COVID-19 has brought about many negative changes in our world, but some would say there have also been a few upsides: a slower pace of life and the opportunity to work from home. Often the latter also means less time battling peak-hour traffic.
There's another potential upside, too – you could save money on your car, home and contents insurance. Specifically, we will be exploring how to save on your car insurance premiums in Singapore if you are not travelling to the office every weekday.
If you’re working remotely, that means your car is spending a lot more time sitting in your multi-storey carpark than on the highway. But unless you tell your car insurer it’s going to stay that way, you could actually end up overpaying for coverage.
Factors That Influence Car Insurance Premium
Interestingly, even your job can affect how expensive your car insurance premium is. Although different insurers might have different ways to calculate premiums, people with “outdoor” jobs tend to be charged a bit more than people with office jobs.
Some insurers can get even more specific. For instance they might charge more to insure a salesperson who might spend a fair amount of time travelling around to different clients than they would charge a housewife, or an accountant who stays put in their office the entire day.
No-Claim Discount (NCD)
A No-Claim Discount, or NCD, is a discount on your car insurance premium which you can earn for consecutive years of safe driving. Generally, for each year that you drive without making a claim, you earn a 10% discount when you renew your insurance policy - up to a cap of 50%.
This means after 5 years of no claims, you essentially cut your premiums in half. Clearly, driving safe has massive benefits.
Some car insurance policies offer the option to add an NCD Protector feature, which protects your NCD from dropping at all when you make a claim. The NCD Protector usually costs an additional 10% on your premium. Do note that in most cases, you can transfer your NCD if you get a new car or switch to a different insurance company.
Age and Gender
Unfortunately, age and gender are two factors you have no control over. Drivers in their 20s tend to pay the most for car insurance in Singapore, as compared to drivers in their 40s.
However, don’t take this personally - insurers charge different premiums after analysing their claims data and determining which age groups tend to get in the most accidents and file the most claims. Therefore, they charge higher premiums accordingly.
Car insurance premiums may also vary depending on your gender. Insurance companies in Singapore generally charge higher premiums to men than they do to women. Unfortunately, the data indicates that men are significantly more likely to get into an accident than women are.
How Does Working From Home (WFH) Affect Your Car Premiums?
If you're now working from home, you will definitely find yourself using the car far less than you did before COVID-19.
You might therefore want to approach your insurance agent or company to leverage for a better deal on your car insurance premiums. Perhaps the best way is to call them directly, and inform them that your circumstances have changed. Since your risk is lower, you might be able to renegotiate your premium.
Mileage and Usage-Based Insurance
Another way is to call up your insurance to request for a switch to either a mileage-based or usage-based insurance plan. But what are those?
Usage-based insurance tracks the telematics of a driver using a wireless device that is installed in the car. The device then collects information and transmits the data to the insurer. An app might also be used instead to collect the data.
Some of the data collected includes acceleration, hard braking and cornering and the time of day that the drive was undertaken.
What about mileage-based insurance? As its name implies, mileage-based insurance is a type of insurance that charges customers based on the amount of miles they drive. This type of insurance can be beneficial for people who don’t drive very often, as they save money on their premiums.
Paying per mile uses a base rate plus a monthly mileage rate to determine your auto insurance premium. The premium will change as your mileage changes. Drivers with more mileage typically pay a higher insurance premium.
However, do take note that not all car insurance companies offer either mileage or usage-based plans. For the most accurate information, it’s best to contact your insurance company.
Off-Peak Licence Plate
If you only drive for leisure, and don’t need your car to travel to work, you can save a huge amount on your premiums by registering for an off-peak licence plate, up to an average of 25%! Off-peak drivers can also receive rebates of up to S$17,000 and annual road tax discount of S$500.
Off-peak drivers who identify themselves by wearing red licence plates on their vehicles, are placed under strict constraints on the extent of their driving. Restricted hours are from 7am to 7pm on weekdays unless they get a special electronic Day Licence (e-Day licence).
This means that drivers are not restricted on driving on weekends and religious or public holidays.
Perhaps the best way is to save money driving a car, but not incur the expenses that come with car ownership like insurance, road tax and warranty, is car subscriptions. Unlike traditional methods of leasing a car, car subscriptions allow Singaporeans to rent a car on a monthly basis, with no fixed term contract that binds the buyer to a rental car for a year or more. With COE prices hitting six figures in Singapore, it is no wonder that many Singaporeans are turning to this alternative instead.
For a detailed breakdown of the exact costs of car subscription and ownership, you might want to check out our useful comparison guide here.
Working from home certainly affords many benefits. Most people would not remember that they might be overpaying for their car insurance, as they are not using their car as much before COVID-19.
Even if you are not planning to switch to car rental or apply for an off-peak licence plate anytime soon, comparing the cheapest car insurance in Singapore is still very important in cost-savings. Luckily for you, we have compiled a list of car insurance policies and their prices for your convenience.