Car insurance is one of life's necessary annoyances. The majority of us will never have need for it but every one of us needs it and most of those needing it will get fleeced in one way or another if we are not very careful.
It seems the high profile amongst us, such as famous footballers and television presenters, get away with many misdemeanours on the road that the rest of us would get lifetime bans for. But this is not the only frustrating thing.
Car insurance premiums rose by 2.4% I the last quarter of 2007 and this is across the board, regardless of age, gender or postcode. Many people prefer to stick with the same car insurance company for many years but this loyalty is mis-placed. Shop around for the best premium you can get. There is no point throwing our hard earned money away.
We all know that on a car insurance application form you will be asked what you do for a living. This is because high risk jobs come with a higher insurance premium and failure to declare such things can result in your insurance being invalid.
Jobs that involve a lot of night time driving or where the insured person carries expensive equipment, are likely to see higher premiums than office based staff. This is understandable, as is the fact that those at either extreme of the age issue will also see different premiums and postcode is also an attributing factor. This is because some areas are much more prone to car crime.
Gender will also have an effect on how much you pay for your car insurance. Despite women being statistically less likely to make a claim, it is not always easy for us to get a competitive quote. There are now complete car insurance companies set up exclusively for women but these are not always the cheapest.
When it comes to young people, parents often help their children with car insurance. In fact, six out of ten parents say they would insure their child's car in their own name with the child being named as a second driver. It was news to me to see that this practice of 'fronting' is actually illegal! It can lead to a cancellation of the policy along with fines. Once you have had a policy cancelled, it then becomes notoriously difficult to get cover again.
The onus is on every driver to ensure they are as open and honest as possible with insurers but it is also important to keep on top of the insurance companies who can sometimes employ underhanded tactics to save themselves money.
When a car is written off, the car insurance is there to pay for a similar car in similar condition - to replace what you had. In effect, they will often shave off hundreds of pounds from the total you are entitled to by quoting a trade price. This is unrealistic because the general public will not get a car at this price and if you feel the payout is unfair, then you should complain before accepting any payment.
Another of their devious ways to save money is to automatically send a cheque with a letter stating that that once the cheque is cashed, the payout is accepted and non-arguable. They know full well that holding that cheque in your hands after experiencing the inconvenience of being without a car for so long is very tempting and they bank on the great British way o f taking the money then quietly grumbling to themselves after the event.
In this time of ever increasing living expenses, we have to take financial matters into our own hands and stop letting things ride. This includes taking charge of our car insurance and finding the best deal possible, without leaving ourselves in a situation where we could be deprived of what we are entitled to.
Insurance expert Catherine Harvey looks at the aspects we should check up to save money on car insurance policies.