How to drive down the cost of your car cover

Balancing a budget may require making some hard decisions about what you can afford and what you cannot. There are some things though that you need to have, like car insurance for example.

Even here there may be some things that you can do to help drive down the cost of your premium:

  • the first point to bear in mind is that insurance products change over time. So even though your current policy may have represented a great deal when you first bought it, it may not now. Therefore, just automatically renewing each year may mean that you are missing out on some alternative options;
  • shopping around and giving yourself some choice may typically be a sensible step – remembering of course that there is a bit more to this exercise than just looking at the premium and opting for the lowest;
  • you may benefit by looking online to compare car insurance in Northern Ireland, as there are now far more providers of car insurance offering their products in the province than may previously have been the case – even in the relatively recent past;
  • once you have identified those policies which most closely match your requirements, you may then be able to look for ways in which you can help lower premiums without reducing required levels of cover;
  • agreeing to accept a higher voluntary excess may result in a premium discount. The excess is the maximum amount that you may be asked to contribute to the costs of any claim on your car insurance and put simply, the more you agree to pay, the less the insurance company has to, so they may be able to reduce premiums;
  • if you are able to garage your car overnight or at least keep it on your driveway, then you are reducing risk so you may qualify for a discount;
  • avoid having younger or less experienced drivers on your policy unless this is absolutely necessary;
  • try to make sure that your projected annual mileage estimate is as accurate as possible – there is no point in paying for cover that you don’t actually use;
  • bear in mind that bigger and more powerful cars may typically cost more to insure – so while that smaller model may not catch so many eyes, its insurance may come with a most cost –attractive price tag;
  • try to avoid vehicles which have been heavily customised away from the manufacturer’s original specification, as this may make them more costly to insure.

Taken together, these steps may help you to find more cost-effective car insurance without having to compromise on the cover offered.


Renting a car in Ireland

If you have decided to explore some of the sights of Ireland then you may wish to give yourself the flexibility and freedom of choice that a self-drive holiday may bring.

Many of the major rental companies are well represented in Ireland and as well as being accessible through the internet, have presences in major town, airports, ferry ports and the like.

Prior to renting your car though, you may wish to have a think about a few factors.

Which car

For the vehicle itself, while you may be leaning towards an economy or compact model, you may wish to consider:

• the number and size of the passengers of the car;
• the number of hours per day you may be in the vehicle sightseeing;
• the amount of luggage you are likely to have versus the size of the boot.

Which option

There may be a few rental options available based on the number of days of the rental, a price per mile or a maximum mileage – or even a combination of these. Try to estimate your projected mileage and find the most cost-effective deal.

You may also be asked to pay a bit more for other named drivers on your rental agreement. You may be tempted to put everyone onto the agreement just in case but unless you have already decided that everyone is going to share the driving, this may just increase the rental cost unnecessarily.

Added extras

The basic prices offered are unlikely to include optional extras like GPS or baby seats, luggage racks etc. So remember to factor these in.

Insurance considerations

Your rental car may probably come with elements of insurance included in the agreement price. You may find, however, that there may be an excess on the policy.

This is the amount you might be asked to pay toward any repair costs to the car. Since this could be quite a significant sum, you may perhaps wish to consider taking out excess insurance cover.

In common with cheap car insurance in Northern Ireland, you may find that there are online providers of this type of cover. You may wish to bear in mind that what may be cheap for one person may not be cheap for you, so comparing policies carefully may typically be advisable.

Top 10 tips for reducing your monthly expenses

1.            Stop buying that coffee on the way to work

An obvious tip that you must have heard before but that take away coffee each morning can easily add up to over £100 per month. Yes, it’s much nicer than the stuff they serve in the office but wouldn’t you rather have an extra £100 a month?

2.            Pay your gas and electricity by direct debit

Most utility providers offer a discount if you pay a set amount each month, this can around a 10% saving so its definitely worth doing. You don’t need to worry about paying too much or too little as they will assess your needs before the direct debit is set up and then adjust it if the meter reading shows you are using less or more.

3.            Make packed lunches

Like with your coffee, buying lunch out each day is designed to be a money spinner for the shops you buy it from. Why not just make a big dish on a Sunday and take a nice homemade lunch in each day. It is often a lot more healthy this way too!

4.            Change your car insurance

A lot of people find they are paying way over the odds for their car insurance. Recently it was suggested in the news that insurers add a premium when your car insurance rolls over in to the next year. It’s best to use an online tool to look at car insurance quotes to make sure you have the lowest one available.

5.            Host a dinner party

Sounds like an odd tip for saving money but if you host a dinner party for your friends, they will then host you one back in the future. It’s great to get into the habit of doing this as then, in the long run, you are bound to save money by not going out as much.

6.            Check out your local charity shop

We all spend far too much on clothes. It’s no secret that charity shops are becoming ever increasingly trendy, so why not check out your local one, you are bound to find some unique items.

7.            Switch mobile phone tariff

How much we use our mobile phones changes from year to year, depending on family, partners, jobs etc. It’s important that every now and then, you check in with your mobile phone provider to make sure you’re on the right tariff for you and not paying too much.

8.            Take a walk

Why not try and swap one of your journeys a week by car or public transport to walking. Not only will it save you money, but you will get a blast of fresh air and feel energised when you get to wherever you are heading.

9.            Switch off your lights

With energy prices constantly rising, we all need to be accountable for how much energy we use in our own homes. If you make sure you turn off a light whenever you’re not using it, you will be amazed at how much you can shave off of your monthly bill. And you’re also doing your little bit for the environment.

10.          Grow your own veg

It’s not only energy prices that are going up, food prices are going through the roof. Why not grow some veg outside? It is a lot easier than you think, start with chillies or tomatoes and you will be reaping the benefits come summer.

Thinking about motor insurance & Northern Ireland

Attractively priced motor insurance in Northern Ireland may these days be more of a reality than it may perhaps have been in the past. A downward trend in premiums may have been caused by the increased competition of online insurance specialists prepared to offer their policies in Northern Ireland. A few points to look out for may include:

  • remember that price, although important, may not be the only consideration – you also need to understand just what that price is giving you by way of cover;
  • are the allowances for annual mileages realistic compared to your own plans or estimates;
  • is there provision in your policy for travel outside of the UK that you are unlikely to need;
  • are there opportunities for earning discounts on your motor insurance in Northern Ireland, for example, by accepting a higher voluntary excess on the policy. The excess is the amount of money that you may be asked to contribute to the cost of a future claim;
  • including inexperienced or younger drivers on your policy may push costs up to cover the additional risks involved, so you may wish to avoid this;
  • left on the public highway when you are not using it, your car may be more at risk from accidental damage from passing vehicles or worse still, vandalism or theft. Being able to use a garage or your driveway may help;
  • one of the aspects of your vehicle that may help determine the level of premium you pay is how powerful your engine is. Avoiding large powerful vehicles may also help avoid cost;
  • in the same vein, avoiding the more exotic models in favour of standard vehicles may have a similar effect and be careful that any customisations that you may carry out on your car do not mean that it no longer conforms to the manufacturer’s specification;
  • motor insurance in Northern Ireland may still not be as cost –attractive as a similar policy on the mainland but there are steps that you might take to help lower costs.

Insurance quotes for Northern Ireland properties and vehicles

If you are looking for insurance quotes for Northern Ireland properties or vehicles then using an online specialist to provide some quotes may help provide you with the information you need to find the policies which most closely match your requirements.

Contrary to what you may at first think, price alone may not be the most satisfactory measure of how appropriate a policy may be for your needs. The price you pay for your insurance cover may obviously be an important consideration but to be sure of getting the protection you need, you may also have to look at the detail of the cover on offer.

After looking through your insurance quotes for Northern Ireland and identifying those policies that may be suitable for your needs, there may be some things that you may be able to do to help reduce premiums a little.

Home or vehicle insurance cover may have an excess attached to it.

That is the sum of money that you may be asked to contribute as the ‘first part’ of any claim. There may be a fixed or mandatory element of excess as well as a variable voluntary part.
If you are happy to agree to a higher voluntary element, then you may find that your premium may be reduced as a result.


Taking some common sense steps when it comes to home or vehicle security may help with premium levels. Fitting approved locks and possibly an alarm system in your home, for example, may typically be looked on favourably, as might be a tracking device installed in your vehicle.

If you are able to park your vehicle in a garage when you are not using it or at least in your garden or driveway, then there may be less chance of it being damaged by passing vehicles, vandalised or even stolen.

Vehicle power
With motorcycles and cars, the power of the vehicle may have a significant effect on the premium, so keeping to more modest and less powerful vehicles may help keep premiums down.

Studying insurance quotes for Northern Ireland may help you to identify how you may be able to influence those premium prices for the better.

The buy-to-let market is on the up

If you’re feeling despondent about woefully low interest rates, continuing stock market volatility and your dwindling pension pot, you may want to consider channeling your chips into bricks and mortar.  There’s a strong demand for privately rented accommodation and a shortage of affordable housing for first time buyers, so if you’re prepared to ride the ups and downs of the market, you could buy-to-let.  In the long term you may be looking at an attractive investment, so here’s what to consider:

Do your homework
Research the market thoroughly.  Identify where you want to buy, check local rental conditions and gauge which properties are in demand and from whom.  Find a good specialist lettings agent and latch on like a limpet.

Target tenants
Put yourself in the shoes of your target tenants – who are they and what do they want? Students will need somewhere comfy and easy to clean, but if you’re aiming for professionals think modern and stylish.

Location location
Are local amenities such as transport, shops and schools important to your tenants? Look at areas near to current hotspots that could be in line for price increases, clocking clues such as large company relocations or the opening of cool shops and bars.  Go for a bad house in a good area over a good house in a bad area and you’ll up your chances of resale when the time comes.

Do your sums
You’ll need to stump up a deposit of 25-30% plus 2% more in interest than you would for a normal mortgage.  Aim to recoup 25% more in rent than the value of your mortgage repayments.  With a buffer fund you’ll avoid scuppering your finances in the event of a void or empty period.  Don’t forget annual expenses such as service charge, decoration and repairs, agent’s fees and insurance.

Make it your business
Being a landlord is a serious job, so consider employing an agent at
10-15% of the rent to manage the running of the property.  They will find good quality tenants, take care of credit checks, tenant referencing and tenancy agreements and guide you through the legal issues and red tape.  They can also undertake all communication with tenants, dealing with the exploding boiler on your behalf.

Ensure you’re insured
As a landlord, you will be exposed to various liabilities, so it’s important to protect yourself with the appropriate level of
buy to let insurance cover.  Visit a specialist insurance broker to discuss taking out a tailor made Landlord Insurance policy.  You’ll need buildings cover, which protects the property itself and contents cover, which covers the furniture within the property.  Your broker will also be able to discuss cover against the following:

· Major risks – e.g. fire or flood

· Landlord Liability Cover – for injury caused to another person in relation to your property

· Employers’ Liability Cover – protects you if one of your employees is harmed through their work

· Rental Guarantee – protection against tenants defaulting on their rent or a property lying empty

· Other cover – e.g. terrorism, legal expenses and accidental damage

Now is the time to think about buying to let.  If you’re able to take a long term view, it could prove to be the perfect income investment.

Now is the time to think about buying to let.  If
you’re able to take a long term view, it could prove to be the perfect income

How Public Liability Insurance Works

When considering purchasing public liability insurance, it is not uncommon for many business owners to have questions about how this type of business insurance works. One of the most frequent questions is in regards to the cost of the insurance. The cost of this type of insurance is referred to as the premium. This is the price that will be charged by the insurer to your business. That cost will be based on a variety of different factors. These factors may include the sector of business in which you are engaged, as some business sectors may be deemed to be more of a risk than others.

It is quite common for an average rate or a book rate to be used when determining the cost of liability insurance to a business. In many instances a business’s payroll may be used to determine that company’s amount of activity and their corresponding premium. A business’s turnover rate may also be utilized in determining the premium for liability insurance as well. Premiums may be adjusted by an insurer in order to reflect good risk management or a good claims record. Likewise, premiums may also be raised when a company exhibits a poor claims record.

When shopping for a business insurance policy that will provide your company with sufficient protection, it is important to keep in mind the differences that exist between different types of insurance products. Public liability insurance is best for situations in which customers or members of the public visit your premise or if you work from home and you visit the home or place of business of a customer or client. This type of insurance will cover damage awards that may be issued based on damage to property or injuries that are caused either by your business or you. Such covered expenses typically include legal expenses, hospital treatment and other related costs.

Professional indemnity insurance is used by anyone who is in the business of selling their skills or knowledge. This type of insurance will provide protection against claims for damage or loss made by a third-party or client if you are found to have made mistakes or to have been negligent regarding services provided.

Purchasing liability or indemnity insurance is a step that any business simply cannot afford to ignore. By selecting the right insurer and insurance policy you can be assured your business will be fully protected in today and in the future.

Go Online and Get Cheaper Van Insurance

If you’re driving a van, chances are that you have responsibility beyond yourself. The reason that most people drive fans is to be able to transport a big family, or because they have a business that requires a lot of transportation, and therefore they have to drive a large vehicle. With this, you have many people depending on you to be able to continue your operations. And therefore you have a responsibility to yourself to keep your expenses as low as possible so that you can continue to live up to the expectations that your family and your business have of you.

What this means is that you absolutely must save money on van insurance when you can. This used to be quite a deliberate and arduous task – however, now you can definitely go online and get cheaper van insurance without having to go through each car insurance company individually, dealing with their skewed statistics and hard selling agents.

As well, if you go online and get cheaper van insurance by using van comparison websites, you are kept abreast of market forces which can to move the overall pricing of van insurance over periods of time. What this means is that you cannot, in order to keep the lowest and cheapest van insurance with the most services, simply find a comparison website and expect to keep the lowest rate on the market without going back. As a matter of fact, most economic advisers and personal financial officers want their clients to re-check things like car insurance and property insurance every six months.

The reason that you should check for cheaper van insurance every six months is that car insurance is one of the most competitive industries in the world today. What this means is that the market is constantly moving, and there is always some company that is offering an introductory rate for a lower rate than the one you have should keep getting business. You can take advantage of these offers to keep getting the lowest rate possible on the market. However, you must bookmark the pages on which you find the deals, and make sure that you come back to them every six months religiously so that you can stay on top of the market.

It is estimated that the average citizen spends twice as much as they should over a lifetime or car insurance. One of the main reasons for this is that people simply do not want to deal with getting a new insurance policy every six months, but the fact is that there is simply too much money to be saved to make this any less than a top priority, especially if you have people depending on you to continue your personal or business responsibilities in this volatile and unpredictable economic climate.

The bottom line is that if you want to continue driving your man the most profit, that you should go online and get cheaper insurance, no matter what you have to do in order to get it. And with the Internet, it is much easier than ever to do this, so go online and get your van insurance today!

This article was written by the PR division at Cheaper Van Insurance. For more information please visit

How Often Should You Shop for Car Insurance?


It makes sense that you would want to find the cheapest car insurance available. Car insurance is a necessity for drivers in the UK, but it does not have to be a costly necessity. You may have heard that by shopping around for new rate quotes, you can learn about possible savings available on your auto insurance premium. Yet you may have just shopped around for rates a year ago or even a few months ago. So how often should you shop for new car insurance to ensure that you always have the cheapest car insurance available?

Time for Factors to Change

When you shop for new car insurance, you can make a basic inquiry for a rate quote through an online rate comparison website. Such rate quotes analyze factors that may change over time, such as demographic information like vehicle-related crime rates in your neighborhood and the value of your vehicle. Other factors like your credit scores, your driving history, and even your age will change with time as well. These factors may fluctuate significantly in some cases, but in other cases most of these factors may not change much. If you live in a low crime area with stable demographics and your driving history and credit rating hasn’t changed much, you may not find much benefit in shopping for new rates frequently. However, if the area you live in has experienced significant demographic changes, if you recently got into an accident, or you have made changes to your finances that have resulted in a credit change, you may want to shop for new rate quotes sooner rather than later.

A Reasonable Time Frame to Consider

Most people will find that shopping for rates every twelve months or so is reasonable. This is ample time for insurance companies to update their demographic data for your location since the last time you shopped for rates. It also provides time for vehicle values, driving history, and more to updated as well. Yet in some cases, it can benefit a driver to shop for new rate quotes every six months or so. Whether you get a car insurance comparison every six months, every twelve months, or in some other interval, you may find that shopping online can help you to save time while gathering quotes.

Insurance companies do adjust their rates periodically, and the factors that are used to calculate rates change periodically, too. By making an effort to shop for new insurance very six to twelve months, you will find that you can avoid the possibility of paying more than you need to for auto insurance.

Northern Ireland insurance – myth busting

Here are some commonly heard myths, as they apply to Northern Ireland insurance:

  • there is little or no choice for car insurance here – while this may have once upon a time been based upon some reality, today there is increasing choice and increasing numbers of insurance providers selling into Northern Ireland (the specialist consolidation web sites for Northern Ireland insurers may help make finding them a little easier);
  • we are paying more for our insurance than people elsewhere – that may typically be incorrect in areas such as home insurance and only partly true in areas such as car and motorbike cover because as choice increases, we may be seeing increasing downward pressure on premium levels (though perhaps we have to admit that due to things such as high car crime rates, Northern Ireland premiums may be a little higher than the average in certain other areas);
  • the prices are all about the same – typically that is not the case and it may be in your interests, both in terms of the quality of cover provided plus achieving a cost-effective solution, if you shop around and compare options against each other;
  • you can’t get insurance for young drivers – typically, you can though you may need to be realistic and accept that your premiums may be less appealing than those available to older and more experienced drivers (of course, if you are a young driver with motoring convictions on your records, then it may be even more difficult and expensive);
  • older cars are cheaper to insure – they are many things that influence the cost of your insurance and the age of your car may be a relatively minor factor, as things such as its value, its engine size and the model (e.g. sports models may be typically more expensive to insure than saloons) may all prove to be far more pertinent to your premium;
  • it pays to stay with the same insurance provider – that may be a risky generalisation as the Northern Ireland insurance marketplace is evolving rapidly and new options are continually becoming available, so making the effort to periodically check whether your solution is still optimum for your needs, just might make sense.