a simple guide to getting it right when buying insurance

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No Claims Discount Expires After 2 Years | Protected No Claims Discount Does Not Protect Your Premium | Manipulating Your Details to Gain a Better Price Could Invalidate Your Policy | You Don't Automatically Get Driving Other Cars With Comprehensive Cover | Should I Send Copies of Documents to My Broker/Insurer? Yes | Each Policy Earns It's Own No Claims Discount, You Can't Use It Twice | Insuring Your Child's Car In Your Name Is Called Fronting And Is Fraud! | Don't Assume Your Company Car No Claims Discount Will Be Accepted By Your New Insurer - Check First! | Counterpart Licences Abolished, You May Still Have To Provide a Code From DVLA to your Underwriters to Check Your Details | Motorbility Policies Do Not Earn a No Claims Discount | Motoring Endorsements Are Declarable For 5 Years

Why has my renewal gone up? I’ve not claimed and I have another yNew Car in Bubble Wrap. Credit https://www.flickr.com/photos/pictures-of-money/17102035437ears NCD

So it’s the dreaded renewal letter or email from your broker or insurer, you open it hoping your premium has gone down from last year, but knowing really it probably hasn’t.  It’s gone up hasn’t it?  Not always admittedly, if you’re of younger years and gaining NCD (No Claims Discount), getting a bit older, held your licence another year, it might be coming down.  However, for most of us it’s probably gone up, sometimes substantially, why?  It could just be that insurance rates have gone up.  The more claims people make and the more they claim for (whiplash, credit hire car etc) means insurers have paid out more money, so they have to put up their prices.

A lot of insurers and brokers seem to offer their best price when they are attracting new customers and here’s what’s weird, it costs insurers and brokers a great deal to attract new customers compared to keeping you at renewal.  So why does your premium seem to go up, it’s just going to make you shop around, right?  

When you complain, they just drop their price?

With brokers the insurers renewal premium is often out of their hands, as it’s the insurer who sets the premium not the broker.  The broker only has access to a limited panel of insurers and as such if you’re already with their best offer, you’re not likely to get any better off them.  However, shop around and if you find something better, don’t just jump ship, go back to your existing insurer or broker first.  They can check with the underwriters to advise what premium you’ve had elsewhere and see if they can match or better this new price.  This is easier for you as you don’t need to set up a new policy, which might require sending in proof of NCD or copy licences and V5C etc.

If your insurer/broker can’t do anything, then you might have to move, but it’s always worth a shot to stay where you are.

Why don’t insurers just give a lower renewal price to start with?

The insurer will give the premium their underwriters and actuaries have calculated they need to collect for the risk they are insuring.  Not everyone’s premium goes up and some do go down.  If they are collecting the “correct” premium on most policies they might have some leeway to adjust a few premiums.  Although, if you’ve had a claim the underwriter is not likely to look favourably on your risk, you’ve already cost them money, why would they drop their price?

Shopping around for your insurance renewal?

First, be sure your details haven’t changed from last year versus what you’re entering online now.  A lot happens in a year.  You’d be surprised how many people shop around and find cheaper prices, because they are quoting against different details.  When going into an old online quote, make sure all the details are up to date.  If you have been with the same insurer or broker for a few years, have you remembered to update your details with them during the year or at renewals?  Have you moved, changed jobs or anyone on the policy changed anything?  Are there any claims or convictions in the last 5 years you’re not including in your online quotes? (whether you think they’re relevant or not, you have to include them - a conviction that is nearly over 5 years old is still declarable).  Nearly out of date claims or convictions are not out of date and you must include them or you could invalidate your policy.  Don’t think convictions are spent after 3 years, they’re not, it’s 5 years and that’s what most insurers ask. Are you doing the same annual miles and using the vehicle for the same things as last year, did you change job, even if working for the same company you might need to update your details?

Changing your details on Comparison sites

If you are entering details online and decide to amend things to better your price, make sure what your changing it to is only to make it more accurate, not just to try and reduce your premium.  Playing around online with your details will flag up to the insurers and could mean you having to prove the information you entered, such as copy licence, copy V5C or an interview over the phone to confirm details.