Does it matter when you buy your car insurance in relation to the renewal date? In short, yes it does - potentially by hundreds of pounds.

According to research by Moneysavingexpert, you'll get the best deal on your car insurance 20 to 26 days before the policy is due to begin - equating to a saving of up to 40%.

MSE requested data from three major insurance search engines, analysing 50 million quotes from October 2018 to September 2019. The results found that while getting insured sometime between 20 and 26 days before renewal saved big sums, the very best time to get insured was 24 days before renewal.

MSE found that pricing trends were almost identical across all three price comparison sites. The optimum purchase time was closely aligned with how much of an accident risk the driver was considered to be, and the period when the maximum number of insurers were able to provide quotes.

The average premium on the 24th day was £672 per year. But premiums quoted from 20 to 26 days before only differed across a range of £15.


What if I buy insurance on the renewal date?

This is the worst possible time to buy your car insurance, according to MSE research. The average on-the-day quote stands at £1,218 - which translates as £546 more costly than buying 24 days before.


What if I buy it way in advance?

This is also a bad idea. Being too organised, by purchasing your insurance too early, could leave you hundreds of pounds out of pocket. The earliest you can buy cover through a comparison site is usually 30 days in advance; but this would be an average of £388 a year more costly compared to buying 24 days before the renewal date.


Has the sweet spot always been 24 days before renewal?

Not according to MSE research; the previous analysis of this data revealed that buying cover 21 days before renewal would result in the lowest premium.


Why is this the case?

Insurers look at hundreds of factors when determining a premium; one of those is when a driver buys cover. Insurers have admitted that drivers who leave it to the last minute are considered higher risk.

According to MSE "some insurers [have told us] they've seen a direct link between drivers who leave sorting their insurance to the last moment and a higher number of claims."


Other things you can do to reduce your premium
  • Try a few searches on different search engines and see if fully comprehensive is cheaper than third party.


  • Tweak your job description (while being completely honest) and see if this impacts the offered premium: For example, according to MSE's car insurance job picker, on average a Scriptwriter pays £676.31 annually, while a Copywriter is considered a safer bet, and pays £635.91 - a saving of £40.40.


  • Add drivers who are lower risk than you (if possible)


  • Don’t automatically accept your renewal quote - as a better deal may well be available.


  • Check all comparison sites/insurers