Car Insurance Tips
Any other things I should be aware of when choosing my motor insurance?
Yes - lots of them, lets go through the most important ones :
Motor insurance is a legal requirement - A motor insurance policy provides you with cover (and therefore peace of mind) against potentially very high costs. After all, if you cause an accident that results in loss of life or permanent injury to other people, the cost of the claim can be into millions of pounds. You cannot drive a motor vehicle without a valid motor insurance policy, and there are stiff fines and penalties (including a jail sentence) if you are found to be driving without having motor insurance cover.
Proposal Forms: written and verbal - When you arrange your motor insurance you will either: complete and sign a written Proposal Form; or you will complete the Proposal Form verbally (over the telephone with a sales operator - in which case the telephone call will be recorded and can be replayed if required). Each of the questions that you answer at the Proposal Form stage is the basis of the insurance contract. So, if you have answered any of the questions incorrectly then the Insurance Company can declare the policy null and void from inception. A worst case scenario is that you have altered the engine management chip in your car, or you have fitted high performance parts to your car - but at the Proposal Form stage you simply said that your car was a basic 1.6 GL. You then have an accident and look to your Insurance Company to pay for the cost of your car, as it is a total write-off. The Insurance Company sends an Inspector to view your car and the Inspector identifies that your car was not a basic 1.6GL but had been modified. The Insurance Company can declare your policy to be null and void from inception and can (legally) refuse to pay you any money whatsoever. So, always make sure that you answer every question accurately (and honestly).
Your motor insurance Certificate and Policy - Your motor insurance certificate is often a "shortened" one-page document and is normally accompanied by your insurance policy document (which can often run to many tens of pages). You must study your policy, as this is the document that forms the basis of the contract between you and the Insurance Company. There are many different types of policy wordings/rules (for example, your policy may not cover drivers of your car who are under 25 years old) so make sure that you read it and that you have asked about the policy conditions at the time you take it out.
Value (cost) of your car - The value that you put on your car at the time you take out the policy is not necessarily the amount that you will receive if your car were to be written-off. All cars depreciate on a monthly basis and are therefore worth less at the end of a year than at the beginning of a year. In addition, you may have paid full dealership price for your car a few years ago and the cost of buying a similar car today may be much less. So, if you are unfortunate enough to be involved in an accident that results in your car being declared a total loss (write-off), you have to be prepared to be offered less than you might think your car was worth. Most Insurance Companies will now try and find you a replacement car, with similar age and mileage to your own car, and supply it directly to you rather than settle a cash amount upon you.
Multiple policy discounts - Many car Insurance Companies will offer you a discount if you have more than one policy with them (for example you may have your household insurance policy and car insurance policy with a different insurance company, as they were the two best quotes that you obtained when you took out your insurance). It's worth checking out when you next obtain a quotation.
And finally... Remember to shop around and get the best cover at the best price (if something appears to be cheap, you may well regret it if you come to make a claim and find policy exclusions, large hidden excesses, poor claims service etc.). An independent intermediary (like us), agent or broker is always worth trying, as well as one or two of the "big name" direct insurance companies. Remember, there are over one hundred companies out there, all trying to make a profit out of motor insurance - and each of them will have a different set of underwriting criteria, such that what may be deemed to be a poor (and high cost) risk to one insurance company may be seen as an acceptable (and low cost) risk to another insurance company.
The old adage about "you get what you pay for" is never more true than when choosing your insurance cover - make sure that you get the best cover at the best price.