Money: More savings than the sales
You'd be better off making yourself a safe bet for insurers
Sunday 25 January 1998
Insurers are predicting potentially big increases in car and home insurance payments this year, as premiums are set to increase by as much as 10 per cent.
For the last few years premiums have tumbled, largely as a result of competition. As insurers have battled to undercut each other, some consumers have been able to save hundreds of pounds. But insurance is a cyclical business. As long as claims remain low, insurers can afford to slash prices. But once the cost of claims starts to rise, pressure on premiums follows, and inevitably policyholders face paying more.
Home owners and motorists need not be out of pocket, however. Even if your existing insurer is increasing its premiums, with a bit of common sense and shopping around you can ensure that you are not paying more for your insurance in 1998.
Insurers offer lower premiums to customers they feel are "less of a risk". This will depend on factors such as where you live, how old you are, even if you are male or female. There is little you can do to change this, but there are steps you can take to make yourself a safer bet for insurers - and save pounds on your premiums.
Most claims on household contents policies are for theft. By beefing up your home security this risk is reduced and insurers will offer discounts off their normal premiums. On the average contents policy costing around pounds 100, it is possible to make savings of up to 30 per cent.
According to a recent survey by the AA, which now offers a range of insurance policies, most UK homes have only very basic security. Only seven homes in 100 have burglar alarms. Most insurers, including Norwich Union, Guardian Insurance, Eagle Star and Direct Line, offer discounts between 5 and 15 per cent for fitting an alarm system.
David Ross, a spokesman for Guardian Insurance, says: "We offer a 7.5 per cent discount for customers with alarms. But, like most insurers, we insist that the alarm is set-up by a Nacoss [National Approval Council of Security Systems] approved installer."
This can be expensive. For an average saving of pounds 30 a year home owners could find they are paying upwards of pounds 400 to install an approved alarm. But if you already have an alarm, you should check your insurer is giving you the appropriate discount.
Security need not cost an arm and a leg, however. Some insurers, such as Norwich Union, will offer customers their own alarms for as little as pounds 5 a month. Insurers also offer discounts for window locks and deadlocks. These can be bought cheaply and can entitle you to roughly the same discount.
Graham Seward, underwriting manager at Eagle Star, says: "We offer a 15 per cent discount if home owners fit these locks. Of course, if they have an alarm as well, they can get an even bigger discount."
Even joining a neighbourhood watch scheme can result in a 5 per cent saving on your contents cover.
Motor insurers will also offer discounts if alarms or immobilisers are fitted. Immobilisers can be fitted quite cheaply, for as little as pounds 130. Insurers also encourage drivers to join Tracker, the stolen vehicle recovery system. This can wipe 10 per cent off your premium costs but, with costs starting at pounds 234 just to fit the system, plus a minimum annual charge of pounds 94, many motorists do not feel the discounts are justified.
Another good way to get your premium down is to opt for a higher excess. Most contents policies have a standard excess of pounds 50 which means you pay the first pounds 50 of any claim. But if you don't mind being subject to a higher excess, say pounds 100 or pounds 250, insurers will automatically knock between 5 and 10 per cent off your premium.
It is also possible to get a discount if you take out your buildings and contents insurance with the same insurer. These discounts are often only 3 per cent, but it does also mean that you will only pay one excess if you are claiming on both policies.
It is worth asking whether your insurer offers a no-claims discount as this can reduce your premium significantly over a number of years. Eagle Star will offer a 25 per cent discount after five claim-free years.
Car owners can also save money by restricting the number of insured drivers. Just one named driver could result in a 20 per cent saving. Many motor insurers also offer a 10 per cent discount for paying the premium in full, rather than spreading the cost throughout the year.
But perhaps the best way still to save money is to put in a few calls both to direct insurers and to a couple of good insurance brokers (who will not sell direct policies). Although it is hotly denied, some insurers' first question is still: "What have you already been quoted?" Claims may be driving up prices but insurers still want to hang on to their customers.
This is particularly true in the motor market. According to the AA, drivers can save as much as pounds 150 simply by putting a few calls in. And many insurance brokers can find cheaper deals for non-standard risks, such as younger drivers or drivers with a number of previous claims.
Many home owners are still paying over the odds by insuring their house contents with their mortgage lender. Rebecca Hadley, a spokeswoman with AA Insurance, says: "We estimate that householders can save pounds 1,200 over the life of their mortgage if they place this cover with a general insurer rather than a bank or building society."
13 September 2014 12:00 AM
30 August 2014 12:00 AM
05 September 2014 11:30 PM
30 August 2014 12:00 AM
The UK has slipped to 11th in the latest European league table of savers. Rob Griffin checks out the best options
22 August 2014 10:30 PM
Caroline Flint, the shadow energy secretary, says a Labour government would create a new energy regulator
22 August 2014 10:30 PM
16 August 2014 12:00 AM
16 August 2014 12:00 AM
- 1 Rihanna 'nude photos' claims emerge on 4Chan as hacking scandal continues
- 2 Frank Lampard equalises for Manchester City against Chelsea: how Twitter reacted
- 3 Kim Kardashian 'nude photos' leaked on 4chan weeks after Jennifer Lawrence scandal
- 4 Free U2 album: How the most generous giveaway in music history turned PR disaster
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish referendum results: Cross-party consensus collapses amid Tory-Labour spat on the 'English question'
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Hilary Mantel 'should be investigated by police' over Margaret Thatcher assassination story, says Lord Bell
Plebgate MP Andrew Mitchell called officer a 'little s**t', claim court documents 'exposing ex-Chief Whip's 'record of abusing police'
Archbishop of Canterbury admits doubts about existence of God
iJobs Money & Business
£400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: **URGENT CONTRACT ROLE**...
Up to £100k or £450p/d: Saxton Leigh: My client is a leading commodities tradi...
£320 - £330 per day: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group have been engaged by a l...
To £75,000 + Pension + Benefits + Bonus: Saxton Leigh: My client is looking f...
Day In a Page
A six-bedroom terraced house with large south-facing roof terrace, cinema room and wine cellar
A new seven-bedroom home built in Queen Anne-style with swimming pool and parkland views in Mortimer
A listed, four-bedroom farmhouse in the rural hamlet of Rushall with detached barn, four acres of gardens and paddocks
A first-floor flat with two bedrooms, a spacious reception room and communal grounds in a leafy part of London
A three-bedroom flat with a spacious rootop terrace and balcony, accessed from a private gated courtyard
A Grade II-listed pile with six bedrooms, stables and 39 acres of grounds in Standlake
A two-bedroom flat with boutique hotel-style interiors, close to the foodie haunt of West End Lane
A two-bedroom flat in a beautiful old vicarage, with many original features, close to the city centre
A three-bedroom 16th-century home with an aga kitchen, private gardens and heated outdoor pool, in Hadleigh
A three-bedrom home in sought-after Queen's Gate Mews, with Italian marble-finished bathrooms
Surrounded by glorious countryside in the village of Udimore, sits this impressive four-kiln oast and barn conversion
A five-bedroom house in the picturesque village of Kettlewell, north Yorkshire
An 18th-century former coaching inn with original staircase, open fireplaces and beams throughout
A Grade II-listed Georgian town house with three bedrooms and a south-facing courtyard, near Arundel Castle
Feel on top of the world at this über chic penthouse on the 37th floor of one of Europe’s tallest blocks.
A Grade II-listed Victorian villa with six bedrooms and two further cottages, all with spectacular sea views
A grade II-listed, Georgian cottage with mature 50ft garden, perfect for summer entertaining
A magnificent Georgian pile with turrets, seven bedrooms, a heated pool and four acres of gardens
Fairoak Farm has five bedroom suites, gym, outdoor swimming pool and golf course
Chic two-bedroom river-fronted flat with a private lift that delivers you directly to your home
A spectacular seven-bedroom Tudor pile, once owned by Henry VIII, with 18 acres of land
A seven-bedroom Georgian property previously used as a picturesque wedding venue
A split-level flat in a church conversion with two en suite bedrooms and 1,200sq ft of living space
A three-bedroom bungalow situated behind an impressive stone wall, £645,000
Windsor Castle overlooks this three-bedroom Victorian cottage located on one of Windsor's smartest roads
Chapel House is a former vicarage with nine bedrooms in the beautiful Upper Wye Valley
A five-bedroom B&B and separate owner's accomodation with potential for conversion
Enjoy summer by the Thames in this two double-bedroom converted warehouse in Rotherhithe village
A one-bedroom, luxury apartment with private gym and concierge service in Moorgate
A four-bedroom house in Hermitage Gardens with three reception rooms and landscaped gardens
A seven-bedroom Grade II-listed property with a separate self-contained apartment
A five-bedroom Victorian house with three reception rooms and galleried landing, £695,000
A six-bedroom farmhouse with five acres of land in a former cloth-making village
A secluded seven-bedroom detached house with large private garden, £490,000
A three-bedroom cottage overlooking Sarratt village green with open fires and solid oak floors
A three-bedroom maisonette flat in a Grade I-listed, Georgian townhouse in a sought-after location
A one-bedroom apartment located within a private gated development, north of Turnham Green
Look forward to a brighter future at two-bedroom Sunny Cottages, ideal for Londoners looking to downsize