Skip to main content

Henry was in a pickle. He had waited until the last possible minute to look for car insurance renewal quotes and now the premiums were a little on the high side. Okay, maybe a lot.

Things weren’t looking great for Henry, who was about to down his third espresso macchiato of the day in hopes he could stay up long enough to secure a decent car insurance deal.

He lamented, “If only I knew how expensive waiting this long would be, I would have started my search much earlier!”

Sound familiar? Who doesn’t procrastinate once in a while?

After all, looking for car insurance quotes and trying to find a better deal is exactly the kind of thing you put off for as long as you possibly can. It’s just so awkward.

Yes, shopping for car insurance can be tricky. But if you know when to start and how to prepare, things could go a lot smoother. And you know what? Short term car insurance might get you out of a hole.

Person in orange with blue car and trees and sun in the background.

When to start looking for car insurance

The best time to look for car insurance varies depending on your circumstances. We know, we know, you’re sick of hearing “it depends” when all you’re looking for is a concrete timeframe. But it really does depend on whether you already have an existing car insurance policy or whether you’re buying a car and looking for a car insurance policy for the first time.

Now let’s get a little more concrete…

You already have an existing car insurance policy in place

If you already have an existing policy in place, you’ll want to start looking for renewal quotes about a month before your policy is due to renew. MoneySuperMarket research revealed that people who renew their policies 15-29 days before their old policy is due to expire get the best quotes in the UK.

Renewal quotes from other insurance companies can start going up around 8 days before your renewal date, so starting early is your best bet if you’re looking for a budget-friendly deal. Of course, not all insurance companies take this timeframe into account when they’re calculating your premium. Here at Zixty, we don’t use this in our calculation at all.

But starting early and doing your research is just one way to get the best car insurance deal out there. There are lots of other ways to lower your premium. Check out our detailed article here for lots more ideas on how to do that.

You’re buying a new car and insuring it for the first time

If you’re buying your first car, you’ll need to insure it before you can drive it. There are all sorts of practicalities to think about. For example, it’s important to find a provider who offers comprehensive cover at an affordable rate. You should also research any additional benefits such as free breakdown cover or roadside assistance.

But when should you start looking? If you’re on a tight budget, it may be a good idea to get quotes before you put in an offer on a car. That way you’ll know how much insuring that specific car is going to cost you.

The make, model, and age of your car are all factors that may affect your premium so don’t be surprised if you see a significant difference in insurance premiums for different cars you’re considering even if they look similar to one another. But other factors, like the size of your car’s engine for example, can also play a part. The best way to get an accurate quote is to use the exact vehicle registration of the car you’re considering.

Once you’ve found a car that you can afford to insure, and you’ve gone ahead and bought it, you’ll need to ensure you have insurance in place before you can drive it home. Some major car dealers will provide insurance for a few days, but you should check this is the case before you drive off.

If you don’t have insurance in place, you’ll need to arrange a policy. This is where some people start getting a little flustered. It can often take a while to find the best deal, but meanwhile, all you want to do is drive off with your new car.

That’s where temporary car insurance can save the day!

Man with blue hatchback car with trees and the sun in the background

How temporary car insurance can help your annual policy search

Looking for car insurance can be a daunting task, especially if you waited until the last minute. But temporary car insurance policies could save the day!

Also known as day car insurance, this type of policy allows you to be insured in minutes so you can keep driving while you search for the best deal. That way, you won’t have to rush into the first policy you see because ‘you need to get insured’. Instead, you’ll have the time and peace of mind knowing that your car is already covered while you hunt down the perfect annual policy.

At Zixty, our temporary car insurance policies can last anywhere between an hour to a few weeks. They can also be arranged in minutes. This could give you the cover you need to find the deal you want.

What to think about during the car insurance renewal process

So you’ve started looking at renewal quotes nice and early and now you’re getting all these great deals in your inbox. Congratulations! You can pick and choose the best policy for your needs and you’ve got plenty of time to make your decision. But before you skip off into the sunset all smug because you’ve been super responsible, there are a few things you might want to double-check.

Make sure all your details are up to date before you look for renewal quotes

It’s usually a good idea to get car insurance quotes elsewhere before you accept your insurer’s renewal offer. But, don’t forget that your insurer’s details about your circumstances might be outdated.

If this is the case, you’ll want to make sure you give them your most up-to-date details. They’ll need this to give you an accurate quote. Also, having incorrect information on file could invalidate your insurance policy.

This comes with all sorts of consequences. If your insurance policy is cancelled by your insurer, you might struggle to get a new policy and when you do it could be a lot more expensive. Also, if you make a claim, it might be rejected.

And even if your policy isn’t cancelled and your claim is honoured, the final amount paid to you may be significantly reduced. Whoops.

But how could your details be out-dated? Well, think back! Have you moved house since your last renewal? Have you changed jobs? Have you had your car modified? Are you driving less these days? Or maybe more? Is someone else driving your car now too? Have you had any recent convictions? Have you made any claims? All of these small, but important, life changes could have an impact on your renewal rates.

It might not sound as fun as a night out, but making sure all your details are up to date will help you get the most accurate quote and could save you money.

Blue hatchback car with trees and the sun in the background

It’s not all about the money so read the fine print

You may have found an incredible car insurance policy that massively undercuts the renewal quote you’ve received from your current insurer. But before you dump your old insurer, make sure you’ve read the fine print!

Or even the not-so-fine print as the case may be.

Car insurance policies may all look the same on the surface, but they tend to be different products. For instance, some include breakdown cover as standard, others offer lower excesses, and others yet can only afford their tantalisingly-low prices because they’re actually black box policies.

All we’re saying is, don’t be blinded by the low prices! Look at what your current policy offers and make sure your new policy offers the same or better conditions. Or, at the very least, make sure you’re happy to compromise for a lower premium.

Call your insurer to discuss your renewal

So you got a great quote from a different insurer, the policy is very similar to your current cover, and you’re excited to make a saving. But it’s a bit of a bittersweet deal. You like your current insurer. The customer service is brilliant, the dashboard is intuitive, and you’d really much rather stick with them. Still, the substantial saving you’d make by switching is not to be sniffed at.

But wait! Before you cancel your policy, you could just ring your insurer to try and get a better deal. They probably don’t want to lose you as a customer either. It doesn’t have to be this way!

If you call them and explain you’ve had a better like-for-like offer elsewhere, they’ll usually try to work with you to find a solution. It’s worth a go anyway!

And, we know, awkward phone calls are the worst. But lots of insurance companies offer live chat options now which make the whole thing so much easier. Plus, even if they don’t, one awkward phone call could mean getting exactly what you want. Surely it’s worth it?

Timing is key: Finding the best car insurance deals in the UK

Give yourself plenty of time if you want to find the best car insurance deals in the UK. Waiting until the last minute is just going to cause you unnecessary stress.

Shopping around is key, so take your time to compare prices from multiple providers and always read the fine print carefully before signing on the dotted line.

And if renewal is just around the corner or if you want to drive off with the car you just bought, temporary car insurance can provide the cover you need to allow you to take your time looking for the best available annual policy out there.