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Running costs

The running costs of your car depend on how much you use it. Use it for any old journey and your fuel, servicing and repair costs will be higher than average. Add this to the annual cost of insurance, road tax and breakdown cover, and you're looking at loads of money. Thankfully owning a car needn't break the bank – here's how to keep your costs low.

Choose your car wisely

Buying a CO2-efficient car will reduce the amount of road tax you pay, and the amount of fuel you use.

Look after your car

Maintenance costs can be high if you don't look after your car, so it pays to have your car serviced regularly to help keep it in good, safe, running order.

Keep your future buyer in mind

Depreciation is the loss that you make when you sell your car for less than it cost you to buy. To reduce depreciation, maintain a full service history so that future buyers can see that the vehicle has been looked after, and try to keep your mileage low.

Minimise your fuel costs

Check out the Environment section for fuel saving tips.

Replace tired tyres

Worn tyres are more likely to puncture, and they have less grip on the road, which increases the risk of accidents when the roads are slick. Good quality tyres don't have to be expensive – shop around and compare prices. Maximise tyre life by keeping tyres correctly inflated and aligned – under-inflated and unaligned tyres will wear very quickly.

Take the Pass Plus

This is a course designed by the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) that will boost your driving experience. Fees vary depending on where you live, and the course takes a minimum of six hours. Pass Plus needs to be taken within a year of passing your tests, but there is no test at the end of it as your driving is continually assessed. When you have successfully completed the course, you can get major discounts on insurance offered by companies taking part in the scheme.

Shop wisely for your insurance

Insurance can be expensive, and the biggest factors that influence your premium are age, gender and where you live. Of course, these are things you cannot easily alter, but as with all insurance, these are not the only factors that influence your premium. Aside from Pass Plus, you can save 35% on your insurance premium by simply comparing several insurance companies against each other.1

What cover should I get?

There are three levels of cover available, although most people – about two thirds of private motorists – have what's known as comprehensive insurance.

  • Third party: This is the most basic insurance and covers anyone you might injure or whose property you might damage. You are not covered for damage to your car or injury to yourself.
  • Third party, fire and theft (TPFT): This is the same third party, but also covers you for fire and theft to your car.
  • Fully comprehensive: This is the best, but also the most expensive. It covers any damage you may do to other people and their property, and covers you and your car for accidents, fire, theft, malicious damage and injury.

What is no-claims bonus?

A no-claims bonus is the discount given by an insurer if you do not claim on their policy during the period of car insurance. This starts at around 15% after one year and climbs to 60% after six or more claim-free years.

What is the impact on insurance after an accident?

If you're not at fault, none of your no-claims bonus will be taken. If you are at fault, you will lose two or more years of your no-claims bonus.

Can I get by without insurance?

No. The law requires you to have insurance. Being involved in an accident while driving without insurance may result in criminal prosecution. Protect yourself and others by making sure you're adequately covered.

AA pupils get great deals on AA Car Insurance! Find out more.

1 Association of British Insurers

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