Renewing Your Insurance

In times of difficulty it's tempting to reduce this part of the family budget – but you mustn't do it, as Janet Pell explains

As families find themselves having to tighten the belt there might be a temptation to economise by cutting back on things that might not seem essential – such as insurance.

But arguably, the time when the economy slows is just the time when you want the best possible protection for your car, your home and your family.

Of course, car insurance is a legal requirement and the moment you go 'off cover' as the industry calls it, the national Motor Insurance Database records that fact. And as the police automatic number plate recognition systems use that database your uninsured car will quickly be spotted. The police have the power to confiscate your car immediately and will prosecute if you can't prove that you have cover.

So far as home insurance is concerned, it is a sad fact that higher levels of burglary and crime are linked to times of recession. It is also a time when it becomes more difficult to replace valuable items that might have been stolen so it's important to ensure you are insured.

When you come to renew your cover, it is certainly worth looking at ways you might reduce your outgoings. For instance, could you trade down to a cheaper car, or manage with just one car? That will certainly cut your insurance premiums. Put your car in the garage – that will attract a premium discount (and why not sell all the stuff in your garage at a car-boot sale and make a bit of money?).

If you have a youngster who's not long passed his or her driving test, getting them to take a Pass Plus course might get them a decent discount off their first year's car insurance.

Changing your driving style might help too: 'eco-driving' can safe £s between tank fills. It's not just about sticking to speed limits either (although that might just prevent you from picking up a fine, and endorsement and an increase in your insurance premium) but about the way you drive and anticipate conditions on the road ahead. The AA has a wealth of tips to get you going.

With your home, are there simple security measures you might add such as outside security lights, upgraded door locks or joining the local Neighbourhood Watch that might help reduce your premiums?

By all means shop around but remember that insurance is about service and value, not just the premium price. You can trust AA Insurance to find the cheapest cover for you from its extensive panel of insurance companies and rest assured that the level of cover won't diminish – all the benefits you might expect to enjoy are there.