With living costs on the rise, it’s a good time to look at where you can save some money in your usual budget – even if it’s just to save it away in case of an emergency. One of the common purchases we make but usually give little thought to is insurance. There are two main categories when it comes to insurance: optional and compulsory. Optional insurance is not obligatory which means you can choose whether to purchase it or not. It can include breakdown cover, travel insurance and mobile phone insurance, for example. Compulsory insurance is insurance that you are legally required to have in order to perform certain activities, such as car insurance if you drive a car. Not having compulsory insurance when you need it can result in fines, penalties and potentially even a prison sentence.

Whether you’re looking at optional or compulsory insurance, there are different ways to save money so you can increase your savings fund, or just give yourself a little monetary wiggle room as your budget starts to tighten. There are two main things to consider when it comes to finding insurance:

  • Renewal quotes
  • Comparing quotes

Renewal Quotes

Like you might compare loans online, you should always compare insurance policies before accepting a renewal quote. It doesn’t matter if it’s car insurance, travel insurance or even just a premium for your mobile: comparing insurance quotes first is almost guaranteed to save you money, and in some cases, could save you hundreds of pounds.

You normally get the renewal quote through about 30 days before your existing policy expires. Use the time wisely – you might even find you can get a cheaper price with the same insurer just by starting a fresh quote. Even though it can be easier and quicker to just let the renewal quote roll over, you could be doing yourself out of a lot of cash because insurers often rely on customers who don’t have the time to cancel their renewal quote and look for a new one. Of course, if your renewal quote does turn out to be the cheapest, then there is nothing stopping you from proceeding with it, but you need to check first!

Always Compare Quotes

As mentioned above, comparing quotes before taking out insurance could save you hundreds of pounds – enough to pay your MOT and car service or even a little weekend trip away! If you’re fairly diligent with your insurance quotes anyway, you might not see as big a change because you probably already have some of the lowest quotes, but you still should compare across multiple comparison sites to make sure!

Comparison sites make it super easy to compare anything from where to borrow money to all types of insurance. This is because they earn money by directing the customer to the provider. The easier their service is to use, the more often customers will use them (and so the more money they make!). However, this doesn’t mean you have to pick only one comparison site. There are a few main ones which compare most insurance providers, and you probably want to check at least two comparison sites to get a good feel for your options. Some insurance providers don’t list on comparison sites at all, so if you’ve got a little time, you can do direct quotes with them too.

Depending on the type of insurance you need, you will be required to enter different information. It’s a good idea to have this handy before you start to save yourself some time and hassle digging around for information. When generating a quote, you need to enter the information as accurately as possible, because incorrect details could invalidate your insurance even if you’ve paid for it!

When you click “go”, most comparison sites rank the results from cheapest to most expensive, but you will need to check the filters as they could be ranked by value for money, Defaqto rating (how good the cover is), or even by the details in the policy. If you’re only concerned about price, then you probably want to view the results from lowest to highest, but make sure the policies still cover all your needs. For example, with car insurance, the cheapest quotes often require you to have a telematics box installed (black box); with travel insurance, you may not have gadget cover or a cancellation policy of only £500 – if your holiday is worth more than this, you’ll lose the money if your holiday is cancelled. When it comes to insurance, sometimes the cheapest is not always the best option.

You probably want to narrow your options down to two or three quotes that you think match your requirements and your budget. If you’re not sure which one to choose, you should check the customer reviews either on social media or on review sites like Trustpilot. It can be notoriously difficult getting a pay-out when you need to make a claim on your insurance, so checking the customer reviews can help you finalise your decision, as you can see other people’s experience dealing with the insurer.

Finally, when you’ve chosen an insurance policy, read the documents before buying the insurance! It can be tiresome, but there is usually a simplified version attached if you are short for time – this will outline the main things included in your policy and what isn’t included. You must at least read this document to ensure your requirements are covered!