The best car insurance incentives and freebies
If you're in the market for a new car insurance policy take a look at the incentives and freebies on offer right now that can sweeten the deal.
Searching for car insurance can be a drag. Thankfully the internet has made it much easier to find cheaper deals at the click of a button. Now we have more information at our disposal to scrutinise quotes and pinpoint which insurer will give us the most for our money.
This is especially important when it comes to the extras and freebies. Behind the obvious gimmicks are some useful promotions that could potentially be a deal breaker when deciding which policy to go for.
So let’s take a look at the best of the incentives and freebies on offer right now.
2 for 1 cinema pass
If you take out a motor insurance policy online with Direct Line you can get unlimited two for one cinema entry for a whole year.
The Direct Line Cinema Card gives you one ticket free when you purchase an adult ticket that you can use on any day of the week at one of 200 participating cinemas nationwide.
And because it's unlimited the savings could be huge for avid movie fans.
For example, if you went to the cinema with a friend twice a month every month for a year and the tickets cost £7.20 each you would save £172.80 over the term of the Direct Line deal.
The offer will be available until the end of March so if you can get a competitive quote from Direct Line, act fast.
If not there are lots of other ways to cut the cost of going to the cinema. We’ve detailed a few in this article: How to cut the cost of your cinema tickets.
£100 off fuel
If you take out a car insurance policy with RAC you can get £50 off fuel plus an extra £50 if you add in Breakdown Cover.
To claim up to £100 off on fuel at the pumps you will get an RAC prepaid Visa debit card.
However, you will be limited to quarterly instalments of the £50/£100, which is a bit rubbish if you want to use it all at once for a big journey.
The £100 fuel offer is only around for a limited period and ends on the 30th of April 2013. But if the RAC can't give you a competitive quote then read this article to find cheaper fuel instead: How to find the cheapest diesel and petrol prices.
If you’ve ever used a cashback credit card or cashback website, you will know how satisfying it can be to earn money back when you spend. Now some insurers are using this to try and entice new customers.
Hastings Direct is offering £20 when you buy car insurance direct while Swinton is offering £40 when you purchase a policy on its website.
The cash is offered as a refund on the premium price and usually takes around 90 days to reach you.
But bear in mind that cashback on a car insurance policy can be a false economy. If the policy you take out in order to get the £40 cashback is £40 or more expensive than another quote, this is not saving or making you any money at all!
I found that when I tried to get a quote at Swinton, it was nearly £400 more expensive than my best quote - so clearly not a policy I could benefit from. The key is to shop around and do the sums.
You can compare car insurance quotes with our comparison engine.
Free breakdown cover
With the recent severe weather conditions you might be more inclined to take out some breakdown cover to protect yourself on the road.
Quite a few insurers will offer you a deal on this driving essential if you choose to take out a car insurance policy with them.
The Post Office is offering one year's free breakdown cover worth £49 to new customers under 50 that take out a policy direct before the end of September.
Elsewhere Asda is offering 12 months free breakdown with recovery worth £50 to those taking out a comprehensive policy on a vehicle under eight years old.
If you’re able to get a best buy quote from any of these insurers, having the added bonus of breakdown cover will save you money.
Another appealing freebie that can help with the overall cost of running a car is a free MOT.
Halifax Car Insurance is offering just that when you buy your car insurance with the bank over the phone or online.
An MOT at a local garage can be arranged through the National Service Network with the voucher you receive with your policy documents but only once you've held your policy for 14 days.
Those with a new car or one which is less than three years old and wouldn’t necessarily need a MOT in the next year can get a free 26-point vehicle health check instead.
The cost of a MOT will vary depending on the garage you choose but I have paid around £50. So this sort of freebie gives you a little extra cash to play with that you were probably planning to put aside for the yearly check-up anyway.
But you won’t be making the saving if the Halifax policy is more expensive than what you find shopping around. Weigh up whether it's worth it before taking one out.
For other ideas to save on the cost of a MOT read: Drivers: Cut the cost of your MOT.
Some insurers don’t give you a guaranteed freebie but tempt us with the chance to win something big.
Diamond is currently offering the chance to win free shoes for a year when you take out a policy direct from its website or over the phone before 30th April 2013.
Diamond and other companies that used to specialise in offering cheaper car insurance exclusively to women, have had to change tack since the EU gender directive came into force last year. Now the focus is policies ‘shaped’ for women.
This offer will give one lucky winner £300-worth of vouchers every month for a different shoe retailer over a whole year. So by the end you could amass a collection of shoes worth £3,600! But for me competition incentives just don’t cut it, as nothing is guaranteed.
Loyalty card points and discounts
Supermarkets like Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Marks & Spencer currently have promotions that target loyalty cardholders with promises of points and discounts.
Tesco will offer Clubcard holders a guaranteed discount on their insurance, but doesn’t state how big this could be, so double check if your quote can be beaten. But even if you can’t make a saving on your policy you can bag 100 clubcard points just by letting Tesco know when your insurance is due for renewal.
Elsewhere Sainsbury’s offers up to a third off to those with a Nectar card and who purchase before 3rd June 2013. Plus you get the chance to earn double Nectar points for up to two years (if you choose to renew your policy) on Sainsbury’s shopping and fuel. But according to the Sainsbury's website only 10% of Nectar card holders who take out a policy achieve the maximum discount.
M&S cardholders who take out a new car insurance policy could save up to 25% and receive 1,000 M&S points worth £10. Those who renew can get a 15% discount but no points.
Personally I wasn’t able to find a deal that could beat my best quote even after using these offers, but they are worth a try to see if they do for you. Otherwise read: How to boost your loyalty card points to help you along instead.
Is a freebie worth it?
If you’re a fan of shoes, like going to the movies, want to save money on the running costs or enjoy earning cashback then there is deal sweetener out there for you.
But no matter how good the offer may sound it is important to purchase the best level of protection for your needs at the best price.
This involves shopping around and generating quotes through comparison centres as well as individual websites.
Only after you have pinpointed the best set of deals can you start to be selective about the extras.