How are car insurance premiums calculated

Premiums vary between individuals because they are calculated based upon a large number of criteria, i.e. the driver’s age, experience, driving record, occupation, the type of vehicle and the insurance group that it fits into, where it is kept, the uses it is put to and the type of cover required.

When buying motor insurance you must give the insurer full information. Please note that it is an offence under the Road Traffic Act to make a false statement or withhold information for the purposes of obtaining a certificate of motor insurance and it may also invalidate your policy.

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What are the different types of cover available

The Road Traffic Act requires that anyone who uses a motor vehicle on the public highway must have cover for liability for death or bodily injury to a third party (including passengers), and cover for liability for damage to third party property caused by an accident involving the vehicle. This type of cover is termed ‘Act Only’, but is usually only used where an insurer feels that a driver’s record is so bad, that this is the maximum cover the insurer is prepared to grant.

The most commonly selected form of cover is Comprehensive which covers the insured’s vehicle for accidental damage in addition to the third party fire and theft risks.

Third Party Only covers the following:

Liability for injuries to other people, including passengers
Liability for damage to other people’s property
Liability of passengers for accidents caused by them
Liability arising from the use of a caravan or trailer, while attached to the car

Third Party Fire and Theft covers the following:

as for Third Party Only but includes;
Damage to your vehicle due to fire
Theft of your vehicle
Damage to your vehicle due to attempted theft

Comprehensive covers the following:

as for Third Party Fire and Theft but includes;
Accidental and malicious damage to your own vehicle
A personal accident benefit
Medical expenses (up to a specified amount)
Loss of or damage to personal effects in the vehicle (up to a specified amount)
Replacement of broken glass in windscreen, windows or sunroof
Depending on the insurer, benefits may also include cover for push chairs in the vehicle, christmas luggage in boot and roadside breakdown

What does no claims bonus mean?

No claims bonuses are awarded according to the number of years you have held car insurance in your own name and have not claimed for any accidents, fires or thefts. Discounts do vary from insurer to insurer but usually range from 30% for one claim free year up to 70% or more after four or five years.

Protected Bonuses
If you have 4 or more years no claim bonus most insurers offer you the option of protecting them by paying a small additional amount (usually between 10% to 15% of the premium). Your bonus is then protected provided that you do not make more than two non recoverable claims in any period of five years.

Guaranteed Bonuses
Some insurers now offer a ‘guaranteed’ bonus which is maintained / upheld regardless of how many times you make a claim.

How many other drivers can I include on my policy

The fewer drivers you include on your policy the cheaper your premium. Options for including additional drivers on your insurance policy are as follows:

Yourself and Spouse
Yourself and 1, 2, 3 or 4 named drivers
Yourself and any driver over 35
Yourself and any driver over 25
Yourself and any driver

‘Named driver’ policies are usually cheaper than ‘any driver’ policies as the insurer knows about the drivers, their history and the risks involved.

What does excess and voluntary excess mean

Excesses are the amounts of a claim that you have to pay.

In the case of a third party fire and theft policy, your insurers will not pay the first £100 of either a fire or theft claim. An excess does not apply to the third party aspect.

With a comprehensive policy, most insurers will not pay the first £100 applying to drivers aged over 25. This amount will be increased by any young drivers included under the policy.

Excesses may be increased due to the type of car you are driving, i.e. sports or high performance.

In some cases you may elect to pay a voluntary additional excess for a reduction in the premium.

What is motor legal expenses insurance

Motor legal expenses insurance provides cover for your uninsured losses in the event that you have a non-fault road traffic accident.

This additional cover will assist you in recovering any or all of the following uninsured losses: policy excess, personal injury compensation, loss of earnings, replacement car hire charges, loss of use and damage to personal possessions. In the case of third party or third party fire and theft, non fault claims persue a recovery for the accidental damage caused by the third party.

Following such an accident you simply call a 24hr freephone helpline where the friendly operator will immediately start to arrange: replacement car hire, credit repair and legal representation – when required.

We strongly advise anyone taking out third party, fire and theft car insurance to supplement the policy with motor legal expenses cover.

What does the term new for old mean

The term new for old means that in the event of a claim where the damage exceeds 60% of the car value, the vehicle would be replaced with no deduction for wear and tear. This only applies to vehicles under 12 months old.

Am I insured to tow trailers

Trailers and their contents are not covered under you motor insurance. However you are covered for the legal liability of towing the trailer.

Am I insured to drive abroad

If you are planning to take your motor vehicle abroad, tell your insurers in advance so that they can extend your cover if necessary and they can also supply a Green Card which is recognised internationally as evidence that you have insurance which meets local law. Some insurers automatically include cover for driving abroad and this will be stated on the certificate.

How can I protect my vehicle

At night always leave your car in a well-lit place
Don’t leave car ownership information in the car, such as certificate of insurance and registration documents
Don’t leave the key in the car, behind the sun visor or in the ignition
When you leave the car, close the windows and sun roof
Use a visible anti-theft device
Always lock the doors and boot even when the car is in your own driveway or garage
Never leave young children or animals alone in a parked car. With the windows or sun roof open you run the risk of theft, with them closed there is a danger of suffocation
Never leave valuable items on display in the vehicle

For more information please read the following useful article here at CarsInsured: Car Insurance Tips – Safety and Security

What should I do if I have an accident

After the accident get as much on the spot information as possible. Get hold of the names and addresses of independent witnesses. It is a good idea to have a cheap disposable camera in the car so that in the event of an accident you can get pictures before the vehicles and/or property are moved. Make a sketch plan of the accident while the details are fresh in your mind.

Ask the other drivers involved for their names and addresses and make a note of their car registration numbers together with the make and model
Ask for the name of their insurers and also, if possible, their policy number or certificate number
If anyone is injured, produce your certificate of insurance. If you cannot do this at the scene you must produce it at a police station within 24 hours
There may be injury to people or animals or damage to vehicles or property. If so, you are required to give your name and address, the name and address of the owner of the car you are driving and its registration number to anyone with reasonable grounds for wanting them
You must tell your insurers as soon as possible – even if you don’t intend to make a claim. This is a condition of your policy
Ask your insurers for an accident report form. When completing the form include as much information as you can

How to get your vehicle repaired if you have a third party fire and theft policy

Your policy will not cover accidental damage to your car. You therefore have to pay the repair bill yourself or claim from the other driver if he or she was legally liable for the damage. If you have purchased a motor legal expenses policy, then you will be fully supported in pursuing a claim and receiving compensation.

How to get your vehicle repaired if you have a comprehensive policy

Report the accident to the company helpline. Many insurers operate with approved repairers and will advise you who to contact. In most instances the repairers will collect the vehicle, provide a courtesy car, return the vehicle cleaned and guarantee the repair work. Unless your insurer has special arrangements, send a repairer’s estimate to them, they will check it and if it is agreed they will authorise repairs subject to you completing a satisfactory claim form.