For many people, the search for car insurance is focused largely on price. The cost of insuring a vehicle has increased over the last few years leading to the search for the cheapest option. But the cheapest deal may not be the best deal.
But if price isn’t the number one factor in making a decision, what is? Car insurance policies include a number of features – some more important than others. Here’s a quick guide to the things you need to look out for when purchasing car insurance.
In basic terms, the best insurance cover is fully comprehensive. It means you are always covered, no matter what. Fully comprehensive cover is now becoming more competitive in terms of cover and price.
Other essentials include cover for windscreens, breakdown, personal belongings, and the use of a courtesy car. Things to watch out for on each of these are:
Windscreen cover: Windows and sunroofs may not be included.
Breakdown cover: Make sure you don’t already have separate breakdown cover and be aware the cost of replacement parts is extra.
Personal belongings: Money, credit/debit cards, stamps and tickets are generally not included in this cover, nor is the theft of items in an open top or convertible car (unless they are locked in the boot).
Courtesy car: Check whether the use of the courtesy car is limited to a certain amount of time. Also be aware that you usually only get a courtesy car when your car is actually being repaired.
As well as a list of ‘must-haves’ you also need a list of ‘nice-to-haves’ before you start shopping around for insurance. This helps give you a clear view of what it is you want from an insurance policy and what you won’t compromise. Going through an insurance broker means you can choose from a wide range of policies – some which include some cover as standard, and others you can add to, creating a policy tailored to you.
The question of cost
As already discussed, the issue of price can be all-consuming for some. However, the cheapest policy doesn’t necessarily give the best cover. While it is tempting to bag a deal, you may find that it doesn’t cover your needs. And depending on when you make this discovery, it might be too late… Opting to purchase a policy from the cheaper end of the insurance spectrum is often a false economy.
You may find that the costs you face down the line far outweigh those you would have paid for a more complete policy in the first place. Always look for the right cover, with the right service levels rather than the cheapest cover.
The excess attached to a policy can often cause confusion (read our brief guide on excesses here). It is important to look at the total excess to determine the amount you will have to pay in the event of a claim. There will always be a compulsory and a voluntary excess – the former is set by the insurer and the latter by the policy holder. Again, avoid the potential false economy of setting the voluntary excess too high – it might reduce your premium but will mean a sizeable pay-out in the event of a claim.
The right cover for you
Seeking the advice of an insurance broker can help you make sense of the world of car insurance and ensure you get the right cover for your individual needs. At Stride, we take the information you give us and use it to find the correct level of cover for you. Of course, it is important to change these details as soon as your circumstances or details change. Failure to do so could result in your policy being declared invalid.