Should I stay or should I go? Our guide to renewing your car insurance

4 min read
September 14, 2023

September is one of the busiest months for car insurance renewals. But this year motorists will be facing higher prices than ever before.

According to the Association of British Insurers (ABI) the average price of car insurance has increased by 8% in the last quarter of 2022. As well as soaring inflation, motorists are being hit by price hikes and rising renewal fees. Many insurers have also started charging extra for administrative tasks like renewing or canceling a policy and hiking premiums for drivers perceived to be ‘risky

These increases are not always honest or straightforward. The vehicle insurance industry has also been beset by scandal – we recently reported on the FCA’s investigation into Direct Line, who have short-changed their customers on write-off claims. 

With all of this making the process of getting insurance especially daunting, we wanted to offer some guidance on what to do when it comes time to renew.

Don’t wait 

The cheapest time to switch is likely to be about a month before your policy’s renewal date. The closer you get to the renewal date after that, the more that car insurers will be able to take advantage of your need to switch and make you pay a higher price. 

So if you know your policy is coming up for renewal don’t wait around – the closer you get to the renewal date the more you will pay.

Shop around

As with almost any financial product, the secret to a cheaper car or van insurance policy is knowing what your options are. 

According to Which?, those who let their car insurance auto-renew could be paying £388 more a year. 

Shopping around may lead you to switch to a policy that will be better for you long-term. Or, by getting quotes from other insurers, you will be able to negotiate or haggle for a better deal with your current insurer. 

Want to compare car insurance quotes? Let us help.

Beware sneaky fees

Despite regulations on how much insurers can increase their prices, many insurers are taking advantage of legal loopholes to get more money out of their customers.

More and more policies include things like set-up or renewal fees. Many also now charge a cancellation fee – which can still be enforced when you cancel a policy within the 14-day cooling-off period. And the fees themselves are higher than ever before. 

So when shopping for motor insurance, make sure you look beyond the initial policy price and level of cover, and check what other fees you may be charged. 

While setup and renewal fees are usually included in the premium, there may be other fees related to future changes, like adding a driver, that aren’t immediately obvious. So make sure you check the insurer’s ‘terms of business’ for any other fees.

If you are struggling to find them, simply ask the insurer for further details directly.  

Curate your profile 

The premium you are offered is based on a variety of ‘risk’ factors, from your age or profession, to the area you live in or where your car is usually parked. But once again, the way this is worked out isn’t always fair or transparent. 

Different price comparison websites will give different premiums for the same driver. Because each website will have different questions, you can obtain a different risk profile and thus generate a different premium.

So even if you don’t end up switching providers, you make use of comparison sites as an opportunity to lower your premium by generating a profile with a lower level of risk.

When using comparison sites, make sure you pay attention to the way you describe your profession or take the time to record where your car is typically parked. In many instances, these seemingly small details can reduce your premium – such as describing yourself as a ‘caterer’ rather than a ‘chef’ or specifically stating that you keep your car in a driveway rather than the street. 

Our partner Quotezone can help you compare across hundreds of insurers to make sure you get the best deal.

Check the added extras

Insurance quotes often include a lot of added extras such as breakdown cover, legal support, courtesy car, protected no-claims bonus, and adjustments to excess. 

If you have access to another car or already have breakdown cover separately or with your bank you may not need this additional cover. So make sure you check the added extras to ensure that you don’t end up paying twice over or for something you won’t need. 

Compare, compare, compare 

With car insurance premiums soaring, it has never been more important to ensure that you don’t simply renew or accept the first quote that you’re given. Comparing can make a real difference to the cost of car or van insurance. 

We have partnered with to help you compare quotes and save time and money while finding the best insurance policy for you.

Car owners can compare quotes with 110+ UK car insurance providers. 

Van owners can compare quotes with 60+ UK van insurance providers

With their help, you could drive down the cost of your insurance, or switch and save yourself a little extra.


If you have any thoughts on this topic, or any other consumer issues you would like us to cover, feel free to get in touch with us at

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