Your car insurance renewal date is rarely a source of celebration. However, if you play your cards right, it needn’t be a cause of major consternation either. There are a number of ways in which you can reduce the cost of your policy, without spending hours or significantly lowering your level of cover. So to help you save money on your car insurance, follow these eight simple tips.

1. Don’t automatically renew your policy

Many people feel that it would be prohibitively difficult to switch insurers, or that they may miss out on accrued no claims bonuses. However, any such concerns are largely unfounded. Take a look around, see what else is available. There’s a chance that you’ll find that your current insurer is already extremely competitive and any move would be largely unnecessary, but, as with most things in life, you’ll never know until you look. So even if it’s only for peace of mind or perhaps you’ve received a recommendation from a friend, why not see if the grass is greener elsewhere. Changing insurers is generally straightforward. While it may take a couple of calls, just to ensure you don’t have overlapping policies, the rest is largely automated.

2. Review your existing policy

Plenty of us have hurriedly completed a car insurance form or renewed without thinking about the cost or any changes in circumstances that occurred in the previous 12 months; however, this could well be a mistake. Let’s say you built a garage and now keep your car safely locked away at night. If your insurer still thinks you’re parking it on the street, your policy will continue to reflect this. As this is seen as a greater risk, you could end up paying more unnecessarily. It’s a simple oversight, but one that may be costing you year after year.

Equally, you may have changed jobs in the past few months. If this is the case and you no longer use your vehicle to get to work, then make sure this is amended within your policy.  Even if you do still drive, it may well be that the commute is shorter or you’re deemed to have a ‘safer’ job. Either way, updating your policy to reflect your current status could help shave off a few more pennies. So always double check before resubmitting.

3. Remove any named drivers who aren’t using the car

This is something of a rarity, but if you decided to add a sibling, friend or other member of your family and have just kept them named out of convenience – perhaps now is the time to remove them. If they aren’t going to be driving your vehicle and you’re not benefiting from their continued inclusion, then there’s no reason for them to stay on the policy.

4. Compare policy quotes

Assuming you’ve weighed up your existing policy and know what to include and what to remove, now might be a good time to see what other insurers can offer. While you are likely to be charged for jumping ship before your policy is due to be renewed, you’re free to do so at the end of your agreed term. Therefore, this presents the ideal time to make a change.

Of course you can get a quote at any time, but it is going to be far more beneficial to do so at a time when you’re in a position to actually do something about it. How you source those quotes is entirely up to you. Some like the convenience of comparison sites, which automatically retrieve quotes from a range of selected insurers, while others prefer to go directly to the source – contacting individual insurance companies to get their best price. This can be as brief or exhaustive as you wish. If you can’t find anything that tempts you away from your current provider, then at least you will know for sure.

5. Consider your current car usage

If you really need to save some money, then you may need to look at how you’re using your car and even whether a new vehicle may be in order. Generally speaking, less powerful cars with smaller engines will cost less to insure. Equally, those that are parked securely during the day and only used infrequently will also often come with a lower premium.

Essentially, the best way to reduce the price of a policy is to limit the risk that you pose. Insurers reward safe drivers, which is why no claims bonuses were introduced. So those that are likely to drive less and are only capable of relatively low speeds due to vehicular limitations are also likely to see the benefit. Again, you may want to get some quotes to see just how much you could save by changing your car usage (such as removing the option to commute) or even updating the vehicle itself.

6. What level of cover do you actually need?

While it’s true to say that nobody wants to be left underinsured, it could be equally foolhardy to have too much cover. Unsurprisingly, a fully comprehensive policy will cover you for most eventualities; however, there is a premium price attached to this level of insurance. On the flip-side, third party, and even third party, fire and theft offer far more basic coverage at a more affordable price.

If you drive an expensive vehicle and rely on it for your own personal mobility or as part of your career, then comprehensive car insurance is the only way to go. As mentioned, it will cover you in a wide range of eventualities and help you through potentially costly scenarios, including theft or a complete write-off.

Conversely though, if your car is only worth a few hundred pounds, it would seem a little excessive to pay more than its market value in insurance each year. So while you may have always enjoyed a comprehensive policy and continue to renew it annually as a matter of course, perhaps third party, fire and theft would be adequate for your circumstances. Again though, this is an entirely personal decision and will need to be made on the basis of your own research and preferences.

7. Think before you claim

If you’ve had a minor prang or bashed your wing mirror, maybe weigh up your options before contacting your insurer. While they will often be more than happy to help, it may end up costing you more in the long term, particularly if you have accrued a number of years’ no claims bonus.

Drivers shouldn’t be scared of making a claim, that’s what insurance is for after all; however, if you and any other involved parties are happy to take control of the situation independently, then this may be a more prudent option. Of course, if the damage is extensive and would cost hundreds, if not thousands to put right, then it may be a good time to consult your policy.

8. Add security features

Prevention is often better than cure, and that’s certainly how insurers weigh up risk. So if your car doesn’t have an existing security system, such as an alarm or a wheel lock, then installing one could well prove beneficial. Of course there will be a cost involved in any such purchase or upgrade, so this will need to be factored in. However, if you take great pride in your vehicle and want to keep it safe, then any such upgrade will prove beneficial in more than one way.