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Insuring a 4x4

Over the past 20 years, 4x4s and SUVs have become very popular in the UK. In 2006, there were 175,805 registrations of new 4x4s/SUVs across the UK. There are numerous reasons for this growing popularity. Although popular for their all terrain capabilities, 4x4s also provide more carrying and passenger space. In many cases, they are more environmentally friendly and safer than other models of vehicles on the road. They also provide easier entry and exit for those with impaired mobility. Although buying 4x4s is a popular thing to do, buying insurance for 4x4s is not. Many 4x4 owners dread buying 4x4 insurance in the UK.

Some insurers, however, may charge a small fortune for 4x4 car insurance. This is partly due to stereotyping and inaccurate statistics. Many insurers think that all 4x4s are the same and will be used for the same purposes. Anyone who’s been shopping for a 4x4 knows this is not the case, as there are a wide variety of 4x4s and SUVs on the market today. Most 4x4 owners will never take their vehicles off-road or participate in such activities as rallies and greenlaning.

Other reasons why 4x4 car insurance can be expensive

Some of the major factors why 4x4 car insurance can be so expensive are due to some accurate and a few, sadly, inaccurate statistics. Insurers believe that 4x4s cause considerably more damage to other road users on impact, especially pedestrians. This widely accepted belief was due to a 1998 American report. Some people interpreted the results to mean that a pedestrian is 27 times more likely to be killed when struck by a 4x4/SUV than if struck by any other vehicle. However, this does not necessarily hold true for most of the 4x4s/SUVs sold in the UK, which are much smaller than American models. Moreover, the report was related to vehicle-to-vehicle side impact collisions, not to pedestrian impacts. Nowadays, manufacturers have greatly improved safety from collision impacts for both, 4x4 occupants and pedestrians. Unfortunately, accident prevention is not included in most statistics, so insurers can’t always accurately assess the risks involved.

Numerous insurers also believe that all 4x4s present a high theft risk. However a 2005 report by the National Audit Office Reducing Vehicle Crime stated that 4x4s and people carriers are the least likely types of cars to be stolen. However, the insurers’ belief that this type of vehicle is costly to repair due to expensive parts and labour is accurate. Moreover, insurers are accurate about how expensive claims may become when covering all the accessories and modifications that are added to most 4x4s.

Tips

Although 4x4 insurance may be expensive, there are ways you can reduce the cost. These ways are:

• Join a 4x4 owners club- Insurers frequently give a discount for belonging to owners clubs for a specific type of vehicle.
• Do your best to attain and maintain a clean driving record for every driver added to the cover. Avoid convictions, whether motoring or non-motoring related. Clear any convictions off the records as soon as possible.
• Attain and maintain an excellent credit history. Pay bills on time or early, keep a good debt/income ratio, and carefully manage your finances.
• Take the extra driver training courses offered by the various manufacturers, car clubs, and dealerships. For example, Land Rover has a network of Experience Centres around the country. Although not all insurers will give a discount for this, it’s worth the effort. It never hurts to ask the insurance specialist if a discount can be given for the extra training and driving experience.
• Don’t modify your vehicle. Keep it the way the manufacturer designed it. The more modifications and extras added on, the higher your insurance premium will be. If you do modify or add accessories, make sure you inform your insurance company, as it can make the policy null and void. If you’re just thinking about adding accessories and modifications, then ask your insurer which ones would lower your premiums.
• Limit the number of named drivers, especially those under the age of 25 years old. Don’t use the vehicle for private hire or lend it out to anyone.
• Limit the mileage. The less distance and frequency driven, the lower your premium will be.
• Keep the vehicle in a secured garage or off-road location, like a lit driveway. Make sure the vehicle has a Thatcham approved security device or alarm system. It helps to keep the vehicle stored at your home address.
• It also helps to not have the vehicle registered as a Q plate.
• Don’t take the vehicle off-road and don’t participate in competitions, greenlaning events, rallies, track days, trials, or any other off-road events.
• Do some in-depth comparison shopping, especially online. Visit at least 5 sites, so you can get a wider selection of quotes. Check out several offers before accepting any of them. Sometimes insurers will give a discount just for purchasing your cover online.
• Read all the fine print and check for any hidden costs. Ask the insurer to include any needed coverage and remove any services you don’t need.
• Consider increasing your voluntary excess. However, be sure it’s not so high that it will keep you from filing a claim later. Don’t file any small claims if you can afford the repairs yourself. Every claim you make puts you in a higher risk insurance group, which then increases your premiums.
• Consider combining your insurance cover. Sometimes insuring more than one vehicle on a policy will lower the premium. You can also combine the cover with your home insurance in some instances. However, compare the cover carefully, as it may cost more that way instead of less.

Whether you’re shopping online or off-line, you should search for 4x4 insurance specialists. They are more likely to understand which specific types of cover you need. You should also make sure you understand each inclusion and exclusion on your policy. Not all insurers determine premiums and administrative fees the same way. Nor do all policies include the exact same features. However, buying insurance doesn't have to be a dreadful experience anymore. Thanks to online insurance comparison sites and insurance companies’ web sites, buying 4x4 insurance cover has become much easier and less expensive to do.

 

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