Insurance - Understanding Car Insurance Options

Understanding car insurance options

The average car insurance premium in the UK has risen by nearly six per cent in one year according to the Sainsbury`s Car Insurance Index. It shows that premiums leapt by 5.8 per cent between July 2007 and June 2008 with massive differences based on age groups - 17-24 year olds paying an average premium of 1,249.56 compared to just 347.45 among the 50+ age group.

With such huge premium differences it`s vital that you shop around to get the right level of cover for your needs - at the right price.

What types of car insurance are available?

  • Young driver car insurance
    Young drivers typically face higher premiums than more experienced drivers due to their inexperience on the road and the higher accident rates among young people. Many insurers now offer policies specifically designed for young drivers including rapid bonus schemes that allow you to build up a full year`s no-claims bonus in just nine months. These policies include a choice of third party, third party fire and theft and comprehensive cover.
  • New driver car insurance
    Statistics show that new drivers make more car insurance claims than drivers with more experience, and this is reflected in the size of their car insurance premiums. Some insurers will be more sympathetic to new drivers than others, so the advice is to shop around. New drivers can also take advantage of rapid bonus schemes and pass plus discounts.
  • Women`s car insurance
    Offered by the likes of Sheila`s Wheels, Diamond, Ladybird and More Th>n, women`s car insurance consists of policies especially designed for female motorists. According to Home Office statistics, women have a driving record that is superior to that of their male counterparts and so they are rated as less of an insurance risk. As a result some car insurance companies have branded themselves as specialist women`s car insurance providers, claiming that they can offer cheaper quotes than conventional car insurance companies can, coupled with female-friendly incentives such as handbag cover and female-friendly repairers.
  • Over 50s car insurance
    Policies designed for the over 50s are available from the likes of Castle Cover and Saga. Car insurance companies who offer specialist policies for the over 50 age group claim to offer more competitive quotes due to the fact that older drivers are typically involved in fewer accidents.
  • Insurance for specialist vehicles
    There are also specialist policies for classic and vintage cars, off road vehicles, kit cars and more. Adrian Flux, Performance Direct, Lancaster Insurance and Footman James, amongst others, can generally offer more competitive premiums for specialist vehicles than conventional insurers can. This isn`t always the case, so shop around but remember that specialist insurers are more likely to offer cover that is designed with the needs of this type of car owner in mind.

How does the claims process work?

Notify your car insurance company as soon as you can - most insurers have a dedicated 24 hour claims line. You may be asked to complete an accident report form, but a phonecall should be enough to set all the wheels in motion. Ask your insurer what supporting documentation they need - if possible supply as much evidence as you can, including photographs and witness contact details if available.

Don`t get the repairs done without consulting your insurer first. If you use your insurer`s approved repair centre you may find that the claims process is quicker and simpler

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