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Cutting the cost of your car

It now costs around £7,000 a year to own and run a car – that’s 27% of your annual income!

Petrol prices are also slowly on the rise again meaning the cost of running a car could rise too

Cutting back the cost of your car is a great way to save money and luckily there are actually LOADS of ways to cut the cost of motoring…

 Things you need to know

  • The biggest way to cut the cost of your car is to make sure you never auto-renew your car insurance and shop around every year for a better deal
  • Research out last year said that 8.2 million(2) drivers had auto-renewed their car insurance in the last 12 months –wasting up to £220 a year
  • When you take out your car insurance, play with the variables to cut your premium even more
  • Shopping around for your petrol COULD save you significant amounts throughout the year. Sometimes there can be a difference of around 5 pence per litre between different forecourts
  • Look out for supermarket offers – spending £50 in store and receiving 5p off a litre is ALWAYS worth doing
  • Liftsharing companies are still relatively new, but could be right up your street (pun intended!). Liftshare.com say that the average saving is £800 a year!
  • If you spend a fortune on parking, try parkopedia.com who can give you information on parking charges in the area (including free street parking)
  • Have a look at your Council’s MOT test centre. You MAY find they work out cheaper as they are not attached to a garage and so are less likely to find unnecessary faults. You can find them by Googling your local council and MOT test centre eg. ‘Leeds MOT Centre’.

Black box technology

  • Some insurers now offer Black Box technology (also called telematics) to reward good drivers by lowering premiums by, on average, 25%
  • Black box insurance works by having a small device (about the size of an iPhone) fitted into your car, usually just below the dashboard. You will need a professional to install it and it can take around an hour and a half
  • Watch out – some insurers will charge you for having the black box fitted so check this when you are comparing deals
  • The device records your speed, distance travelled, number of journeys, time of day or night you drive, type of roads driven on and even how much you brake or how you handle corners. It is designed to build up a full picture of you as a driver to assess the likelihood of you having an accident or breaking the law
  • If you are viewed to be a good driver (this usually means driving fewer miles on dangerous roads, not driving too much at night and not breaking the speed limit) then you can achieve lower premiums
  • Many black box providers charge premiums on a monthly basis so that they can be adjusted to reward good drivers or punish bad
  • There are a number of specialist telematics providers but most of the big insurers are also offering black boxes now too
  • However, it is important to shop around if you want a black box as each insurer will have slightly different ‘rules’ and limits on peak-time driving and what they will charge per mile
  • Black box technology is GREAT for people who have high premiums – young drivers, new drivers, people with penalty points or drivers who have previously been banned. This is because an insurer will assume that you are high risk and charge you a high premium but a black box gives you the opportunity to prove that you are a safe driver and deserve a lower premium
  • Once you have proved that you are a good driver, an insurer could then reward you with ‘bonus miles’ so that you can drive longer distances without being punished by a higher premium
  • We think black box technology COULD be brilliant (especially for young drivers) but you have to play by the rules.  We suggest testing yourself first with a FREE smartphone app.

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