Car insurance is calculated on risk. Insurers heavily rely on statistical data which allows them to assess this risk by grouping you into certain pigeon holes. This data is based on the history of other drivers of a similar age, location, car type (and others), which are deemed similar to yourself. If you happen to have special circumstances and therefore fall outside any of these boxes, insurers will often flat out refuse to provide a quote, or will present you with overinflated, unaffordable premiums. In such circumstances you’ll need to consider looking for a specialist car insurance policy. The types of policy and circumstances in which they apply can vary, but we’ve compiled a guide of the most common deviations below
If you’re learning to drive through and instructor or driving school, you won’t need to worry about taking out insurance at this point. If you’re planning on learning via a family member or friend, they can add you to their insurance policy as a named driver, but the increase in premiums for an unqualified driver would likely be high. To combat this, a number of firms now offer learner driver insurance. This will effectively give you comprehensive cover to drive someone else’s car, giving you the flexibility to practice when you can. Further to this, many companies offer a discount on standard policy once you’ve passed your test and are ready to take to the road.
Newly qualified drivers pose a high risk for insurers. Statistics show that one in five has a crash within their first year. Also new drivers are responsible for a fifth of injury related collisions, even though they make up than less than ten per cent of road users. As a result, many mainstream providers will either refuse insurance, or increase premiums sky high to discourage new driver clientele. New drivers are therefore encouraged to seek policies specifically targeted at themselves, or ‘Black Box/Telematics’ insurance, which we’ll elaborate on below.
As with new drivers, young drivers are also considered high risk, and the statistics back this up. Anyone aged between seventeen and twenty-two can expect an insurance quote double to that of the ‘average’ motorist. Again, young drivers can turn to Black box/Telematics insurance to help keep costs to a minimum, but young drivers should also carefully consider their choice of car in order to keep things affordable.
Black box/Telematics insurance
This is relatively new, thanks to the advent of GPS and tracking technology. If you’re a careful, young driver, living in a high vehicle crime area; you may find your premiums are simply unaffordable. The problem with statistic based quotes is that they apply a broad framework of data based on other people, and completely disregard the individual being quoted for. This is where black box or telemetric insurance can come in to play. Basically the insurer fits a tracking device to your vehicle to monitor how, and where you drive. This allows the provider to build up a personal data set about you as a motorist and you’ll get a fairer premium as a result. This type of policy could reduce the costs for a number of motorists, but is particularly useful for new and young drivers, as well as drivers with a previous history of claims.
Lots of people like to modify their car, but insurers frown upon anything outside of the manufacturer’s specification. This is mainly due to the higher risk of theft and higher cost of repairs. If you’ve made modifications during an existing policy you should consult your insurer. It may be that your premium will increase, but failure to do so could void your contract when in need of a claim. Also, if you’ve added security features as the modifications, it’ll likely reduce your premium, so it’s always worth checking with your provider. If you’re yet to make the changes or take out a policy, you can shop around for something more specialist to get the best deal: but it’s advisable to calculate how much your insurance would be before and after vehicle modification to assess its worth, as even modest upgrades can have a surprising increase on the price of a premium.
Classic car insurance
Aside from enjoying free road tax, owners of ‘historic cars’ (pre-1975) can save money with a classic car insurance policy. Insurers assume that classic cars are better maintained, and drive fewer miles, and therefore prices are cheaper. Different providers have different classifications of what’s considered ‘classic’; with some labelling it as low as ten years, so it’s worth shopping around and looking into this if you’re car is 10 years or older.
Sports & Performance car insurance
Sports and high performance cars are particularly high risk due to their greater speeds and cost of repairs. No doubt you’ll be refused coverage from a standard policy, and will need to look for specialist cover. You can expect a high premium regardless, but if you’re young, new to driving, or accident prone you’ll need to be prepared to fork out extra to cover the additional risk you pose.
Imported car insurance
An increasing number of people are now importing cars from overseas. This has two benefits; price and vehicle specification. Unfortunately, imported cars require dedicated policies and can often be expensive depending on where you car is from. EU restrictions mean insurers can often offer competitive prices providing the car is within EU specifications. However, any cars falling outside of this, such as those imported from the USA or Japan, are likely to be very expensive to cover.
Kit car insurance
Kit cars are vehicles built from scratch. Unlike new cars, these often increase in value as they get older so you’ll want to look at buying a special policy for this. These policies add extra value as they often cover the parts whilst the vehicle is being assembled, as well as salvage retention cover, so you can recover any parts if the car is involved in an incident.
If you have more than one vehicle being used at your address, you should look into multi-car insurance. Aside from reducing the chore of renewing two policies separately and any paperwork attached, you can often save up to 15% if you have more than one vehicle insured on the same policy.
European car insurance
If you’re planning a road trip across Europe you’ll need to look into acquiring adequate insurance. First of all, does your policy cover you in Europe at all? Some don’t. Many others simply downgrade your insurance whilst abroad to the minimum legal requirement, meaning if you’re fully comp in the UK, you’ll only have third party cover in the EU. If this is a concern, you can look into a specialist European car insurance policy for full cover.
Short-term car insurance
Perhaps you’re borrowing a friend’s car, whilst yours is being fixed, or you want to insure yourself to drive your partner’s car whilst on holiday. Standard policies run for 12 months, but short-term cover give you added flexibility if you requirements are less. In the examples above, you could of course add to an existing policy, but short-term insurance can often work out cheaper and is worth looking into.
Business car insurance
Standard policies only cover use for domestic and social reasons, although most also cover travel to and from your place of work. Any other work related travel additional to this would be considered ‘business’ use and you will need a business car policy to match. Business cars fall into a number of different classes, so you should give careful consideration when looking at policies. Unfortunately you can expect to pay more than on a standard policy due to the greater mileage and risk, but at least you’ll be covered.