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What is a Car Insurance Premium? All you need to know

The world of car insurance can sometimes be daunting, especially when looking at the options and prices available in South Africa. In this article we aim to shed light on the most important aspects, providing a detailed overview of car insurance premiums and advice on how to reduce the cost.

What is a Car Insurance Premium?

A car insurance premium is the amount you regularly pay to your insurer to maintain active coverage (your policy). It’s your financial commitment in exchange for protection against potential losses.

In essence, it's like a subscription fee to ensure you receive financial protection in the event of an accident or damage. The frequency of these payments—whether monthly, quarterly, bi-annually, or annually—depends on your insurer and the specific policy you select.

What Makes a Car Premium?

Several factors determine the cost of your car insurance premium, including your age, driving record, the type and age of your car, the coverage you choose, and where you live and drive. For example, a young individual with a sporty car in a high-crime area will likely have a higher premium compared to an older person with a family car in a safer neighbourhood.

Main Factors in Calculating the Premium:

Your age: Younger drivers might face higher premiums due to perceived inexperience.

Your driving record: A clean record can fetch you a lower premium.

Type of car you're insuring: Luxury or sports cars often attract higher premiums.

Age of your car: Newer cars can sometimes cost more to insure, given their repair/replacement value.

Types of coverage you choose: Comprehensive coverages generally cost more.

Insurance coverage limits you select: Higher limits can result in higher premiums.

Where you live and drive: Areas with higher crime or accident rates might incur higher premiums.

How much you drive: The more you're on the road, the higher the risk.

Your credit score: This can influence your premium in some cases.

How are car insurance premiums calculated?

Insurance companies assess the risk associated with insuring you and your vehicle. Factors like your driving habits, where you park, and even the time you drive play a role. For instance, driving frequently in rush-hour traffic through unsafe areas at night will raise your risk profile, subsequently increasing your premium.

Suppose your monthly premium is $212. This means your annual premium would amount to $2,544. For a six-month policy, it would be $1,272. Various factors, as discussed earlier, would determine these amounts.

How to get the best possible price for car insurance?

The key is research and comparison. Different insurers weigh factors differently. By obtaining quotes from various providers, you can find the most favourable rates for your profile.

Companies offering good car insurance premiums

Some of the best car insurance companies with good premiums:

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Difference between a quote and a premium

A quote is an initial estimation of your insurance cost, often given with limited information. A premium, however, is the confirmed amount you'll pay, calculated after a thorough evaluation. A quote might only consider general credit tiers, but when finalising the premium, insurers could look at specifics like your credit-based insurance score.

How can i lower my car insurance Premiums?

There are numerous ways to reduce premiums:

  1. Choose only the coverage you need.
  2. Choose a car with cheaper repair costs or lower risk of theft.
  3. Improve your driving habits.
  4. Install safety and security features in your vehicle.
  5. Compare different insurance offers.
  6. Regularly check for policy updates and changes that could favour you.
  7. Consider an advanced driving course to reduce risk perception.
  8. Limit your driving – perhaps by carpooling or using public transport.

Types of Premiums:

Monthly premium:

A monthly premium is the amount you pay each month to maintain your insurance policy. It's one of the more common frequencies, offering a balance between affordability and consistency.

Six-month premium:

This refers to policies that have a term of six months. Instead of an annual review of rates, you'll potentially see changes twice a year. The total cost of these might offer savings if paid upfront.

12-month premium:

A 12-month premium covers a whole year. Some providers offer discounts for upfront annual payments, making it potentially cheaper than month-to-month payments.


Understanding your car insurance premium, how it's calculated, and how to potentially reduce it can help you make informed decisions about your coverage. As always, consulting with your broker can provide clarity tailored to your unique situation.

FAQ about Car Insurance Premium

What is a Premium Car Insurance Policy?

A premium car insurance policy offers extensive coverage, often including perks like roadside assistance, zero depreciation cover, etc.

Is a Premium Per Month or Year?

Premiums can be per month, six months, or annually.

What is Minimum Term Premium?

It's the lowest payment an insurer accepts to offer coverage for a policy period.

What Does Total Premium Mean?

It’s the cumulative amount payable to the insurer for the coverage duration.

What is the Total Policy Premium?

It’s the sum of all premiums payable across the entire policy term.

Author: Cristian Rennella

Update: 30/08/2023

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Questions and answers

Is it better to pay more excess?

It depends on the driver. If you know there’s little chance you have a car accident, you might have a higher excess assuming, clearly, you might don’t even have to pay it.

What if I stop paying my premiums?

The insurer won’t be forced to accept any claim if you haven’t paid your premiums.

Can I lower a comprehensive premium?

Yes, if you compare prices and don’t add special coverage.

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