Last month, The Times reported that Admiral is charging motorists with a Hotmail address more for car insurance. We investigate why your email address could mean higher insurance premiums. And we share our top tips on how to keep insurance affordable.
How are insurance premiums calculated
Insurance is all about risk. When you get a quote, the insurance company looks at you and your vehicle and has to decide how likely you are to make a claim. For example, if they think you’re likely to make a claim, your premium will be higher than average. If they think you’re less likely to make a claim, your premium will be lower.
It’s a careful balancing act. On the one hand, the insurance company wants to quote a price that is low enough for you to select them rather than a competitor. On the other hand, they need to carefully decide how likely it is that you will make a claim and end up costing them money.
Things like whether you live in a high crime area or the size of the engine of your car may seem obvious factors in increasing (or decreasing) your premium. Similarly, a previous claim or a speeding penalty indicates riskier behaviour, so premiums will be higher. But there are also many other things they’ll use to decide what level of risk you pose. And for some insurance companies, like Admiral, that includes your email address.
Why does your email address affect your car insurance premium?
You might give your insurance company certain details about you, like your age and where you live. But insurers also analyse data from many other sources to try to predict your individual risk. According to Admiral, data analysis shows that people who use certain domain names, including Hotmail, are more likely to make a claim on their insurance. It means that drivers with this email address will be considered riskier, and charged more than if they had a different email address.
If you consider yourself a safe driver who has never made a claim, this might not seem fair. But it’s just the way that some insurers make their calculations. And you may be surprised to know that it’s not the only seemingly unconnected factor that can hike up costs.
Other things that could push up your car insurance costs
Insurers use hundreds of different sources of information to build a more accurate picture of the risk you pose. After all, if they get it wrong it can cost them a lot of money in payouts. Here are just a few other things that can make your premiums higher:
- The month you apply. February is the cheapest month to get a renewal, whereas the busy pre-Christmas rush in December is a more expensive time to renew
- The length of time before renewal is due. Applying last minute could push up your premium. Applying for a quote around three weeks before your renewal is due should give you the best prices
- Your credit rating. Insurers access your credit rating to help build a picture of whether you have a ‘risky’ personality. Generally the lower your score, the higher your risk and premiums. There’s not much you can do about this in the short-term, but it’s worth bearing in mind that this could be a hidden extra cost of failing to keep up with repayments
- Your job title. Your job title has a significant impact on the cost of your premium, with certain career choices considered riskier than others. For example, night shift workers have higher premiums because they are driving at what is considered a more dangerous time. If you have a job in the public sector, such as a nurse or teacher, you’ll be considered a lower risk. Obviously, you always need to be 100% truthful when you apply for car insurance. But if there is more than one job that describes what you do, it could be worth seeing if one offers cheaper premiums than the other
Should I change my email address to save money on my car insurance?
You could consider changing your email address – it certainly won’t hurt (unless you’re changing to a Hotmail account!) But, remember that not all insurance companies look at this when calculating your risk. If you don’t want to change your email, there are other ways to cut costs. Always shop around for your insurance, or get an experienced independent broker like Park Insurance to do the legwork for you. By contacting lots of insurance companies, you’ll get quotes from firms who use different factors to calculate risk. And that could mean big differences in the premium price you’re quoted.
A price comparison website can be a good starting point for shopping around. But remember that not all insurance companies are represented on these sites. You’ll also need to very carefully check the small print to make sure you’re actually getting the cover you need. If you use an insurance broker, you can talk through the cover you want and options to reduce your premium.
Helping you to shop around for a better deal
If your car insurance renewal price has given you a shock, give our friendly team at Park Insurance a call on 0117 9556835. We have 30 years experience, so we know exactly what’s pushing prices up and what to do about it. We’re independent, so we’re free to shop around to genuinely find the best price. And as one of the UK’s biggest brokers, we can use our extensive buying power to negotiate hard on your behalf. Call us today on 0117 955 6835 or get in touch to find out how much you could save.