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Andrew Daniel

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Beware auto-renewing Car Insurance policies

Drivers are urged to shop around when their car insurance is due for renewal and not allow auto-renewal of their existing policy to leave them with a bad deal.

Many insurance companies now automatically renew your car insurance policy. This is easy and convenient and means you don't have to worry about it. As with many dealings with financial organisations, if it is easy and convenient and relies upon your inertia, it is time to check that you are getting a good deal!

Some drivers have even taken out new insurance with another company and then found their original policy has auto-renewed leaving them paying twice. The original insurer then charges a fee for cancellation of their policy.

Your insurer should send a letter confirming the new premium, typically 3-4 weeks before the renewal of your policy. Don't ignore it. As an absolute minimum you should check that the details they hold about and your circumstances are correct, otherwise you could face difficulty if you need to make a claim.

The new legislation being brought in by the FSA thanks to the PPI insurance mis-selling puts more onus on the seller of the insurance product to ensure the policyholder is eligible to claim. This may force changes in the way motor insurance policies are renewed, particularly the confirmation of your details, but the new rules do not come into force until 31st March 2013.

Many drivers have found that renewal premiums are 20% higher than re-applying to their existing insurer as a new customer through their website.

The safest option is to take the opportunity to make sure you are getting the best deal available by checking with MoneyMaxim's car insurance comparison service. Just don't forget to cancel the renewal of your original policy.