Confessions of a car insurance salesman

How can you get the best deal on your can insurance? Who can you trust? And who should you turn to if you need to claim? Our undercover insurance expert reveals all...


Q: What happens if I drive illegally fast when I have an insurance 'black box' installed?

A: The telematics industry has advanced a lot in the last few years; a lot of insurers who use telematics boxes or apps now include policy clauses that allow them the right to cancel your policy if you exceed a certain speed; I think it’s generally 100mph. I wouldn't be surprised if they also reserved the right to inform the authorities of what they regard as dangerous driving.

Q: How do you refine 'main driver'? Is it the person who covers most miles, the person who drives for the longest or the person who makes the most journeys?

A: Use your best judgement – the person who drives the car the most, or is in the driving seat for the longer time, is really the only answer I can give. Money-saving tip: if you have a policy that covers insured and spouse, or insured and one named driver, and both drivers use the car around 50/50, it may be in your interest cost wise to declare the lower-risk driver as the main driver.

Q: What is the definition of 'value of the car'? Is it the lower the better?

A: The insurer just wants to know your best guess at value of the car at inception of the policy. With most insurers, having a very cheap car (under £1500) will mean you actually pay more. Some insurers won't even quote for cars under a certain value.



Q: Why don't most insurance companies reward loyal customers? Why do I nearly always get a better price from a new provider at renewal?

A: Primarily because a proportion of customers will always accept their renewal at a higher price rather than shopping around. Insurers' margins are slim. Often they will lose money on new business knowing it will be made back at renewal. There's no real insider answer on this one; it's just business.

SA: There is a consultation at the moment with the aim to end 'dual pricing' – the practice of charging new customers less than existing ones. The aim is to stop the practice in the near term. For the punter, it's a case of be careful what you wish for.

Q: How do you get the lowest prices when buying for yourself?

A: I compare quotes from all the main providers. I then go back to current insurer and say I'll take the renewal if they can do it at 10-20% cheaper than cheapest comparable online quote. This will quickly bring them down to the cheapest price they'll be allowed to offer.

Q: What is the industry standard definition of a modification?

A: A modification is anything fitted after the vehicle has left the factory. Retro-fitted optional extras that were available for your model usually wouldn't need to be declared as a modification.



Q: What exactly does 'do you have access to any other car/vehicle' mean?

A: Do you own another vehicle? Are you named on anybody else's insurance policy or insured to drive another vehicle via a fleet or company policy, even if not specifically named on that policy?

The question does NOT refer to the 'driving other cars' extension most private motor insurance policies will include for people 25 and over.

From a risk perspective, having access to other vehicles is a good thing. Answering yes to the question will, depending on the insurer, make no difference to your premium or reduce it.

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