Our little family car took its last journey last week, a visit to the scrap yard for a distinguished burial. It had become unreliable and uneconomical to keep repairing. We were going to treat ourselves to something that didn’t require an hour’s notice period before starting up in the mornings.
Finding ourselves in this strange and unfamiliar land of roadworthy vehicles, we started to discuss what we needed from our new car. Surprisingly (not) the factor that kept being overwhelmingly important was how much it was going to cost to run it. Gas, insurance, tolls and taxes all add up and we were already looking at ways we could bring our household outgoings down.
Fuel economy was an obvious place to begin, but insurance had also been a big expense on our last car, the older it got, the less ‘eco’ it got and the higher the premium went, despite us staying accident free. It started me on a quest to look into what factors would help us to gain a favourable quote with the insurers.
Typically people expect the cars with smaller engines to be cheaper to insure, these were out of the question for us anyway, a smaller engine usually also meant a smaller car in general, not really suitable for family living, children, pushchairs and other family paraphernalia. However, it turns out to be the reverse; very small cars are more expensive to insure, because they are not as safe as larger cars. Don’t go too far in the opposite direction though, SUVs are high-rate vehicles as well, because they cause more damage to the other car in the case of an accident.
It emerged that whatever car I was going to choose said a lot about me as a driver. Rather obviously the flashy red sports car wasn’t going to scream ‘careful lady driver’ to insurers. Safe and sensible with the family in a typical 4 door saloon car helped to bring the premiums down. We all know how it works: The faster the engine, the more that premium climbs.
Another factor in insurance is the cost to repair. Cars with expensive parts will drive up the insurance quote because it is going to cost them more if you ever do make a claim. The things you should look for if you want a lower rate are safety, reliability, cost to repair, and price.
Next I was advised to take a look at what the insurers already knew about the cars I was looking at. All insurance is based on statistics and probability and the insurers will know plenty about which car is more likely to get stolen, which car is more likely to survive a crash and what safety and security features actually make a difference.
Using online insurance sites such as Budget Direct meant that I was able to enter all these variables to see the difference in the quotes before I made our big decision. Happily, we are now the proud owners of a not too flashy new car that I am currently still enforcing the ‘no eating inside of’ rule, so lovely is its clean interior – how long this will last remains to be seen…