If you're looking to get a car insurance quote or renew your policy, then you might be wondering what the best time is to get the cheapest rate and lock in your price.
Get quotes early
There are numerous theories regarding the optimum time to get a quote for car insurance. Many people believe that purchasing your policy on or near your start date means that you pay significantly more. Whereas, getting a quote well in advance of your start date can be financially beneficial.
The idea is that if you buy your policy very close to the start date, then insurance companies will know that you need cover immediately and increase their rates accordingly.
Conversely, if you get quotes a number of weeks before you actually need insurance, then insurers reduce their rates because they believe you still have plenty of time to shop around and so want to lock you in as a customer.
23 days before your start date is the best time to buy
It should be said that insurance companies have not revealed the best time to buy your car insurance and none of them have admitted changing the rate they offer you based on a start date. However, a number of major comparison sites have analysed quotes done on their own systems and come up with their own results. The problem is that their conclusions differ a little depending on the comparison site.
We have looked at all this analysis and plotted a graph showing where each comparison site states is the best time to buy, together with an overall average of the results. It seems, from our analysis that the overall average best time to buy is 23 days (rounded up from 22.5 days) before your start date / renewal date.
Each comparison has calculated it's own best time to buy based on quotes done via their own system. Here's what each of them say:
Confused - 21 days before your start date
Confused say 'We think the best time to buy your car insurance is around 3 weeks before your renewal.'
GoCompare - 27 days before your start date
GoCompare say ‘Our customers saved over 55% on average by buying their car insurance 27 days before their renewal date, compared with those renewing on the day.’
MoneySuperMarket - 15 to 29 days before your start date
MoneySuperMarket give a range of between 15 to 29 days which is an average of 22 days. We've used the 22 days figure when including MoneySuperMarket in our analysis and graph.
They say 'you could save up to 17% by timing when you get your quote'.
CompareTheMarket - 20 days before your start date
The say on their website ‘You can save on average of £306 simply by switching 20 days ahead of your renewal date’
They reckon that policies get less cheap as you get closer to your renewal date, even to the point where it is still £90 cheaper on average to switch the day before it is due.
Our analysis shows that the average of all these comparisons sites comes out at 23 days before your insurance renewal date. However, it may be a good idea when getting quotes from each of the comparisons, that you use their own individual analysis.
Remember, not all comparison sites necessarily offer the same rates, even for the same insurer. Each site can have its own negotiated rates from individual companies. It's also the case that some comparisons include insurers or products that others do not.
Many sites may hold the price quoted for up to a certain time, such as 30 days. However, if you make any change to the quote then it could be recalculated using the latest rates and you will lose that price. So, if you get a quote 3 weeks out from your start date that you're happy with, it might be a good idea to buy the policy rather than wait until you get closer to the start date and risk losing the price.