Every year, an envelope lands on your doormat that will impact your finances for the coming year, either negatively or positively. If you, like many other motorists, dread receiving your car insurance renewal notice, then you may like to know about the secret weapon that can help.
The internet is a great resource and you probably use it countless times a day to answer questions, check your emails or have a sneaky-peek at Facebook. But it can also be used to find cheaper deals for your utility bills and any insurance products you may have.
You have hundreds of websites at your disposal to help you shop around for a better quote for your car insurance, but the plethora of choices available can be overwhelming. Where do you start?
Here is a quick guide to using comparison sites.
Use multiple sites
You may find a price that looks attractive on the first website you visited, but don't be tempted to stop there.
Even if the site claims it has trawled through all providers, that won't necessarily be the case, as it will only work with a fixed number of companies. This means that you could find an even better price on a different comparison website.
In addition, some insurance companies, such as Direct Line and Aviva, have opted not to work with price comparison sites, so it's worth looking at their websites as well to see if you can land a great deal.
Once you've used a few sites, including some standalone firms, you should have a good idea of how much you could save if you switch.
Assumptions can invalidate your cover
One thing that you need to make sure of is that the information you enter when asking for a quote is correct and that the features match that of your existing policy, unless you want to make changes, such as removing a courtesy car or increasing your voluntary excess.
Some price comparisons will make assumptions about your circumstances or needs when you request a quote from them. These could be appropriate, but you must thoroughly check your details and what the cost includes before you accept the offer.
Tick all the right boxes
Often, the comparison website will pre-tick certain boxes, while leaving others empty. Ignoring these or failing to pick up on which have been left blank could lead to the wrong price being generated, or for the insurance policy to be invalidated in some cases.
For example, these sites often assume that you don't have any points on your licence, criminal convictions or accidents in the last few years. It is vital that this information is provided, as omitting it means you will be committing fraud.
Some sites can also automatically tick boxes that sign you up to a certain payment method, such as an annual lump sum, in order to get the price. You'll need to be eagle-eyed and read through everything before setting up the policy.
Quality over cost
As with everything else in life, if something seems too good to be true, it probably is. If you get a ridiculously cheap price from a firm you may never have heard of before, then it's worth doing some research and seeing what the reviews are like for that particular provider.
If people are singing their praises then you should probably accept the offer, but if you can find only complaints online then you should avoid them like the plague.