×
Theherald

Has your car insurance permium just gone up? Here's how to get it down

Anyone who has, like me, recently received their motor insurance renewal maybe picking themselves up off the floor. - Sinead Ryan

Predictions of 15 to 20pc premium increases are not evenly spread out. Younger drivers in particular are seeing quotes for €3,000 to €4,000 where they might have paid €2,500 a few years ago.

Despite the EU gender directive which bans different pricing for men and women, the insurance industry's response in many instances is to increase everyone's premium because they know claims for young men are still higher than for women.

UPSWING

Other reasons for hikes include heavy losses being carried at major insurers including FED and RSA, not to mention the "Quinn levy" of 2pc added to all policies.

There has also been a rise in traffic volumes with the economic upswing, which means more crashes (51,083 more during 2013). Some 75pc of all journeys are still by car, and most accidents occur near home, not on dual carriageways or motorways.

The €1bn taken in annually in motor tax isn't ring-fenced for maintenance of our road network, but swiped for all kinds of government expenditure, leading to a deterioration in the quality of roads - which also causes accidents.

Another concern is the rise in the number of claims and amount of payouts. In 2003, the Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB) was set up to mediate with insurers and claimants and avoid costly court cases.

It worked, for a while, but people have drifted back to litigation in the hope of higher payouts.

One lawyer claimed that using the PIAB was akin to "cutting your own hair".

Hmmm. So everyone's premiums go up as a result.

All this means that it's no longer enough to simply shop around with the usual suspects to get a better quote.

Jonathan Hehir, who runs Coverinaclick.ie, says much of his business is now being covered by UK providers.

Certainly there are more unfamiliar insurers on the market, and I found myself going from A to Z when I received a very high renewal from Aviva and switched to Zenith. Never heard of them? Neither had I, but they saved me €80.

A decent broker will offer a range of options and you can design your own policy to include things such as roadside assist, a change in excess and no claims bonus protection.

Blue Insurance has recently offered a novel two-year product that at least locks in your rate, but what else can you do to keep costs down?

Simon Moynihan of Bonkers.ie says you should treat your renewal letter as a guide and play one insurer off the other.

"Sometimes just questioning the quote can lead to a reduction, and if you get a high quote it's not personal the insurer may just not like you, or your car, this time around".

BOOKIES

Insurance company actuaries are just like posh bookies and need to balance off the type of driver and car on their books.

A "high vehicle grouping" for example, bangers with big engines - are not desirable, even though they're worth very little.

Neither are young drivers. If a company has too many, it must charge all the safe middle-aged people more to compensate.

Another insurer may have an entirely different grouping of risk, but you won't know until you ask.

If you have, say, an alarm, immobiliser, garage, you can ask for a discount. Bundling policies home, car, health) can be cheaper too. Adding a second driver, bizarrely, can also drop your premium.

Comprehensive cover is worth it unless your car is worth little. Oh, and avoid penalty points - insurers hate them.

By using this website, you agree to be bound by our Terms of Use and consent to the use of cookies in accordance with our Cookie Policy.