It pays to shop around.
Welcome to the first in a new nine.com.au series where our journalists try to save $50 on everyday services and items in 15 minutes. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't – but it proves you don't need to be a financial guru to stretch your dollar further.
I saved a substantial amount of cash on comprehensive car insurance – but it took me an hour-and-a-half of phone calls, internet searches and intricate questions about my personal history.
Car insurance, like taxes, is one of the burdens all motorists must bear for the privilege of running a vehicle on public roads.
If you're in an accident, provided you can afford your excess, then the value of car insurance becomes very quickly known.
But if you're a relatively infrequent driver, who takes good care of their car, then car insurance can feel like an expensive bill that only really rewards those who aren't careful.
READ MORE: How you could save $700 a year thanks to the latest interest rate cut
THE CHALLENGE: UPGRADE FOR LESS
I currently drive a 2000 white petrol Toyota Hilux. As far as cars go it's bulletproof: from bolt on side mirrors to its under stressed (read slow) 2.7 litre engine, it's like a meccano set.
I also don't drive it as much as I like. I work in Sydney's CBD, and commute to work by bike.
On weekends, my trusty ute goes fishing, hauls tools and nails the odd IKEA run – but for most of the week it sits unused.
I've recently become a new father, and with a newborn at home I'm keen to protect myself from sudden financial burdens.
I currently have the Hilux insured with third party fire and theft cover from NRMA, who I've been with for years. I've never made an insurance claim. My challenge therefore was to see if I could upgrade to comprehensive cover without paying a single cent more.
STEP ONE: SHOP AROUND
I currently pay $585.22 annually for third party fire and theft insurance for my car. I've never made an insurance claim, and I've been with NRMA for the entirety of my driving career.
This means I'm eligible for a bounty of no-claim discounts – but it also means I may have been missing out on what is in the rest of the market.
The first step I do is check what NRMA would charge me for full comprehensive cover. On my current car, that would run me $768.23 and include nice little benefits like a hire car while the ute is getting fixed.
I'm sure I can get a better price – so I head to the online comparison websites.
STEP TWO: NAIL DOWN YOUR DRIVER PROFILE
For insurers, the less risk you pose of cashing out your policy, the cheaper they are willing to offer you cover.
So what makes a driver less risky? As it turns out, a whole multitude factors right down to the colour of your car (white cars are often less likely to be in an accident due to visibility in poor conditions).
The big ones to make sure you've got down pat include: the ages of every listed driver, where the car is kept overnight, how many kilometres you drive a year and how the car is used.
I tightened up my policy by telling my insurer I now drive less than 5000kms a year, I'm the youngest driver at 28, and the car is used for private uses only (including the important clarification that it isn't used to commute to work).
STEP THREE: COMPARE, THEN HAVE THE PHONE READY
I used multiple comparison websites including Compare The Market, iSelect and Choosi. I also requested quick quotes from highly rated insurers including Budget Direct, Youi and GIO.
I filled out their online forms – ensuring I had my driver profile nailed down to a tee with everything that would make my policy (truthfully) cheaper – and then waited for the phone to ring.
A few of the quotes given online were marginally cheaper than what NRMA was prepared to offer.
But I knew the phone was about to ring, because one of the revenue streams for comparison websites is referrals given to them when a consumer clicks through to an insurer and purchases a product.
After speaking to customer service representatives from two comparison websites, I was given a ring by iSelect.
After going through an exhaustive list of questions (including my driver history), they offered me a comprehensive car insurance quote through Budget Direct for $556.20.
Bingo – I'm now below my current third party fire and theft cover (by $30) and it's only taken an hour's worth of online forms and phone calls.
Of course any savvy consumer would do well to pore over the PDS documents of each cover to establish true value, but on a face figure it shows that persistence pays off.
Did you save $50 in 15 minutes? FAIL
Did you save any money? Yes. Upgrading my car to comprehensive insurance I potentially saved $212.30 from my current level of cover.
How long did it take? From go to whoa, it took me around 90 minutes.
Would you recommend other people try this? Absolutely. What's an hour-and-a-half of your time worth? If you're earning more than $200 an hour you might do better to spend it working, but for everyone just starting by calling your insurer could be a lucrative move.
The information provided on this website is general in nature only and does not constitute personal financial advice. The information has been prepared without taking into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on any information on this website you should consider the appropriateness of the information having regard to your objectives, financial situation and needs.
Source: 9News https://www.9news.com.au/national/can-you-save-50-dollars-in-fifteen-minutes-car-insurance/c4a347fe-5b73-4ec9-866f-7476b4d9e611