Insurance can be the second biggest cost in your household after a mortgage or rent.

When you tot up everything including health, car, house contents, buildings and life insurance you can be looking at a small fortune.

Even a single person in their 30s with a mortgage can be looking at insurance outgoings of about €250 a month. So let's look at ways of getting that down.

1. Increase your excess

Increase your excess to reduce your premium. Not just on your car, but on your buildings, home and health insurance.

Don’t lower the cover you need because you will be the one that is left footing the bill. If you have a car accident, or your house is damaged, you will be left with a hefty bill if you try and cut your cover.

2. Don't always go for the 'deal'

Insurance companies will try and sell you multiple policies claiming that it will be cheaper if you get more than one policy from them. That may be the case sometimes, but it isn’t always – so shop around. Don’t be tempted to put your car, buildings, and contents with one company just because it’s less hassle.

3. Demand a better price

Insurance companies won't offer you their best price first, but if you threaten to leave and go to a different insurer or simply ask 'is this the cheapest offer', you'll be surprised by the results. They usually have the flexibility to drop their prices. If they don’t offer you a better price – threaten to leave, then you might find they will do a better deal.

4. Health insurance – get the ‘company rate’ even if you’re self-employed

Health insurers are obliged to offer you the rate they offer companies which is often hundreds of euro cheaper than the price for comparable insurance policy for an individual.

For instance, in 2010 Quinn Healthcare’s Essential Plus policy cost a single person with no children €925. The Company Health Plus plan (which had less cover for giving birth) cost €663 – a significant saving. So the next time your policy is up for renewal, just ask for the corporate rate.

All insurance companies are obliged to make every package they offer available to anyone,  no matter what their age or employment status. 

The Health Insurance Authority has a price comparison area on its website. It's a little complicated to use at the start, but bear with it and you can compare cover plans.  The HIA also provided RTE with nine comparisons for those on VHI Plan B to help you work out alternative packages easily.

5. Insure your music downloads

This won’t save you money in premiums, but it could save you in the long run. If you are a big music or movie fan, your library could easily be worth €1,000. In the vinyl or tape era, this would normally survive a burglary, but if your computer or back-up are stolen or are ruined beyond repair, it would be a costly business replacing the collection.

Useful links

Health Insurance Authority comparison