Car insurance can be a tricky process but something that is essential for all drivers who want to be on the roads. Not only does it protect you against damage and theft, but it protects other drivers if you cause damage to their vehicle.

The amount of insurance you pay will depend on how much of a risk the insurance company thinks you are, so it’s worth considering ways that you can shop around for different policies before you commit. If you establish ways to make the process less of a hassle, you can rest easy knowing you’ve got the best possible deal. Don’t worry; we’ve compiled a list of tips that will make it easier to find the right insurance policy for you.

Use a comparison website

As with everything, the key to finding the best deal is to shop around. This is easily done if you use a car insurance comparison site where you can compare companies and policies based on what you’re looking for. With a comparison site, you can wave goodbye to filling out multiple forms with different companies and instead simply search for policies via a ‘best buy’ table. Some sites may require you to answer questions about your preferences and then provide you with the top options to suit you.

When comparing car insurance quotes, you’ll usually be asked to provide personal information such as your age, address, occupation and driving history as these things will directly affect the cost of cover. You should also have on hand information about the car you intend to cover such as the model, registration and estimate how many miles you think you’ll cover in the next year.

Not every price comparison site will give you the same quotes, so the most effective way to use them is to search a number of websites before deciding which policy to go for. Also, certain financial providers may not be featured on price comparison sites. Directline and Aviva, for example, require you to go to them directly for a quote. Call Wiser is a reliable car insurance comparison site that works with over 30 of the UK’s leading insurance providers.

Even though price comparison sites are engineered to find the cheapest deal across a whole range of providers, they may not always give you the best customer service you may be expecting.

Related: How to build your confidence as a driver

Know what you need

One of the first steps when taking out car insurance is knowing exactly what you need and how much you’re prepared to pay for it. Initially, you’ll need to know the type of car insurance coverage you need. There are three main types of coverage: third party car insurance, third party fire and theft insurance and fully comprehensive insurance. By law, third party insurance is the minimum level of cover that you need to drive on the roads. The cover provided by this policy is very basic, and only covers costs relating to damage caused to other’s property, compensation or any costs relating to injuries another person sustains because of you.

If your car is damaged or stolen, this type of cover will not cover it. This is why people opt for third party fire and theft insurance, a greater layer of protection that will protect you from these issues. The last type of policy is fully comprehensive. This is the highest form of insurance and will cover the costs of damage to your own vehicle as well as damage suffered by the other drive for causes including accident, fire and theft.

Insurers often try to sell you additional features that you do not always need or, sometimes, may already be included in the policy you have paid for. If you don’t want to pay extra, then maybe it’s worthwhile skipping add-ons such as windscreen cover, breakdown cover and the option of a courtesy car.

Another option is temporary insurance. This is ideal for someone who is borrowing a car from a friend or family member for a short period or those who are assisting learner drivers.

Take your time

Taking out a year-long car insurance policy is a huge financial commitment so take your time when choosing which one to get. You won’t always find a policy that gives you everything that you need for the price you expect, so you may need to learn to compromise on a few things. Another thing that you could shop around for is discounts. Companies sometimes advertise lower costs for drivers who are considered to be lower risk such as those that have a long-standing record of no claims.

Take your time filling out information on the sites that you use. A lot of sites can assume certain personal details about you that come in the form of pre-ticked boxes. Watch out for these, as providing the wrong information could mean you can’t claim on the policy if you ever need to. Always remember to follow good driving practices so in the unfortunate event that you are in a crash, you can cover yourself against scams that may result in an insurance claim against you.

If you follow these tips, you should feel as though taking out a new policy is a lot less hassle than you imagined. Whether you’re a new driver taking our car insurance for the first time or are shopping around for a new deal, always make sure you know what you need, use a reliable comparison website and take your time filling out all of the personal information your prospective insurance provider needs.