Resolver’s guide to car insurance

6 min read
February 09, 2024
car insurance

Car insurance is a fact of life for anyone who drives a vehicle. As you probably know, insuring your car isn’t just essential – it’s a legal requirement. But knowing what kind of policy to buy can be a little overwhelming – especially with policy prices being hiked left, right and centre.

If you’re not sure where to begin, you should take advantage of this fantastic switching service which makes it easier to find the best policy for you. Insurance experts have shown that even making some enquiries into switching insurers can have a big impact on reducing the cost of your policy.

Whatever your circumstances, this Resolver guide will help you get to grips with the key things you should be aware of before you purchase an insurance policy for your vehicle.

The three types of policy

Let’s start with the basics. There are three main types of policies when insuring a vehicle:


The cheapest / minimum level of cover you can buy. This only covers damage to another person or vehicle (if you hit someone or something, in short).

Third-party, fire and theft

A little bit more expensive, these policies do what they say on the tin – adding cover for claims arising from fire or theft of the vehicle.


The most thorough policy and the one that covers most (but not all) things. So even if you are at fault, then you should be able to get repairs done to the vehicle.

You can also buy add-ons, like legal expenses cover, no-claims discount protection and of course, breakdown/roadside assistance cover. You might want to consider specialist insurance for specific vehicles (especially classic cars). There are also a range of ‘add-on’ policies for specific features like alloys.

Comparing quotes and potential premiums

The price you pay for any insurance is based on the risk that the insurer will have to pay out over the term of the contract. That’s not always going to feel fair, as premiums can be set based on things that are out of your control, like your age, gender, where you live, if you’ve had an accident that’s not your fault and more. The last couple of years have also seen huge hikes to policies due to rising repair costs.

Even if you don’t agree with how costs are calculated, you must be upfront about your circumstances when applying for insurance, or the firm could invalidate the policy. This is known as ‘non-disclosure’. However, the insurer must also ask you appropriate questions, so you know what you are required to tell them.

The good news is that  there are some things that you can do to get your quote reduced. First, you should always check your credit file too in case you’re not registered on the electoral register. Second, remember that your final quote can vary quite a bit depending on what you put into the insurer’s online application form. What you do for a living can make a big difference, so try a few variations on your job title to see if it affects the offer.  We have a handy guide on how to curate your profile when it comes time to renew or switch policy. 

There are other things you can do to get a better deal too – like getting a multi-car policy if you’ve got more than one vehicle. Insurers are increasingly trying to entice people to move all their insurance policies to one firm, so you might get a better deal if you combine vehicle, car, travel or other policies.

Seopa’s switching service is unique because their comparison tool asks more questions than standard comparison services. This means that you’ll probably get a much more accurate quote.

Before you start, make sure you have all the information you need to hand, like vehicle details and specs, no-claims bonus information, any convictions or restrictions on your license, and information about where your car will be when it’s not being driven.


Insurance companies must contact you to tell you before your policy renews, usually between 21 and 30 days before. This is usually in the form of a letter.

However, we’re all busy, so it’s easy to miss your renewal date – try to put the date in your calendar a month before renewal so you don’t miss out. In the past, insurers used to increase the premiums of loyal customers at renewal. They aren’t technically allowed to do this anymore, but they have increased costs elsewhere. There are lots of good offers to be had the earlier you contact an insurer and you can use Resolver’s new switching services to get an idea of the best deals out there.

How to pay

Insurance companies will usually give you a discount if you pay by direct debit. However, many people don’t realise that their insurance payment is based on an annual price that’s then split into 12 payments, almost like a loan, so if you try to leave the contract early, then a sliding scale of ‘exit fees’ will apply. The biggest savings you can make are by paying the total amount up front, for which you’ll get a discount. While this isn’t practical for most people, if you are in this position then you could make some serious savings.

Black box insurance (telematics)

In recent years insurers have been encouraging higher-risk drivers (like people under 26) to consider a telematics insurance policy. This is a device that you plug into your vehicle or is permanently installed. This monitors you while you’re driving so that if you follow the rules of the road, you’ll get a cheaper policy.

These systems use GPS and send regular updates to the insurer. However, if you’re concerned about privacy and data monitoring this may not be very appealing to you.

Add-ons, extras and assumptions

Increasingly insurers are offering add-on extra cover – often for things that used to be free. Some of these policies are useful, like legal expenses cover or policies to protect your no-claims discount. However, others, like admin charges or cover for lost keys, are of questionable value. All come with limitations so read what’s covered thoroughly.

Before you commit and buy the new policy, make sure you read everything, understanding policy limits, excess fees and unusual T&Cs. You should get a key facts document with the contract which covers the basics facts that you absolutely need to know about. But most importantly, have a think about what you’d expect to be covered for if a problem arises and check the contract to see if that’s correct. Have a look for ‘excess fees’ – the amount of money you have to pay towards a claim.

Don’t forget, insurance contracts can have some weird clauses. Modifications – from souped up engines to “go faster” stripes can actually make you more of a perceived risk, so you need to tell the firm about any changes you’ve made to the vehicle too.

Resolver can help you switch and save money on your car, bike, vehicle or van insurance:

 If you need to make a complaint about a vehicle, insurance or anything else, you can do so for free with Resolver:

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