Ivan Ahern with some great tips on how students and inexperienced drivers can make big savings on car insurance.

Choose your car wisely

When it comes to your first car, choose wisely. A sports car might be fun to drive, but they’re notoriously expensive to run and cost a small fortune in car insurance and fuel. Instead go for a car with a smaller engine size, free of modifications. It will save you in tax too. If your car was manufactured before July 2008, tax is based on the engine size. After July 2008, tax is calculated on Co2 emissions output.

Know the basics

Do you want third-party or fully comprehensive cover? This is the first thing an insurance company will ask you. Put simply, third party fire and theft insurance is the minimum legal level of cover you need. It covers your car if it’s stolen, damaged in an attempted theft or damaged by fire. It also covers claims made by other people if you are involved in an accident. However, it does not cover any damage done to your own car. Fully comprehensive, on the other hand, as it implies, covers other eventualities like bodily damage and any damage done to your own car and property. Choosing the right plan from the start could save you in the long term. Decide which cover is right for you before you go for a quote.

Delve into detail

With the complex lingo associated with insurance, don’t be afraid to ask, ask and ask again, if you don’t understand the technical terms. The details matter. Signing up to any unwanted extras could mean a higher price than you need to pay.

Look at your excess

An excess is the amount of money that you need to pay out yourself before your car insurance cover kicks in. Many people don’t check this and it can make a significant difference in the price of your policy. Usually, the lower the excess is, the higher the price of the policy. Ask if there is a difference in price if you go for a higher excess and weigh it up.

Drive, don’t fly

A safe driving record tells your insurance provider that you’re trustworthy. Hold onto your no claims bonus and clean licence for as long as you can. Over time, the cost of your car insurance should go down as your No Claims record goes up. Avoiding penalty points is also an obvious one. If you’re a novice driver (N plate) you have a lower threshold of seven penalty points for breaking the rules of the road. It pays to be a safer driver. Literally!

Public health nurses

If you use your car for work it is important that your policy includes employer indemnity cover. Some insurance companies may charge additional fees and place limits on the number of business miles you can clock up in a year. Make sure you are covered for unlimited business miles as standard.

Cause for alarm

Installing an alarm and immobiliser could reduce the cost of your car insurance too. Security can be overlooked by most people. Don’t forget to tell the insurer of any extra security features on your car when looking for a quote.

Serious injury

It’s the unthinkable but you may want personal injury cover for serious injury as a result of an accident, especially if you don’t have health insurance. This could be an optional extra so don’t just assume it’s included. It’s worth checking.

Personal belongings

This cover is nice to have but as it may increase your premium, ask yourself; do you regularly have valuable items left in your car? Regardless of whether you choose this cover, you should always keep valuables out of sight.

Driving other cars

Some policies cover driving of other cars as standard. So, if you don’t like driving a long journey home for the weekend, but like the independence of having the car when you get there, you might want this benefit. It means you will be covered to drive your siblings’ or parent’s car. So you can avoid the traffic jams, relax and even watch a movie on route home. If you decide you want this benefit, shop around, check if it’s included and whether the cover is fully comprehensive or third party.

Ivan Ahern is a director at Cornmarket. Learn more about our Car Insurance Schemes or call Cornmarket on (01) 420 0995.

Cornmarket Group Financial Services Ltd. is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland. A member of the Irish Life Group Ltd. which is part of the Great-West Lifeco Group of companies. Telephone calls may be recorded for quality control and training purposes.