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Car insurance is usually one of the most expensive aspects of owning a car. However, as having at least third party car insurance is a legal requirement to drive a car on UK roads, it cannot be avoided.
What you can do though is try to find ways to make your premium lower and easier to manage. One of the ways you can do that is to renew your car insurance at the ideal time. We’ve done some research to find out when that might be.
Most car insurance policies offer annual cover, meaning they start on the date you choose, and expire exactly a year later.
Lately, more insurers have started offering rolling monthly contracts, but the majority still stick to an annual renewal date.
This means that, on the date your policy expires, you are no longer covered and driving your car on the road becomes illegal. You must either renew your policy before it expires, take out an alternative one or register your car as SORN (off the road).
There is no definitive answer to this, although most agree that renewing early can save you a lot of money.
A recent study found that renewing your car insurance at least 8 days before it expires can save you as much as 28%, while a separate study from 2019 found that renewing between 20 and 26 days before the expiry date can save you up to a whopping 40%.
Another thing to consider is that, rather than just automatically renewing with your existing provider, have a look around to see if someone else can offer you the same policy terms for a lower premium. Even if you’d rather stay with your insurer, you can use this information to negotiate a better deal.
Your insurance company will likely email you with a reminder that you need to renew your policy a few weeks before its expiry date.
If you are enrolled onto auto-renewal, you will get a notice saying your policy will renew on the stated date and the new rate of your premium.
In many cases, you will be enrolled onto the insurance company’s auto-renewal programme when you first take out your cover. This means your policy will continue with the same conditions as before, rather than expire on the date stated in your policy documents.
It’s best to opt out of this or switch it off before the end of your policy term, as you’ll often end up paying more for your policy if it renews automatically.
Note that if you cancel after your policy renews, you may have to pay a cancellation fee if you then decide to change providers, so make sure you do your research early.
You can usually renew your policy by contacting your insurer directly. The methods available vary by company, but most offer a customer service phone line and email address for customer queries.
In an increasingly digital world, many insurance companies now offer online portals or handy phone apps, where you can manage your policy. You should be able to renew through these services.
That said, consider shopping around for a better deal before you renew with your existing provider. That way, even if you don’t actually want to switch, you can use the prices you found to negotiate with your insurer.
Yes, as stated above, renewing early can save you money.
Opinions vary on the exact date, but around 25 days before the policy’s expiry date seems to be the best bet. If that sounds a little too early for you, anything over 8 days early can also save you some cash.
Your car insurance is affected by a variety of factors, and so your insurance company might not be able to price your renewal correctly if you try to renew too far in advance. Up to a month before the policy’s expiry date is recommended.
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