AA says cheaper car insurance may exclude vital cover– like windscreen repairs - to keep costs low
Drivers are being urged to check the terms of their car insurance carefully as the rising price of premiums is seeing protections like windscreen cover removed from more basic policies.
Car insurance has gone up this year by an average £251 – as insurers reflect the increasing costs for mechanics, vehicle parts and repairs.
However the AA says it is noticing a rise in ‘basic’ or ‘essential’ insurance, which costs less, but may offer reduced cover or fewer benefits - such as no windscreen protection.
Yet as more technology is installed in cars – a front windscreen has become ‘more than just the sheet of glass’ say motoring experts – with heating elements, weather sensors and even cameras meaning the average cost to replace one could reach £700.
Gus Park, managing director for AA Insurance Services, said: “With household budgets being squeezed there is a temptation to find cheaper alternatives, but when it comes to car insurance it could be a case of not knowing what you’re missing.
“Windscreen cover is commonly removed on ‘entry level’ insurance policies so it is worth checking what you are covered for. Claiming for windscreen damage is one of the most common reasons drivers use their policy. If it is not included, then drivers are likely to lose the saving they made when buying a ‘basics’ policy.”
Compare the Market, which has been tracking the rising price of car insurance over the last year, estimates that prices have risen by around 40%.
Julie Daniels, motor insurance expert, said car insurance policies offering ‘essential’ cover are growing in popularity among cash-strapped motorists, but while attractive in the short-term the consequences can sometimes prove costly.
She explained: “Many car insurers now offer different levels of comprehensive cover, some of which provide a lower level of protection for a cheaper price. For example, ‘essential’ policies may not offer windscreen cover, personal belongings cover, or car key cover. We’ve seen an increase in popularity for these policies over the past few months, as households look to save money during the cost-of-living crisis.
“We understand that the lower price of ‘essential’ policies may be attractive to motorists, but it’s also important to understand that this type of policy may offer less protection. What might seem a cheaper option could end up costing you more in the long run, if you need to claim. For example, repairing a chipped windscreen could cost between £40 and £120 to repair while replacing a windscreen can range from £180 to more than £1,600, depending on where you live and what car you drive.
“Ultimately, it’s up to the driver to weigh up the cost versus the level of cover based on their needs.”