Insurance for convertible cars
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The unpredictable British weather doesnt stop many of us dreaming of owning a convertible that we can whizz along in, feeling the wind (but hopefully not the rain) in our hair.
In fact, the UK is among the biggest convertible markets in Europe despite our relatively cold, damp climate.
However, if you are hoping to take advantage of sunny days by buying a car that can take its top off when temperatures rise, its worth checking how much it will cost to insure before taking the plunge.
As with all types of car, convertibles are placed into one of 50 insurance groups by a panel of insurance industry experts (you can check the groups out at www.thatcham.org).
This helps insurers to price their policies because they know that the cars in the lower groups (between one and 10, for example), will cost a lot less to replace or repair than those in groups 40 to 50.
The cost of insuring a convertible will therefore depend to a large extent on the insurance group to which it is assigned. The good news is that not all convertibles are automatically put into high insurance groups.
The Smart Fortwo Cabrio Passion, for example, costs less than 12,000 new and is in insurance group 6. And the Mini Convertible One is in insurance group 14, which is also a long way from the most expensive groups closer to the 50 mark.
If you are hankering after a Mercedes SLK or E-Class, however, you will need to prepare yourself for higher premiums because these models are both in insurance group 43.
Insurance groups aside, it is also generally true that convertibles cost more than fixed roof versions of the same make and model of car to insure. Reasons for this include that they are more desirable, and easier to break into, making them a popular target for thieves.
Cutting the cost
As theft is one of the big factors pushing up the cost of insuring a convertible car, improving your vehicle security is a fantastic way to reduce your premiums.
As more than 50% of vehicle thefts occur at night, keeping your convertible in a locked garage overnight should help to reassure your insurer, meaning that you get to pay lower premiums.
Similarly, installing insurer-approved security equipment such as steering wheel locks and immobilisers should bring down the cost of your insurance, with some insurers offering drivers who take these measures discounts of up to 10%.
You can also minimise costs by avoiding unnecessary optional extras such as a courtesy car, breakdown cover or legal expenses insurance and of course by building up your no claims discount, which can be worth up to 75% after five years.
An alternative approach is to consider taking out a telematics insurance policy. This type of cover, which involves a black box being fitted in your car to monitor your driving habits, is popular with young drivers due to the huge savings on offer.
However, it can also help safe drivers of all ages to save money. The potential drawback for many is that there is usually a cap on the number of miles that can be driven each year usually up to 6,000 (although sustained good driving, as measured by the system, will sometimes earn an increased mileage allocation).
Driving habits monitored by the black box include speed, braking, acceleration and mileage, so good drivers can make big savings especially if they do not travel very far and tend to only drive during daylight hours on what are perceived to be low-risk roads.
This makes telematics insurance perfect for anyone planning only to use his or her convertible at the weekends, for example. But beware: if you are seen to be driving dangerously, you could end up paying even more than you would with a conventional insurance policy.
Whichever type of insurance policy you use to protect your convertible, though, it is absolutely crucial to shop around for the best quote.
Insurers do not reward loyalty in fact, they often keep their best offers for new customers so whether you are insuring a convertible for the first time or renewing your insurance at the end of a 12-month deal, dont commit before checking out the competition.
You can find out more about telematics insurance and compare convertible car quotes from a huge range of insurers on MoneySupermarket.
This article has been researched and written by whatcar.com's car insurance partner, MoneySupermarket