And remind you to come back at the right time year after year (if you want)
And whether you should check Direct Line. Plus we've links to other comparison sites
Should you add a responsible additional driver?
Can you try comprehensive cover? Many save £100s
Have you tried (legitimately) tweaking your job title? This can cut £100s off costs
Can you save with a multicar policy?
Searching doesn't, but taking out a policy might.
When you ask an insurer for a quote - whether directly or through a comparison site - you'll need to enter information such as your address, job, marital status and past claims history. The insurer then checks your credit file to make sure the information you've given is correct and you haven't been telling porkies.
Don't panic, though - this routine check is what's called a 'soft search' and leaves no permanent mark on your credit file. YOU WILL see it, but LENDERS WON'T - so it has no effect whatsoever on your chances of getting credit in future.
While the quote won't leave a mark, if you go on to take out an insurance policy and choose to pay in monthly instalments (as opposed to one lump sum upfront), this involves setting up a credit agreement. Paying monthly is essentially a loan where you pay interest on top and therefore it's seen the same as if you've applied for credit.
And as when applying for any type of credit, you will be credit-checked and a 'hard search' recorded on your credit file. Other lenders searching your file WILL be able to see this, as well as the credit agreement itself. All hard searches have a slight short-term negative impact on your ability to get credit in future, but it's only really a concern if you've a big credit application coming up, such as a mortgage.
Comparison sites are technically insurance marketplaces, as they are allowed to negotiate their own prices with insurers - on the condition that the insurer isn't allowed to make prices on comparisons higher than they would be on its own website. And as these negotiations are separate, insurers sometimes quote different prices on different comparison sites.
Plus, comparison sites don't feature exactly the same insurers. So it could be that your cheapest price is from an insurer that only appears on one comparison, rather than them all.
So it's best to use at least two comparisons, and more if you've time, to maximise your chances of getting a cheap quote.
Our analysis of over 70 million quotes from February 2020 to February 2021 from the four biggest comparison sites - Compare The Market, Confused.com, Gocompare and MoneySupermarket - showed a policy costs an average of £1,198 a year on renewal day. But 23 days earlier the average is just £694 a year, a MASSIVE £504 difference.
In general, the closer to your renewal date you get quotes, the more of a risk you're deemed to be (we've heard that it can show insurers you're a bit disorganised). But getting quotes too early, for example, 28+ days out, can also push the average price up - likely as fewer insurers will provide quotes that early.
Well - lots of clever things. But we would say that.
MSE has a policy of only using your data for the purpose you gave it to us for. So we simply use it to give you the answers you need from the tool you've signed up for. (That's unless you specifically say you want us to use it in future, or use it in our other tools so you don't have to form-fill).
In this case, you're filling in a MoneySupermarket question set, so it gets your data. However, as part of our arrangement with MoneySupermarket, it will only use that data for processing your car insurance quotes (unless you are already a MoneySupermarket customer and have given it permission to use the data for other purposes).
To process the quotes it has to pass on the information to third parties...
If a link has an * by it, it is an 'affiliated link' which helps MoneySavingExpert stay free to use, as it is tracked to us. If you go through it, it can sometimes result in a payment or benefit to the site. You shouldn't notice any difference and the link will never negatively affect the product. Plus the editorial line (the things we write) is NEVER impacted by these links.
If it isn't possible to get an affiliate link for a particular insurer or comparison site, it is still included in exactly the same way, just with a non-paying link. For more details, read How this site is financed.
Car insurance can be expensive, though this tool's designed to get you the cheapest quote possible. Yet slashing car insurance costs isn't the only way you can save money on motoring. Our comprehensive guides can help you save:
Plus we've many more Motoring MoneySavers.
Simple - if you don't want to move, use the results from this tool to haggle with your existing insurer.
Ask your insurer to match the cheapest quote / best deal you get from here. For full help, and tips to maximise your chances of a discount, see Car & home insurance haggling.
If Direct Line is shown as 'likely to provide a quote that's materially cheaper' it means that based on our analysis and segmentation of independent, monthly-updated insurance industry data, your quote from it is likely to be either £10 or 5% cheaper (whichever is the smaller amount) - see the FAQ below for more info on how we segment this data in to different profiles to allow us to compare it.
We put it at this amount as we recognise that to go off to site to put in your details takes time and effort. So we tried to put a value on that time and effort - how much would you need to save to make it worth it?
We could have set 'materially cheaper' at 1p difference, though it's unlikely many would spend several minutes filling in a form to save this amount. Instead, we thought £10 or 5% of the average quote for people in your profile was a fairer number - an amount that would make spending the time more worth it.
So, if your results, for example, say that you're likely to get a materially cheaper quote from Direct Line, that means we think that site has a strong chance of being cheaper than MoneySupermarket for people in your profile.
Do note that this isn't comparing the real-time benchmark quote this tool gives you with anything real-time from Direct Line. The 'materially cheaper' likelihood is based on the monthly-updated industry data and so is an estimate of how likely it is that it will usually be cheaper than MoneySupermarket for people in your profile group.
The first thing to note is that this tool isn't comparing the benchmark cheapest quote you get from filling in the MoneySupermarket form with Direct Line in real time.
We give you a benchmark quote so that when you try our tips and tricks to tweak your cover, you can check if following those tips actually does make those quotes cheaper for you.
Yet, when it comes to recommending whether Direct Line is likely to be materially cheaper for you, we have to do a different calculation. It wouldn't be fair to compare a real-time quote from one comparison site with historic data we have about another insurer's quotes. So, we don't do this.
Instead, for the 'is this site likely to give a materially cheaper quote' question, we use monthly-updated data from MoneySupermarket and Direct Line and compare that data. It works like this...
We use some of the data that you enter in to the MoneySupermarket form to match you to one of several risk 'profiles', which are defined using data from an independent insurance analyst company. We then analyse which of MoneySupermarket and Direct Line returned the cheapest quotes for your profile in that month's data.
If the chances of Direct Line being cheap for your profile are high, then we tell you it's likely to be 'materially cheaper' than MoneySupermarket (though remember it's not comparing your actual cheapest benchmark quote that you get through this tool). We'd then suggest that you go to that insurer to get quotes from it. (Materially cheaper here means that the data model shows a particular site is likely to be either £10 or 5% cheaper - whichever is the smaller amount - than MoneySupermarket for people in your profile).
Yet, if MoneySupermarket is likely to have the cheapest quotes for people in your profile and Direct Line doesn't have a high chance of being materially cheaper, we'd suggest you only try it if you had time and wanted to do a full 'belt-and-braces' check - as we can never categorically it won't be cheaper, only when it is and isn't likely based on the monthly-updated industry data.
The data is collected by an independent company which runs quotes monthly on major comparison sites' and insurers' websites for a market representative set of risk profiles and records the quotes offered by each. Its monthly data is collected across each calendar month, and is then processed and checked before being sent to us. It's then uploaded in to the tool within 10 days of collection.
We include links to other comparison sites within the tool, though we don’t always have access to their data. Where this happens, we tell you to check if you have time, and give a general order for which might be cheapest based on independent insurance industry data, the same as we do in our Cheap car insurance guide on the MoneySavingExpert site.
Why can't you give me an actual price for Direct Line or the comparison sites you mention in the Compare+ tool?
We can't legally get and publish price data from a comparison site without its permission. We would love to include prices from the main comparison sites in our search but they have to agree to it.
MoneySupermarket is part of the same parent group as MoneySavingExpert so it was the easy start point. We have asked other big comparison sites to join - some have given us an outright "no" and some are mulling it. We do have one insurer we're working with, so - in the near future - if you click through to it, some of its question set will be partially filled in.
Of course, in line with the MSE Editorial Code, we do mention other comparison sites that might be cheaper for you, and give you a general order of which to try them, much as we have done for years in our main car insurance guide.
We hope to integrate comparison sites more fully into this tool, but doing this would mean deploying very substantial tech and data resources as they all use different question sets, compliance rules, and ways of publishing, and these all change on a regular basis. It will need a lot of brain power, development work and ongoing management - but we believe it will be better for you, so we hope to make it happen. Watch this space.
There can be a few reasons for this, including:
If you're struggling to find affordable - or indeed any - cover, try a specialist insurance broker. You can find one through the British Insurance Brokers' Association website.
Telematics is a policy that prices your premiums depending on how you drive. A device - known as a black box - installed in your car monitors your actions behind the wheel so the better your driving, the less you pay for cover. Sometimes insurers will measure your driving via an app on your phone rather than installing a box in your car.
If you are confident that you can drive well, you can earn £100s back on your cover via a telematics policy. Be warned, however, that driving badly could see your premiums increase.
It may not just be about how you drive either. Some insurers could factor in when, or how far, you drive too when working out premiums. In these cases, driving at night often pushes up premiums, as does driving long distances regularly.
If you have quotes that involve a telematics device, always make sure you're aware exactly what you're being measured on.
The compulsory excess is set by the insurer, and this is the amount that you will need to contribute in case of a claim. Often this is set at £100 or £250.
The voluntary excess, as the name suggests, is down to you. But be careful when deciding your excess. The larger the voluntary excess you set, the cheaper the premium usually is.
However, if you did need to claim, you'd need to pay the total amount of both excesses before the insurer would start to pick up costs. So if you had a £250 compulsory excess and a £250 voluntary excess, then you'd need to pay the first £500 of any claim. If the claim total exceeded this, the insurer would need to pay for the rest.
Once you've found a cheap quote that you're happy with, there are a few things to check...
Policies don't have to cost a fortune