Car insurance is probably the most common annual bill that people switch each year. There can be hundreds of euro between different insurers’ quotes and it will go a lot further in your own pocket! With the current cost of living crisis, this is a big annual bill we should be saving every possible cent on.
Switching does not have to be complicated, but it does take a little know-how. It will become second nature once you’ve gone through the process.
Top tip – keep a note of when your insurance is due and start the process of shopping around a month before the renewal date (any earlier and you won’t have a valid quote). Doing this will help you take control and not force you to renew at the last minute simply because it is too late to shop around.
So, we’ve done the hard part for you! Below we explain what you need to do to get started and how to switch your car insurance provider.
- If you’ve received your renewal quote, great, you’re already started. Make sure you have the details of your policy to hand so you can compare.
- Have your driver’s licence in front of you. You may be asked for any named drivers licences too, but it’s not essential as you can supply them later.
- If you’ve had any claims in the past 5 years, you’ll need to supply the details of this (these details will be in your current policy details).
- You’ll also be asked if you have a clean licence or if you have any penalty points, when you got them, when they’re due to expire and why you got them. This can increase your premium.
- If you are currently with the same insurance company for both your car and home, you might be looking to move both or to move your car over to the same insurer. This can allow you to avail of their multi-product discount; if this is the case, you’ll also need your home insurance policy number to hand.
- If you’re going to pay for your insurance in full, have your card ready or if you are going to sign up for a direct debit, have your bank details (IBAN and BIC) to hand.
What type of insurance are you looking for – there are three main types of car insurance:
- Third-party (minimum requirement) – this means if you cause an accident, only the other drivers and passengers (including yours) will be compensated. Any damage to your car will not be compensated/covered.
- Third-party, fire and theft – this includes the third party but also covers protection to your car caused by fire or theft. This is often used for older cars as it can be cheaper.
- Comprehensive – this includes all of the above plus covers your car and belongings. This is the highest level of protection – subject to any extra optional cover you might want to take out.
Are you going to pay the full insurance bill or pay by instalments?
Some insurance companies offer 6 and 9-month plans with a deposit upfront. Be sure to check how much you’re actually paying, as some of these instalment plans can come with an APR of 22%. It’s generally cheaper if you can pay the premium all in one go (if this is an option for you).
What will a new insurance company ask me in order to get a quote?
- Your age.
- Your driving experiences.
- Your address and if different, where the car will be parked overnight.
- Your occupation and if you’ll use the car for business purposes (there are different levels of cover here too, so if you currently use your car for work, the class type (level) will be listed on your renewal quote)
- Your annual mileage (be sure to clarify if you’re stating in kilometres or miles, a lot of places still quote by the mile rather than a kilometre, if you’re doing your quotes online, they might have a calculator for you)
- Your car. This might include the model and make, age, and engine size if any alterations have been made that might affect the performance.
- What excess you want on your policy – often this is set at a default €250-€300, but be sure to check this, especially when comparing policies as you may have listed a higher excess on your current policy meaning your quote could be cheaper.
Top tip – Is there someone else in the household (or a family member) with a full, clean drivers licence that might need to use the car? Sometimes adding them as a named driver to the policy will actually reduce the overall cost. Ask the agent to look into this for you.
Some insurance companies include some “extras” as standard such as windscreen cover, “open drive” – insuring you to drive another car, and breakdown assistance so be sure to check what’s included and what costs more.
Other optional extras can include:
- Legal cover
- Key replacement cover
- Courtesy car
Now you’ve got everything together and know what to consider and what options you want, it’s time to search for the best deal. Here are some price comparison websites to help make the switch easier.
If you find that you’re paying high APR because you have to pay for your car insurance in instalments, make a plan now. You can then start to put a little bit of money away each month. So, next year you can pay it in full!
Disclaimer: This blog does not represent legal guidance and is intended for guidance only. This blog is intended to assist you to make your own decisions and we will never suggest you use one provider over another.
You can call the MABS National Helpline on 0818 07 2000, Monday to Friday, from 9am to 8pm, WhatsApp 086 035 3141 or find the contact details for your local office.