Top tips for cheaper car insurance
BY NATHALIE BONNEY BY
Annual car insurance premiums rose by up to 40% over the year ending 31 March 2011, according to the AA’s British Insurance Premium Index. One likely factor is the impact of referral fees, which Moneywise investigated last month.These are charged between claims management companies, insurance companies and lawyers after a car accident, with costs typically passed on to the consumer.
In a crackdown on the growing ‘compensation culture’, the government has announced it will ban these fees. Although good news, without referral fees boosting their coffers there is concern that insurers will further hike up insurance premiums. What then can we do to curtail our car insurance costs?
Telematics A telematics, or black box, installed into your car monitors how good a driver you are; for a young driver this can be a great way of reducing car insurance premiums. Low-mileage drivers can also benefit from installing the technology as the box monitors how many miles they drive to confirm that they are indeed ‘low-use’ drivers.This allows them to take out a cheaper policy, provided they drive less than 6,000 miles a year.
Compare and switch Rolling your policy over from one year to the next is convenient but not cost-effective.The insurance market is jostling with competition and insurers concentrate on attracting new customers with cheaper premiums. Use a few different comparison sites to get an idea of the prices on offer.
Add another driver Adding an older, more experienced driver to your policy brings down the cost. But don’t be tempted to name an older driver as the main driver when they’re not – known as fronting, this is illegal and would render a claim void.You don’t necessarily have to add an older driver to your policy to see the costs come down. For example, a ‘risky’ young male driver could add his girlfriend to reduce his premium.
Ecclesiastical Investment Management Limited
A SERIOUSLY GOOD A SERIOUSLY GOOD
FUND WINTER WARMERS
ONE THING TO DO THIS MONTH...
Cut your winter energy bills
BY NATHALIE BONNEY BY
The days are getting shorter, temperatures are dropping and heating bills are rising, so now is the time to sort out your energy bills for the oncoming winter to ensure you’re not paying more than you need to.
1 Move to a fix There has been a lot of talk about fixing your energy deal, which would mean even if rates go up further you wouldn’t be hit by price hikes. Although a sensible idea in theory, if prices start to fall you could be tied into what turns out to be a relatively expensive deal. Prices are also usually slightly more expensive for a fixed deal.
For example, the cheapest dual fixed tariff is currently the Scottish Power Online Fixed Price Energy December 2012 at £1,015 for a year’s gas and electricity for an average-sized home (paying by monthly direct debit), compared to the cheapest dual non-fix deal from nPower – Sign Online 23 – at £983.
2 Change tariffs Moving off the standard tariff will always save you money. Paying by direct debit with an online plan and opting for dual fuel bills are the most commonly cited ways to reduce your tariff costs.
Depending on how much gas and electricity you actually use, you might be able to shave off a proportion of the costs with an economy energy plan, while elderly or ‘fuel poor’ customers may be eligible for special tariffs.
3 Switch providers Moneywise.co.uk users save an average of £252 on their annual energy bills by changing provider through our online Compare and Switch service. Go to moneywise.co.uk/compare or call 0800 542 7157.
4 Look further afield It’s not all about size.The big providers are often slated for poor customer service. For instance, complaints data from Consumer Focus shows that EDF Energy has been voted the worst service provider in the energy market.
So why not consider some of the smaller providers, which can be just as competitive as the Big Six? Ovo,The Co-operative Energy and First Utility are names to look out for. Ovo’s new energy fixed deal costs £1,050 (based on an average-sized home).
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Ecclesiastical Financial Advisory Services Ltd. (EFAS) Reg. No. 2046087 is registered in England at Beaufort House, Brunswick Road, Gloucester, GL1 1JZ, UK and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority. *Source – Citywire for the 3 years to 31 August 2011, Robin had a Citywire AA-rating based on his risk adjusted performance.