Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Car Insurance: factors that affect your premium

Making sure that you have the correct car insurance can be a complex business because you are asked all kinds of questions and don't always know whether your answers are 'good' or 'bad'. Of course, honesty is the best policy, but it is reassuring to know what factors you will actually be judged on and whether you can do anything to improve your chances of a good quote.

Insurers may of course differ slightly in their views, based on which statistics they consult, but there are at least some guidelines. It is generally agreed that young men are the highest risk group for insurers. It doesn't take a flight of fancy to work out why - all you need to do is look around on a Friday night and spot all the young men driving too fast and showing off. Young women, in contrast, do not usually drive as far or, more controversially, as recklessly. That is why it is usually cheaper to get insurance if you are under 25 and a woman, rather than under 25 and a man. This may seem unfair if you are a sensible, young male driver, but there you are - statistics are not on your side. Young men - and women - can reduce their car insurance by taking an advanced driving course.

Older women continue to be offered 'a better deal' by certain insurance companies that target women. However, there is considerable debate about whether these quotes are better value for money than unisex rates. Is it just a triumph of marketing or a genuinely good deal based on statistics? As more women take up driving and cover greater distances for work, it seems likely that trends will change and women will no longer be considered 'safer drivers'.

Where you live also makes a difference - even if you don't think your 'new' area is any more or less safe than your last. Some areas simply have a higher rate of vehicle thefts, and in some cases, your premium may actually rise because it is a 'nicer' area. This is because the total value of crime in the area might be higher - because there are quality goods to vandalise/steal. If you are considering moving, it is worth checking how this will affect your car insurance People living in rural areas generally pay less than people living in congested cities.

A cheaper car predictably costs less to insure than a status symbol motor. It is a little mean to suggest that you shouldn't buy the car of your dreams, but if you do, at least consider whether you can lock it up safely in a garage at night - with an anti-theft device attached. These precautions will help to offset the higher cost of the premium.

Understanding factors that affect your car insurance is a good way to work towards a cheaper quote, so it's not so complex after all.

Elisha Burberry is an online, freelance journalist and keen traveller and watersports enthusiast. Originally from Scotland, she now resides in London.

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