Car Insurance

My wife and I will be returning to the UK to live after being in Canada for the last 15 years. I’ve been doing some research and we are considering moving to the Daventry area, this is near, but not too near to where my grown up children live.

Anyway my recent bit of research is buying a car, however I can’t seem to get past the insurance quotes system of things like compare the market. Also a search for insurance brokers in the area didn’t seem to turn up much.

I’m just wondering if forum members can give me a few guidelines on trying to get the best price. As we both drive Subaru Outbacks over here and there is a local Subaru dealer in Daventry, I’ve been using a used 2014 Forrester as my goto vehicle. I realize that this is not the most ideal car for insurance purposes but I’d rather over estimate my budget to be on the safe side.

So I’m wondering if there are any companies that might be good to approach directly for car insurance, we will be both swapping out our Canadian licences for UK ones and will be able to provide a drivers extract proving no convictions and also proofer of no claims. However I’m informed that we will be both treated as brand new drivers and a years insurance would be around 1400 pounds on the Forrester and also the car would have to be an automatic, I’ll be able to drive a manual but my wife will not.

Any advice gratefully received.


We have for many years used the local branch of NFU insurance…not always the cheapest but it is quite refreshing these days to speak to someone face to face.
They also have a well deserved reputation for a fair response to claims made.
We use them for home and contents cover as well as car insurance…may be worth a word with your local branch.

Direct Line which has the .com www address that you would expect, is quite competitive in my experience and doesn’t appear on the comparison websites.

Also if you are going to buy a car new when you get here, the car manufacturers have their own insurance products that can be very attractive for the first year or so. If you are insuring two cars, not necessarily of the same sort or new, then you may find a two car policy is quite a bit cheaper than two single policies.

One issue you will possibly face is persuading the company to accept some evidence of a no claim record so that you get a discount from the get go. This might be easier to do if you employ a broker as they can talk directly to the underwriters, which you most probably won’t be able to do. I guess that you can find an insurance broker easily enough. They don’t need to be local to you at all.



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I have found Tesco very competitive and easy to deal with. My son recently found the AA (Automobile Association) good for him.

In my experience compare sites like Moneysupermarket ans Comparethemarket actually tend to come up with decent quotes.

I’ve heard that some insurance companies make deals with specialist car brands and can be good - o harm in asking the Subaru dealer if they can recommend anyone.

At the end of the day, of course, which will give the best deal depends on your ‘profile’, some having targeted markets.

I have found car insurance to be very unpredictable in terms of where the best price might appear from.

When renewal time approaches, I go onto and run through the search engines they have assembled. They also flag up other insurance comanies such as Direct Line who don’t allow themselves to be included on the general search engines.

I would suggest run several searches and see which companies offer the best deals. Then follow up by approaching them direct to discuss your particular details re moving back from overseas.


Yes we have also used Tesco and the AA. We found the AA got rather expensive though, as in 50% more than Ford’s own insurance for my wife’s car.

We’ve used Direct Line for many years, and they’ve always been very good when dealing with claims (both no fault, but one was determined no one’s fault so I took the hit)!

The stupidest things about UK insurance companies is that the rates you get can vary depending on how you approach the quotation. There’s also no discount for no claim brand loyalty, new customers often getting better rates.

For example, we just leased a couple of cars. The wife’s car arrived a couple of days before the insurance on the old one was due to expire - I got two quotes, one day I queried transferring current insurance to the new car, another day for letting the old policy lapse when it expired but taking out new business for the new car using the older policy’s no claims discount - the latter option was several hundred pounds cheaper, utterly incredible and utterly stupid.

Do beware “excesses” …

… I pay extra for our 2 Volvos so as to keep the excess on each at a reasonable level (£150, I think) whereas cheaper quotes will include an excess of £500 or more.

Also: many of the cheaper quotes require you to use their appointed repair garages which means you can’t guarantee getting original manufacturer parts.

Cheap(er) deals are available but you may not get the (overall) cover you want.

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Yes, the quote price is only the starting point in comparisons.

Have to vote for Direct Line again, competitive and also good service when I have claimed on car (and also home) policies. They also respond quickly and helpfully on the phone.

Their quote for our new electric car was almost half that of tow other major competitors who clearly had a totally different risk algorithm!


I always use Comparethemarket and Confused. This year, Comparethemarket was not very good at all with only the one cheap quote, followed by ridiculous prices. Confused was far better and had plenty of competitive quotes.

Quotemehappy was the cheapest, so I went with them. The same Quotemehappy I was with for a few years until 3 years ago when their price started to rise to silly levels :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

Thanks everyone for your thoughts and advice. I totally forgot about Direct Line, however I’ve now got a few extra avenues to look at and hopefully I can get the cost down.


Timbo - as you may/will be a ‘new customer’, IME it’s worth doing the on-line quotations first, as this channel seems to offer the more competitive terms. Blessed with such quotes, I’ve then called the insuranceco’s to discuss some flex/detail and any non-run-of-the-mill aspects (e.g. limited mileage terms/enhanced XS’s, the value of hi-fi when reviewing home contents cover!) i.e. to keep them on their toes re their comparable offerings. The internet questions don’t always seem to cover all variables - or I’m left with that nagging feeling the PC screen hasn’t explained everything to me (e.g. re home insurance, around home security arrangements and the locking-spec’s of windows and doors, which can have a profound effect in the event of a claim).

You may/may not be aware that some UK insuranceco’s are now looking to combine/give reward via terms to parties either taking out both house & car insurance or via an embracing single policy approach for household & car(s) together. Obviously, the underlying terms and impact of any claim need to be studied carefully. The UK market is also littered with 1st-year discount syndrome.

I would add Aviva (Direct) as a place to visit - I don’t know if they appear on the comparison websites.

Good hunting!

When I returned to the UK from Oz in 2002, l got a certificate of no claims from my insurer, which counted for some no claims, I also took a refresher driving course with a company called ride drive ( not sure if they are still around), this also gave me some additional discount, I used a specialist motor insurance broker called Adrian flux who found the best deal for a returning expat. If you haven’t got a valid UK licence, it would be wise to get one.

Thanks for all of the information.

I plan to exchange my Canadian driving licence for a UK asap. I passed my test in the UK so shouldn’t be a problem.

I notice the big change is in the emissions and diesel cars, that seems to put up the price. Also I need to get my head around the new car tax rules.


Impossible. They make no sense whatsoever! I looked recently, wondering what my cars might cost if I still have them when I move back to England in a few years time, and I couldn’t fathom it at all. It seems it is mostly loaded onto purchase price, so reinforcing the benefit of buying secondhand (no problem for me as I never buy new).

It’s the new price, so buying a six month old car ex demo or second hand doesn’t help. You still get taxed on its new price.

I haven’t looked at it in detail but I believe the basic rule is keep the official new price (ie not the price with any discount you negotiate) below £40K.



There is a guy called Martin Lewis in the UK who runs a consumer-based website devoted to cost saving on all sorts of different things, including insurance. The link is below and it’s worth having a read because it will give you some useful tips on how to navigate your way round the UK car insurance industry, etc:

Do you mean that when you tax a car a year old, or two years old, or tgree etc every time you taxi it you get taxed on the new price? Or is that the first time a new owner taxes it? And is that tgecprice that the car was when new, or the price of the current new version (if there is one)?

The tax each year varies from car to car and when you come to renew the motor tax on a car, you are told what it is for the next year. This is the same as it’s been for some years now.

Whether you bought it new or secondhand or were given it for free by a friend makes no difference. In the case of cars that have an official cost of over £40K new, the second and third year tax rates are very substantial. That’s the main difference I think.

Edit: it affects the first six years, it’s explained here, if Richard will allow the link as it’s not a commercial site.