Advice - Insurance FAQs

Why does motor insurance have to be complicated?
Every person's individual circumstances are different. Insurance companies need as much information as possible to enable them to determine what the premium should be for the risk for each individual's circumstances. Each insurer will view the details slightly differently based on their own experiences and claims statistics.
What information do we need to know?
You must tell us everything that is relevant to your insurance. If you don't then you risk having your policy voided, and being left without cover. We need to know all your details, your driving history (any claims or motoring offences for you and any other drivers who will be using the car), the car details and the location. It is useful to remember that insurance companies and the police are starting to share information about cover, drivers and driving history.
Why do I need to give so much information?
Insurance companies need to take a lot of information in order to calculate a price: things like the make and model of car, postcode, driving history, claim experience, occupation, and type of use. By taking so much information we can personalise the price for your specific circumstances.
Why do premiums vary so much between different insurance companies?
Insurance companies work with different statistics and use different methods to calculate premiums. Some companies specialise in certain areas or types of car so are prepared to discount more in some areas than others. This adds to the complexity as a like for like quote with a number of different companies can yield a number of very different prices. We are able to show you which companies are most competitive for you and those that aren't saving you time, money and effort.
Why is my insurance more expensive this year than it was last year?
In recent years insurers have been losing money by writing motor business. There has been pressure in the market to keep rates down due to the fact that so many companies are writing motor insurance but as they have lost so much money they are now putting the rates up so that they can cover claims losses and make money again.
I don't live in the UK - can you still insure me?
Sorry - We can only implement policies in the United Kingdom and the Channel Islands (excluding N. Ireland)
Why do we need medical information?
This applies only to DVLA reportable conditions that may affect the conditions under which you are granted your driving licence but be aware not all companies quote in this situation.
Why do I need a password?
Once you have completed a quote we will email you with a password and a quote reference number. This is required to keep your data secure and to enable you to retrieve your quote details without having to enter your details again. If you need to contact us during the quote procedure your quote reference number will be displayed at the bottom of all quotations pages.
Your system does not recognise the make and model of my car - what should I do?
You will be asked to search for your car's make and model. If the system does not display an exact match please call us on 0844 482 8122.
What does NCD stand for?
NCD stands for No Claim Discount and it represents the number of years you have held a policy without making a claim or having a claim made against you. Any No Claim Discount that you have earned can only be used on one vehicle at a time.
If my No Claim Discount (NCD) has been earned in another country, is it still acceptable?
Providing that we have full details of the Country and previous Insurer we should be able to arrange a quotation for you with an insurer that will accept your NCD. You will need to contact the quotations department on 0844 482 8122 to obtain a valid quotation. We will require foreign NCB to be translated and also to contain the number of years claim free driving.
Should I protect my no claims discount?
For a small extra charge you can protect your NCD. This allows you to make a stated number of claims in a stated number of years without affecting your discount. For instance you may be able to make two claims in three years without your discount being affected.
Will you insure my car if it has modifications?
At Performance Direct we specialize in modified cars, unfortunately at present our on-line facility is unable to give you a quotation including your modifications however we suggest that you fill out the on-line form and then contact us to see what effect your modifications will make to your quotation. You might be pleasantly surprised. Alternatively call us on 0844 482 8122 and we can arrange a quotation over the telephone.
Why do modified vehicles cost more to insure?
The simple answer to this is that many underwriters are wary of drivers with modified vehicles, considering them to be reckless and therefore prone to accidents. The reality is, however, that drivers of modified vehicles tend to be car enthusiasts who will go to extreme lengths to protect their pride and joy from harm. At Performance Direct we only deal with underwriters who respect the modified vehicle driver.
Can you provide insurance for my vehicle if it has been imported?
We have a wide range of schemes to cover most imported cars. If your vehicle cannot be found on the on-line system please call us on 0844 482 8122 and we will try to assist you.
Is there a minimum age requirement for Classic Car insurance?
Yes - You need to be 21 or over in order to qualify for most Classic Car policies.
What is an excess?
Excess is the amount you are obliged to pay to your insurance company before your claim pays out. An agreed excess of £100 means that you will contribute this amount before receiving any compensation from the insurance company. The higher the excess you agree the less your insurance premium will be. Paying a higher excess is therefore a good way to reduce your premium.
How can I tell when my car was first registered?

This information is available from your Registration Document (V5). The table below lists the Registration Marks for the last 10 years:

  • M 1994 - 1995
  • N 1995 - 1996
  • P 1996 - 1997
  • R 1997 - 1998
  • S 1998 - 1999
  • T/V 1999 - 2000
  • W/X 2000 - 2001
  • Y/51 2001 - 2002
  • 02/52 2002 - 2003
  • 03/53 2003 - 2004
  • 04/54 2004 - 2005
What are car groupings?
Every car is given a group number by insurance companies, and this provides an indication of the risks involved. The higher the group number, the more expensive the premium will be. Cars are rated according to the following:- value when new, repair costs, repair times, body shells, performance and security.
Who is the main driver?
The main driver is the person who uses the car the most. It is better to be honest here if you are planning on insuring a car for your son or daughter as insurers can invalidate claims on this basis.
What is the difference between the 'owner' and 'registered keeper'?
There may be a reason for the owner and registered keeper to be different individuals. For example, you may use a car that is owned by someone else in which case you would be the registered keeper. Or you may own a car that you allow your children to use and therefore the registered keeper would be one of your children.
Why do insurers penalize young drivers?
The fact is that newly qualified drivers are involved in more road accidents than anyone else. You will need to prove yourself to be a safe driver and therefore a low risk to insurance companies, this will only come with experience. If you have passed your test within the past 12 months you may consider taking the Pass Plus course. This is a short driving course (a minimum of 6 hours is required) that will give you plenty of driving experience and could save up to 30% on some insurance premiums.
What is an immobiliser?
An immobiliser is an electronic device that stops the car from being started if it is broken into. Although this won't stop your car from being broken into, it may well stop it from being driven away.
What is a tracker?
A tracker is an electronic device (normally fitted as an accessory after purchase of the car), which emits a signal enabling law enforcement agencies to locate the car anywhere in the UK if it has been stolen.
What difference will a Thatcham approved device make to my premium?

The security measures you have in place to protect your vehicle can dramatically affect the price you pay for your insurance premium. In many cases only Thatcham approved security systems are considered by insurance companies before they issue cover.

This is because Thatcham approved systems are designed specifically to meet the criteria designated by the Association of British Insurers Motor Research Centre at Thatcham. The three categories of security systems are:

  • Thatcham Category 1 (Cat 1) - A combination of an immobiliser and alarm.
  • Thatcham Category 2 (Cat 2) - An immobiliser that disables two of the systems needed to start the car.
  • Thatcham Category 3 (Cat 3) - A mechanical device, such as a steering lock.

Thatcham Category 2 to 1 upgrades are also available (2 to 1) that simply supply an alarm where your vehicle is already fitted with an immobiliser. This option can work out slightly cheaper than removing the security you have in place and replacing it with a new Thatcham Category 1 system.

All of the security systems provided by Thatcham are retested annually to ensure they meet current market standards.

How do I know if it is Thatcham approved?
If your vehicle has been fitted with a Thatcham approved security system you should have a certificate from the installer. Your insurer will require proof of this!
What security do I need?
Many insurance companies require your vehicle to have a Thatcham approved security device. This will include an alarm or immobiliser or combination of both. Thatcham approval indicates that the security is subject to regular testing and therefore complies with the Association of British Insurers standards.
How do I know what sort of immobiliser/tracker/alarm system my car has?
Most cars up to 6 years old come with some sort of alarm and/or immobiliser. Insurers will already have the details of the alarms and immobilisers that are fitted to newer cars. This is already built into their rating criteria. If you have an older car you may have fitted a specific alarm. All alarms and immobilisers are categorised and insurers may give discounts depending upon the make and model of alarm or immobiliser.
Accidents or Claims?
These need to include any accidents or claims you have made in the last 5 years. You will need to have details of these to hand.
Motoring offences?
These need to include any motoring offences in the last 5 years including any pending prosecutions. You will find the details you need on your driving licence.
Fault/non-fault claim - what's the difference?
The terms fault and non-fault can be confusing. A non-fault claim is simply a claim where the insurer is able to recover all their costs from someone else. If they are not able to recover all their costs, then it is a fault claim even if you didn't cause the claim to happen. For example a theft is typically classed as a fault claim because although you are not to blame for the theft, the insurance company had no third party to claim the costs from so they classify it as a fault claim.
I need to enter details of claims and/or convictions. Can I still get a quote online?
Yes, we will be taking your driving history into account so we will ask you to enter details of any claims or convictions that you may have (there may be occasions when we need to discuss these details with you).
What are the different use types?

It is important that you have the right use for your car, if you have the wrong use you may find that your insurance company will not pay out on a claim.

  • Social, Domestic & Pleasure - this covers you for normal day-to-day driving, such as driving to visit family or friends, or shopping.
  • Commuting - this covers you to drive back and forth to a permanent place of work. Please note that travelling to a railway station, where you park your car, is classed as commuting.
  • Business Use - this covers you to use the car in connection with your job, driving to different sites, travelling to training courses or prearranged meetings away from your normal place of work.
  • Commercial Travelling - This covers the car to be used for such things as door-to-door sales

If you are unsure on what type of use you require please call our quotations department on 0844 482 8122.

Number of cars in household.
Must always be at least 1. If you are using our site to check out prices for insuring your first car then make sure you have put a 1 in this field. If you have a number of cars in your household remember to include your car plus the others as some sites do a cross-validation of data.
How old do I need to be to obtain an online quotation from your website?
To obtain an online quotation from our website you must be over 17 years of age and below 80 years of age.
Does my policy cover me to drive abroad?
Yes, you can extend your existing cover to travel within the EU. We suggest that you contact our customer service department on 0844 482 8122 to obtain full details. Some insurers may charge for this extension. If you are traveling outside the EU you may wish to extend the level of cover you have in this country to the countries that you are visiting abroad.
Does my policy cover me to drive other cars?
It may well do. Each policy differs depending on customer requirements. We do not automatically insure you to drive other cars so you should check your Certificate of Motor Insurance to see if you are covered.
When will I receive my insurance documents?
You will receive the documents that you request from us by email the same day or if you request by post and the charge has been paid then you can expect your documents within 5 working days.
Will I be supplied with a courtesy car while my car is being repaired?
If your vehicle is damaged as a result of a claim that is covered by your policy, providing you are using one of the insurers recommended repairers to repair your vehicle, your insurer will offer you a courtesy car for the duration of the repairs, subject to availability. If your vehicle is stolen and not recovered or damaged beyond economical repair, we are unable to provide a courtesy car but will settle your claim as quickly as possible.
How do I make a claim?
If you are unfortunate enough to be involved in an accident or you have your car stolen, vandalized or damaged in any way, you can call us to report a claim on 0844 482 8100. We will provide you with the support you need, details of the repairer nearest to you and all the steps involved. As one of our customer, you will always receive the highest standards of service.
How can I pay for my policy?

If you would like to arrange a policy with ourselves, you will need to contact our quotations department on 0844 482 8122. All major credit & debit cards are accepted. Alternatively you can send a cheque in the post including your unique reference number and contact telephone number.

If you would like to pay for your premium by Direct Debit you can pay in one lump sum or monthly installments. If you choose to pay by Direct Debit, you will be asked to pay a deposit.

If paying by a card, "card number" refers to the long number shown across the middle of your card (between 16 and 21 digits). We may also require an issue number and expiry date.

Can I pay for my policy using someone else's account or card details?
When you pay for your insurance, you are required to confirm that you, as the policyholder, are the account cardholder. If you wish to use someone else's details, we will need to speak to the account or cardholder for their permission.
What can I do to reduce the cost of my insurance premium?

There are many discounts available to customers that are not generally advertised. Ask your broker for advice if you think you are paying too much. The following guide will give you some ideas of how to save money:

  • Insurance companies generally offer discounts if you take out more than one policy with them. You may save around 10% if you take out a household policy at the same time as your car policy with certain insurance companies.
  • Choose to pay more voluntary excess. The more you offer to pay towards a claim, the lower your premium will be.
  • Paying your premium in one go, rather than spreading the cost over monthly payments, will reduce the overall cost by about 12%
  • Make sure your car is secure - have a Thatcham approved alarm or immobiliser fitted, or even a tracker device. However, you should always weigh up the cost of the security device against how much you are likely to save.
  • Keeping your car on the driveway or in a garage overnight will also reduce the amount you pay.
  • Are there going to be any additional drivers. Restrict the number of drivers insured. It is also possible to put additional drivers on cover for a limited period e.g. for school holidays. This is also cheaper than having permanent additional drivers.
  • Tell your broker if you drive less than 5,000 miles per year as this could also result in a discount (the average is 8,000 - 10,000)
  • If you have two or more cars in the family, you could save money by insuring them with the same insurer.
  • Find out about advanced driving courses, as these will turn you into an expert driver in the eyes of the insurance companies.

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