Renewing your car insurance can end up being a bit of a box ticking exercise. But treating it like just another chore can mean it costs you more than it should. Here, comparison site mustard.co.uk, highlights four mistakes many of us make when it comes to renewing car cover; here’s what to avoid.
Some car insurance policies automatically renew. It means that when your current annual policy reaches its expiry date, a new one will take its place and run for another 12 months.
There’s nothing wrong with auto renewing but it just means you could be paying over the odds for your car insurance.
Car insurance is a hugely competitive market so even if you got a great deal last year, it doesn’t mean your insurer’s offering you the best deal this year.
Comparing car insurance quotes from a range of insurers means you can see what’s on offer, enabling you to find what you need at a price that fits your budget.
Your car insurance provider should send you a letter (or email) about four weeks before your policy is due to expire. If your policy is set to auto renew, it should also set out your new premium price.
This exit window is the ideal opportunity to start comparing quotes and will give you enough time to search and seamlessly switch insurers (if that’s what you decide to do).
Leaving it all to the last minute can mean you end up making hasty decisions and compromise on protection. So, while comparing the pros and cons of different policies is probably the last thing many of us want to do in our spare time, it can be the difference between settling for a policy and choosing one that gives you peace of mind.
By law, you have a 14 day cooling off period when you buy insurance. The 14 days starts from when the policy begins or from when you receive the policy documents (whichever is later). 
Cancelling within the cooling off period means you’ll get a refund minus any days the policy was active for. Depending on the insurer, you might also have to pay an admin fee.
Cancelling after the 14 days means you can expect to pay early exit as well as admin fees which can be a considerable sum.
It’s worth knowing that if you have a DirectDebit, cancelling this is not the same as cancelling the policy. Unless you’ve agreed to cancel the policy with your insurer, it will still be active. Cancelling the DirectDebit just means you’ve stopped the payments and the insurer can still chase you for what you owe.
If you decide to renew your policy with your existing insurer, be sure to let them know of any changes. This can include:
- A change of address
- A new job title
- A new car or modifications to your car
- Driving convictions earned in the last 12 months
- Penalty points earned in the last 12 months
- Changes in the circumstances of named drivers
Not letting your insurer know about any changes is classed as non-disclosure and it can invalidate your policy. That means if you make a claim, your insurer can refuse to pay out because you failed to keep them updated and the policy no longer reflects your circumstances or needs.
With budgets already stretched, many of us are looking for ways to keep costs down but that shouldn’t mean compromising on necessities like your car insurance; here’s what you can do instead:
- Pay for your policy in one go — it might be a big initial outlay but it means you avoid interest fees which saves you more in the long run.
- Increase your voluntary excess — this can lower your overall premium but it still needs to be affordable because you’ll need to pay it before a claim can go ahead.
- Invest in car security — you can shave a little off your premium by ensuring your car isn’t a target for theft, if you don’t have a garage or driveway, think about investing in an immobiliser.
- Compare quotes — this is by far the quickest and easiest way to make sure you get what you need at the most competitive price, so make the most of your exit window and compare what’s on offer at comparison sites like mustard.co.uk.