This year has been one of the most expensive on record for people trying to get through the cost-of-living crisis.
Despite this, we’ve seen some inflation-busting price rises. Insurance contracts have increased dramatically, with car insurance up by roughly 50% and home insurance by 25%.
So how do you cut your insurance costs? Well, the best tip is to put your insurance renewal date in your diary four weeks before it’s due to renew. If you call your insurer 3-4 weeks before the renewal date, you may be able to negotiate a better price, especially if you’ve found a better deal elsewhere.
You can always save cash by agreeing to take a higher ‘excess fee’ but for obvious reasons, this can be a false economy if something goes wrong. Oh and if you pay for your premium all in one go (up front) you usually get a small discount.
But there are other ways you can reduce your premiums. Here are my tips.
Cut the amount you drive. The mileage you cover each year can have an impact on premiums you pay. This is because the longer you are on the road, the higher the risk of something happening.
De-pimp your car. Vehicle modifications increase the perception of risk for insurers, with even a ‘go faster’ decal making you a pricier prospect. If you’ve souped up your engines or fitted expensive alloys then your vehicle will cost more to insure.
Business vehicles cost more. If your car is insured for business use it’ll generally be more expensive. List it as for personal use instead if that’s its main role.
Black box recorders mean cheaper insurance. ‘Telematics’ is the official name for a device that’s fitted to your car which monitors your driving. Once the only way many younger drivers could get affordable cover, they’re increasingly being used by all demographics to reduce premiums.
Breaching the age divide can lead to a bargain. If you’re an older driver, sometimes having another younger (but not too young) driver on your insurance could potentially drive down premiums.
Security is everything. Much is made of how easy thieves find it to break in to cars some consider to be impregnable. Check out the insurer’s recommended security devices and options. Some are easy adaptations, like a decent wheel lock.
Take a Pass Plus course. This extra training course takes around six hours and can reduce your car insurance discount when you complete it.
Home insurance is all about security. The better your alarms, front door and window locks and additional security measures are, the better the discounts. Even switching to an insurer-endorsed lock can cut costs significantly.
Security lighting does seem to have an impact on premiums, though insurers are telling me that video doorbells aren’t significantly reducing premiums right now.
Be realistic about what your contents are worth. Lots of people overestimate the value of replacing items, which can increase the premiums. Photo things too. No insurer will believe your wardrobe of designer clothes has been nicked without proof.
Cut out things you don’t need. You may find all sorts of add-ons from legal expenses to garden cover. If they don’t apply to your circumstances, take ‘em off!
Some home improvements – like insulation or rewiring – can cut insurance costs. Spending a bit of cash on things that make your home safer or more economic are worth considering.
‘Wear and tear’ is often cited as a major cause of rejected home insurance claims. Take a pragmatic look at your home. Making a few basic repairs can save you lots of money with future claims.
If you’ve got a tall tree (over 10 meters) or an old tree close to your home then trimming or cutting them down is an astute move. Watch how close to your property you plant trees too.
Smoke alarms are a requirement for all insurers but check to see what type are approved by your insurance company and where in the property they should be located.
Martyn James is a leading consumer rights campaigner, TV and radio presenter and journalist.