and their cars

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You want very cheap car insurance? Really?

Millions of people are searching for the cheapest possible car insurance. Most of them ignore the benefits that they get with that insurance though.

We read all sorts of ads for motor insurance that is incredibly cheap but when we get quotes it isn't the bargain we thought it was. The fact is that insurance companies are businesses not charities. They are there to make a profit in a highly competitive sector so although most of them will cut prices as far as they dare to they cannot throw money away. So, if a premium is the cheapest, then why? What is lacking in the cover?

So how can benefits be improved?

If you are in business your car is a tool of your trade. It has to not only be reliable and comfortable but also project the right image. If it is damaged and off the road for a while will your insurer give you a guaranteed courtesy car? Many only offer this benefit if they have one available; no guarantee there. And; will it be a decent car? Your customers and partners won't be impressed if you turn up for an important business meeting.

There are many, many other ways in which benefits can be shaved in order to bring premiums down. The tragedy is that millions of mororists don't know this, or don't care.

Most motorists never read their policy documents

As an example; my grandson only really needs temporary cover for a few days. Short term insurance for the odd week when he's home from uni suits him best and the rest of the time his Polo sits in my garage under a SORN. He's hoping to get a job with a company car when he graduates so someone else will pay for his insurance for him. However I asked him why he picked the company he was insured with and if he knew what benefits the policy offered him and he didn't have a clue. All he knew was that Company A was cheaper than Company B so A is the one he chose. I only hope he never has to make a claim.

Will your policy offer a good repair service?

Many insurers insist that repairs are carried out at a garage on their approved list. These garages are not usually main dealers with the equipment and experience to handle rare and complex cars so what happens if you insist on your car being repaired by a specialist? Will you have a lengthy dispute with your insurer about the standard of repair work you expect?

Will genuine manufacturer's parts be fitted?

There is a secondary market in car parts. Numerous manufacturers (many of them based in China) sell parts which do the same job as those made by original manufacturers but will they last in the long term? And what happens if you demand original manufacturer's parts: will you again have a lengthy dispute with your insurer?

Everything can be cheaper - you just have to reduce the quality

Expensive advertising encourages people to look for the cheapest possible insurance but tells them nothing about what they get for their money. Yes there are reasonably priced insurers that offer a decent service but a glance through the car insurance review sites reveals masses of complaints about cheaper companies. The problem is that so many of these compaints are not upheld by the Financial Conduct Authority Ombudsman because the insurers have stuck to their written terms and conditions, particularly regarding extra premiums or reasons for refusal to settle a claim; but many (perhaps the majority of) motorists never read these anyway. Perhaps they only have themselves to blame; or maybe the fault lies with the endless reminders that we should all look for the cheapest possible prices.

So how do you find the best, rather than the cheapest, car insurance?

First, make sure that you are aware of just what you need in the way of cover. Compare prices with a price comparison site by all means but check the policy details to find out just what you are getting for your money. If in any doubt, ring the insurance company and ask them; they should be easy to contact but if not find another one! And finally check out potential insurers on the review sites; Trustpilot may be a good one to start with. Otherwise that really cheap motor insurance policy could turn out to be the most expensive one you have ever bought.