Ford FocusIf you have recently received a renewal notice for your car insurance and had to look twice at the premium quoted for another year of cover, you are unlikely to have been the only one.

In fact, during the fourth quarter of 2017, premiums reached £827 on average, reports the Express.

It's understandable, then, if you are now eagerly looking for new ways of slashing your insurance costs. Here are just a few simple but effective cost-cutting techniques that we would recommend.

Make your car more secure
Basically, the higher your premiums, the bigger risk your insurer thinks you pose. However, you can lower that risk by making the car itself safer - for example, by following This is's advice to fit an approved alarm, tracking device or immobiliser to it.

Doing so could discount your insurance costs by about 5%. However, if the car is relatively new, it might already have such safety features. Therefore, if you find that it does, declare them.

Keep your car in the garage more often
Do you have a garage that is often used to store rubbish and other unnecessary items rather than your car? If so, you should change tack, as you can further bolster the safety of your car by keeping it in the garage - and insurers will look fondly on this and so significantly cut your premiums.

Leaving your car outside instead not only incurs a greater risk of theft but also saves you needing to scrape winter ice off that vehicle.

Prove your safe driving credentials with a blackbox
You might have heard of "blackbox" policies. They are more technically known as telematics policies - but, whatever you call them, they involve having a system installed in your car to let the insurer check your driving practices and reward you with cheaper premiums if those practices are careful.

A blackbox can prove especially beneficial if your premiums are high, perhaps because you are inexperienced on the road. The technology can show that you aren't so risky for the insurer.

Don't choose to "pay monthly"
If you do opt for that method of paying, the insurer will loan you the cost for the entire year, warns money-saving guru Martin Lewis on ITV's website.

Furthermore, most insurers will charge a scary amount of interest for people who "pay monthly" - possibly up to 93% APR, judging from the "worst offender" that Martin has admitted seeing. You are often better off paying upfront - or using a year-long-plus 0% credit card paid off over the year.

Look for a new insurance quote or policy
If you are still struggling to bring those insurance premiums down to a level that would be manageable for you, don't be afraid to keep looking for a different insurer or policy.

Of course, that could be time-consuming - so, instead, you could hand the responsibility to a broker like Call Wiser, which can look through a range of policies in a zippy manner to find the best policy for you.

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