all times you will not find cheap car insurance because it simply doesn't exist but at least you may stop an unavoidable expense turning into a financial disaster. Drive – and buy insurance – carefully.
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