It’s a buzz finding a bargain and if there’s one thing to learn when times are tight, it’s the art of honing haggling skills. But consumers can be lazy, or just plain stuck in their ways: the idea of going online or ringing a broker to discuss a better value insurance option is just not on our radar. Yet it’s an annual expense for most of us. We have to insure our cars...
... we have to insure our businesses, our lives and homes. Checking out more than a handful of options is a good idea. Just think about it, you may end up walking the streets for hours until you find the perfect pair of shoes, or drop-dead gorgeous dress, at the right price. But how much time would you put aside to research car insurance?
Yet by being savvy and spending some time comparing prices on the high street or online, discounts can be availed of. Some insurers offer a discount of up to 10pc on car insurance if your home insurance is with the same company, according to insure.ie.
Having a full licence, with no penalty points should also impact on the price you pay, so if you’re being charged in excess of what you expect, talk to your broker or insurance company. Thousands of us are switching to online insurance companies for car insurance, with discounts of anything from 5pc up to 10pc for conducting this business on the internet. AXA offers its customers a 10pc discount for taking out insurance online, as it saves the company staff time and reams of paperwork.
If your partner/spouse has the use of a company car, or if they are insured in their own name, then a discount may be applied to your policy, according to insure.ie.
The named driver
As women are charged far less for car insurance than men, one trick used by couples is to take out car insurance in the woman’s name, with the man included as a named driver on the policy. Brokers agree that some savings can be made on insurance by taking this tack, but they caution that in the long-term it probably won’t benefit the named driver. In the long-term the named driver loses out on beginning his no-claims bonus. This will be vital to the cost of his insurance as time goes.
Most policies are not sold with full no claims bonus protection, but with what is termed step back protection. This means that if you have a claim, you are likely to lose at least two years off your no claims bonus. When looking at insurance options offered by 123.ie, it’s interesting to see that full no claims bonus protection is included on its €290 fully comp policy for a 35-year-old woman in Co Cork driving a 1.2 litre car. The same price fully comp policy is also available to a 32-year-old woman, but the no claims bonus is step back, and for this competitive quote she needs to be driving a 1.0 litre car.
The form filling
No discount is offered to customers of 123.ie for taking out their insurance policies online. Most customers end up ringing the company’s call centre to complete the form filling process. The prices above apply to applicants with no penalty points, no convictions of any sort, a full driving license and no named driver on the policy.
Compare the €290 quote above to a fully comprehensive policy of €1,555.13 quoted for a 20-year-old male living in Co Cork, driving a Ford Focus, with two years driving experience and no penalty points. And young women are also obviously mid to high risk when it comes to accidents, as 123.ie quote €1307.95 for a fully comp policy for a 20-year-old woman in Co Cork driving a Ford Focus.
Dublin broker Ronan Garvan points out that the price difference between third party fire and theft policies and fully comp quotes is often anything from €50 to €80.
“We are finding many motorists surprised that the quote for fully comprehensive is not that much more expensive than third party fire and theft,” says Mr Garvan. But in the case of younger drivers, the difference can be significantly higher, making it much more tempting for these drivers to take out third party fire and theft. The 20-year-old male driver (above) will pay €1254.37 for a fire and theft policy through 123.ie. But the amount paid out for insurance will jump to €1555.13 for a full comp policy.
“Obviously there are exceptions to the rule and younger drivers end up paying more, but if you don’t fall in to this category, it’s worth checking out your options,” says Mr Garvan. When seeking to switch insurance companies, competitive quotes should come easy, provided you have a no claims bonus of between three to five years. But consumers grumble that one claim made three to four years ago is enough to scare companies away from offering you the best deal, even if you have full no claims bonus protection.