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4 tips to pick the best car insurance provider

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If
you own and drive a vehicle, then car
insurance is a must, but you can spend a
long time trying to decide which provider is the best for you before you
commit. Although it is a huge factor, the price
is not the only thing that you need to take into account when finding the right
insurance cover to protect you. 
The general rule of thumb is to compare at
least three quotes from different companies and here are a few industry-wide
factors that you should take into consideration and apply to each.

1.    
What features are they
offering?


As
well as third-party, fire and theft or
comprehensive cover, car insurance policies will offer additional features,
some of which are necessary and some which could be deemed useless. Certain
‘must have’ features of every policy should include windscreen cover, cover for
loss or damage of your personal
belongings, cover for loss or theft of car keys, car rescue cover, a courtesy
car, protected no claims discount and guaranteed repairs. 
By understanding the
features that will come with a policy, you’ll also be aware of add-ons that you
know you might not need such as cover when you’re driving abroad. You can
easily assess the differences between car insurance policies with a comparison
website such as Call Wiser. By comparing the options
that are available to you first-hand, you’ll be able to match a policy to your
particular needs from a panel of 30+ of the UK’s best insurers.  

2.    
How long will it take to
settle a claim?


Before
you commit to an insurance provider, you’ll
want to know how long it will take them to settle a claim if anything were to
happen on the road. If you have filed an insurance claim to cover the cost of
damage to your vehicle, property or injury, you will need to negotiate a
settlement until you get the payout you believe you deserve. Before you do
this, you need to know exactly what your
car insurance policy covers, what your claim is worth, your acceptable
settlement range and when to seek legal advice. The length of time varies
depending on each case, but you want to
make sure you choose a car insurance company that will assist you through the
process until you’re 100% satisfied. 
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)
states that car insurance companies should settle claims within three months, but this can be delayed if neither side admits liability or if the claim is not
fully quantified. Negotiating a car insurance settlement can be a long and
frustrating process, but a reputable car
insurance provider should work closely alongside you to get everything sorted
in an acceptable period. While
researching the reputation of car insurance providers, try to find out how long
they have taken in the past to settle claims with other policyholders. You
don’t want to commit to a company that is known for bad customer service when
it comes to something as important as making a claim.


3.    
Are they offering a
discount?


If
your yearly renewal date is fast approaching, try to haggle and negotiate with
your current provider. More often than not, this can save you more money than
if you were to switch. Try to negotiate a price for less than 20% of what you
already pay, and if you succeed, it’s definitely worthwhile staying put. If not, it’s
probably cheaper to find a deal with a different company. Some companies offer
discounts for drivers of certain ages or drivers who have anti-theft devices
installed. Others may offer lower premiums for drivers that have consistently
good records and no claims. 
Another thing to watch out for is multi-line
coverage which can allow for a discount when purchasing two or more lines of
coverage (car and home, for example) with the same provider. If you’re looking
to add a young driver to your policy, a rise
in prices is often unavoidable but if you feel the amount you’re paying,
whether monthly or yearly, has become too high, discuss options with your
provider on how you could decrease it with things such as additional driving
courses. Many companies decrease their prices depending on certain life events, such as moving, getting older,getting married or purchasing a new home. So whenever something major in your life
changes, it’s probably worth evaluating
your insurance policy.

4.    
How is their reputation?


Once
you’ve found a few companies that you think will suit your needs, do some
investigative work to find out about their reputation and financial standing.
Have a look at ratings such as those regarding customer satisfaction and those
that consider financial strength. These
will give you an idea about the overall
experience and whether or not the company is good value for money. There is
nothing stopping you from reaching out to companies yourself to find out how
they respond to questions about important issues such as discounts. 
Check out
online surveys such as those done by Auto Express, who ask a huge amount of
drivers to rate their insurance company in five key areas: communication, how
long it takes them to settle a claim, value for money, helpfulness and overall
service. Regarding figuring out which
company has the best reputation, there are pros and cons when it comes to using
comparison sites to do so. 
There has been a huge rise in the amount of people using this type of site to find the
cheapest deal, believing it to be the best. This
is not always the case. The competitive element of comparison sites has caused
providers to create cheap car insurance cover at the most basic level. By
keeping prices down, these companies remain at the top of the list, but this is often at the expense of the
customer who will be left out of pocket
in the long-run. 
Remember that just because a car insurance company is cheap,
it doesn’t mean it is the best. Be very aware of surprise extra fees that
companies can often claim are ‘admin charges’. Also, certain providers don’t
feature on comparison sites. These include Zurich Car Insurance, Aviva and
Direct Line who must be contacted directly for a quote.
There
you have it, consider these factors whether it’s time to switch insurer or if
you’re a new driver looking for a good deal. By keeping these things in mind,
you should choose an insurance company that not only has good value for money, but will give you the support you need
if you ever need to make a claim. Remember not to just look for the best price
when you’re shopping around, companies such as Fairer Finance will review companies to find the highest
ranking, reflecting the providers who will pride themselves on being the best
value in the long run.

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