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.
Now some insurers are using this to try and entice new customers.
Swinton for example is offering £50 when you purchase a policy on its website before 31st January 2015.
As long as your policy is still active 90 days after your policy start date the firm will send a cheque for the money in the post.
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 £50 cashback is £50 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 to do the sums.
You can compare car insurance quotes with our car insurance comparison engine.
The Co-operative Insurance is offering £50 worth of Co-operative Food vouchers to new customers that buy a policy direct. However, the offer doesn’t apply to Young Driver and Eco insurance policies.
Eligible policies must be purchased by 31st March 2015. The vouchers will be sent via post within 90 days of your policy start date.
Elsewhere Debenhams Insurance is offering a £30 gift card to new customers when they apply for policy direct online.
You’ll get your gift card through the post within 45 working days from the policy purchase date. However you should bear in mind that the small print says you’ll only have 30 days to redeem your gift card from when you receive it.
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 right now if you choose to take out a car insurance policy with them.
Sainsbury’s Bank and Churchill are offering free roadside breakdown cover from Green Flag for 12 months.
Elsewhere Santander and the Post Office have an offer of one year's free breakdown cover from the RAC to new customers that take out a policy direct.
And the AA is offering free AA roadside breakdown cover for a year and money off breakdown cover upgrades.
Meanwhile Quote a Car is offering free roadside breakdown cover for a year with any of its car insurance policies for vehicles less than 20 years old. And Asda Money is offering free breakdown cover to those taking out its Five Star comprehensive policy on a vehicle under 12 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.
My Motor Quote is offering a free Halfords MOT worth £54.95 when you purchase a policy direct.
And Kwik Fit Insurance is also offering a free Kwik Fit MOT when you take out cover on its website.
Elsewhere Privilege and Hastings Direct are offering a slightly less appealing half price Halfords MOT voucher with all policies bought direct.
[SPOTLIGHT]For other ideas to save on the cost of a MOT read: Drivers: Cut the cost of your MOT.
Loyalty card points and discounts
Supermarket banks like Tesco and Sainsbury’s 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 before 5th May 2015.
Elsewhere Sainsbury’s offers up to a third off to those with a Nectar card. 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 with its Premium Cover.
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 want to save money on running costs, could do with a voucher 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.
This article has been updated