It might seem strange that the kind of work you do can have an impact on your car insurance prices, but it makes sense if you think like an insurer. If your job sounds like it involves a lot of road use, you can often find yourself paying more. In fact, even the same job can sound very different to an insurer if you use different words to describe it. Describing yourself as an “editor” rather than a “journalist”, for instance, has been known to affect insurance rates. To an insurer, an editor sounds like someone who sits safely in an office all day. A journalist, though – that’s someone you can imagine taking risks in dangerous places. In real terms, they might be doing the exact same job – but which do you reckon gets the better offers on their insurance?
Okay, now let’s look at your vehicle itself. The kind of car you drive can make a pretty big difference to its insurance group – and therefore to the rates you pay. An expensive car, for instance, can mean high-cost repair bills and replacement parts. That’ll pump up your premiums fast. Older cars, perhaps surprisingly, can also fall into this trap, simply because they’re often considered to be less secure against theft or break-ins.
So that’s the basics of your risk calculation handled – but what kind of cover are you actually buying? Obviously enough, the more kinds of mishaps your insurance covers, the more expensive it’ll wind up being. Comprehensive cover, living up to the name, protects you against more or less anything. Third Party Only, on the other hand, doesn’t really protect you at all. It only protects other people against you. That’s basically the minimum insurance you can legally drive with. In the middle, though, we find Third Party, Fire and Theft cover – which is more or less self-explanatory.
When your insurer works out your rates, they’re naturally going to want to know about your car use. Basically, the more use you get out of your vehicle, the higher the risks. If you drive for pleasure as well as business, for example, you’ll pay more than someone who only uses their car for work. If your work racks up a lot of mileage or hours on the road, that’ll factor in too.
Next up is your excess. This is basically the amount you’re expected to kick in before your insurance claim starts paying out. It comes in 2 basic flavours: compulsory and voluntary. The compulsory excess built into your insurance plan is decided directly by your insurer. Whenever you make a claim, you have to pay this much up-front before you get anything from your insurance. With a voluntary excess, you get a say in how much you pay before your claim takes up the slack. The higher you set that, the less you’ll get out of your insurance – but the less you’ll usually pay in your premiums.
Finally, there’s another, more general category insurers will consider. Things like how clean your driving record is, for instance, can make you seem like a better or worse insurance risk. Also, having other specific drivers can change your costs, depending on who they are. Most of the time, adding extra drivers to your policy will tend to ramp up your “threat profile”, along with your insurance payments. However, if you’re a young driver, adding an older, more road-tested person to your policy can actually bring your prices down.