How To Keep The Costs Down When Owning A Car

In the current economic climate, we’re all looking for ways to save money, but the expense of buying, keeping and running a car seems to be one that we just can’t avoid. People rely on their cars for work and family commitments, recreation, everything, and it often seems that if you want to own and drive a car, you just need to accept that there huge and unavoidable year on year costs involved. However, there are ways of controlling, or at least mitigating these costs, when choosing your vehicle. Insurance is a legal requirement on Britain’s roads so whilst there’s no way of getting around paying for it, below are a few tips on how the type of car you drive can affect your insurance premium, and what changes you can make to get a cheaper quote.

All vehicles on Britain’s roads are allocated an insurance group rating. Car insurance groups are regulated by the ABI (Association of British Insurers), who determine what vehicles fall into what group. There are 50 groups in total, and the general rule is the higher your insurance group, the higher your insurance premium will be. Insurance groups are determined based on the following factors;

Value new

This might seem obvious, but more expensive cars pose a greater risk to insurers, and so get allocated to higher insurance groups. Save money by picking up a cheaper car, and you’re likely to save again on the insurance premium.


High performance vehicles are rated as higher risk by insurers, because statistically, they are more likely to be involved in expensive insurance claims. You can keep insurance costs down by avoiding high performance vehicles, but if you’ve got your heart set on one, there are specialised policies available to help keep the cost of insuring them down, like sports car insurance or a telematics policy. Insurers understand that you aren’t going to buy a car based solely on its insurance cost, so there are a range of specialist policies available to keep a handle on this expense.

Safety and security

Investigating a car’s safety and security features should always be key before buying, as they not only contribute toward your personal safety whilst driving, but also your protection against theft, which can save you from having to make insurance claims that will hike up your premiums. Insurers rate on these factors and determine insurance groups based on the safety and security features of a vehicle. The potential benefits of a safe and secure car should go without saying, and the rewards will be there to see when you get your insurance quote.

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Replacement parts cost

The ABI use a list of 23 standard parts and their cost from various manufacturers to estimate repair costs, so bear this in mind when buying a new car. Cars those are no longer in production or are particularly rare will cost more when needing repair or replacement parts, making them both a greater expense for you to run and repair, and a greater risk to insurers, meaning a higher insurance group.

Repair costs and times

Another factor worth considering when choosing a new car, luxury and high performance cars generally take more time to repair, leading to higher costs. Insurers rate on this, you need to consider it too.


Whilst your new car’s insurance grouping is going to play a huge part in determining your insurance premium, so are you. Insurers rate on a huge amount of factors including your address, age, occupation, and driving history, many of which you have little control over. You can contribute to cutting your insurance costs by adding to your cars security (by parking in a garage or on a drive, or by adding an immobiliser), and by driving safely and avoiding making insurance claims.

Whilst there are a range of policies available to suit the specific needs and risks of different drivers, young and old, emerging telematics (or black box) technology may be the most effective way for safe and careful drivers to get the right premium and save money. It measures and records your driving habits (speed, driving times, location etc.) and calculates premiums based on facts about your driving, rather that statistics and general assumptions. It is an emerging technology that more and more people are using to keep costs down and maintain a measure of control over an expense they had previously had very little influence over.

Considering all of the above when buying a new car or a new insurance policy can help you prepare for, calculate and reduce insurance and running costs, and looking into these areas, such as car insurance groups, properly will usually give you a better understanding of what you are buying, and potential other future costs. In the end, the best way to avoid unnecessary costs is to be prepared – research and compare cars and insurers thoroughly and make sure that you’re buying the right car for you.

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