Getting insurance quotes
Insurance markets change all the time and you can save quite a lot of money by shopping around for the best quote. Certain types of insurance, like home and car insurance, have to be renewed every year. Your insurance company must send you a renewal notice at least 15 days before your renewal date, giving you the chance to shop around for the best policy. Remember, the policy offering the lowest premium may not always be the best value for money.
If you are buying long-term insurance policies, such as life insurance, you should consider your needs carefully and shop around for insurance that suits you and gives you long-term value.
The two main ways to buy insurance are directly from an insurance company or through a broker. The premium for an identical policy with the same company may be different, depending on whether you buy it directly from the company or through a broker. Brokers may have special deals or may be able to provide a quotation from a specialist insurer in Ireland or Europe.
You can get quotations online or by telephone but you may get special rates if you buy insurance online as the costs to arrange it can be lower.
When you are shopping around for insurance, don’t forget to bargain. If you get a good quote from one company it is often work checking if your existing insurer is prepared to match it or do better, in order to keep your business.
Remember when you get a quote from a firm, this is usually only valid for a certain amount of time, so make sure to ask the insurer.
Take note of exactly how much extra you are paying if you decide to pay your insurance by instalments. By law, you must be told the cost of credit and the APR. The APR allows you to compare the cost of paying by instalments with different providers.
If you are part of a group insurance scheme, through your job or other associations, you may be able to get better value than as an individual.
Information you must be given
Under the Central Bank’s Consumer Protection Code, firms must:
- Tell you how long their quote is valid for
- Make sure you are aware of any special conditions or restrictions that apply to the cover they are offering you (for serious illness cover only)
- Tell you about any discounts that apply or any extra premium being charged, when they give you a quote
- Tell you that your cover or any claim you make could be affected if you give incorrect or incomplete information when applying for cover – this includes you telling your insurer you do not smoke, but you actually do
- Issue your policy document within 10 business days of providing you with cover
Questions to ask
- What type and level of cover best meets my needs?
- How many quotes will my broker look for? Does my broker provide extra services, such as help with making claims?
- What fee, if any, will I be charged by my broker or bank? Is this instead of commission or will they also receive commission?
- Could I get a lower quote by dealing directly with the insurance company or looking online?
- What loadings are the insurance company applying in my case?
- Do I qualify for any discounts?
- Can I reduce my premium if I choose a larger excess?
- What is included in the policy and what is excluded?
Things to do when buying insurance
Always give full and accurate information when filling in application forms. Don’t give any false or inaccurate information because you may have difficulties if you need to make a complaint or claim later on.
Always cancel old policies
If you move to another provider, make sure you cancel your old policy and any payment you set up, such as a direct debit. It is advisable to inform your bank, in writing, as well as your insurer.