Last minute comparison shopping will cost you, survey says

A brand new research study into how car insurance companies typically rake policyholders over the coals has revealed that last minute renewals will cost you.

Researchers from a major car insurance comparison site has revealed what most of us have known, more or less, all along: that insurers aren’t afraid to prey upon your feelings of panic and insecurity if you’ve taken too long to find a new annual motor car insurance policy. With your existing cover nearly expired, you’re likely to settle for anything you can find in order to avoid having no insurance on your vehicle at all – and research shows that premium prices hit their zenith on the day your policy expires as insurance companies make sure to capitalise on the panic of not having the requisite cover.

You’re really over a barrel if you let it get to that point. Either you’re going to have to auto-renew your existing policy – and we all know how insurers love to hike their prices for returning drivers, sort of a thumb in the eye to anyone who makes the mistake of staying loyal to their provider – or you’re going to pay above-market prices for cover you could have bought for much less just a few weeks prior. In fact, the researchers involved in this study say the best bet for finding a good deal is to take out a new year’s worth of cover around three weeks prior to your existing policy’s expiry date, as insurers will have to compete more rigourously on price at that point.

So what’s worse? Auto-renewal or waiting to the last minute? Well industry experts say you can lose around £200 a year on auto-renewal instead of shopping around for cheap car insurance. At the same time, this new research says that the average price difference between someone purchasing new cover early and someone waiting for the very last minute can be more than £325, so it’s actually less expensive to just be lazy and auto-renew at this point.

So what do I think? Well you’ve got to be a bit thick to think that your existing insurer isn’t going to toss you to the wolves in order to subsidise its newest policyholders. You know, the ones that get the best deals up front for at least the first 12 months. But you’ve got to be extra thick to wait until the last minute to get your car insurance sorted. Do it smart, save money, and stop proving me right when I tell you that you’re bloody stupid.

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