12 January 2023
Our Land Rover market guru Tom Barnard calls several insurance companies to get a quote for his 2003 Defender 110 Station Wagon Td5. We think you may be surprised by the results...
Spending money on insurance is one of the least rewarding parts of owning your Land Rover. It takes time to research, inevitably costs a three- or four-figure sum, doesn’t improve the performance or looks of your pride and joy, and it certainly isn’t going to impress your friends.But choose wrongly and the potential for expensive disasters is high. In the worst case you could find yourself losing your Land Rover, your licence or even ending up in prison.
In this report, we’ve spoken to experts in Land Rover insurance to bring you this definitive guide to getting a ‘premium’ premium for your car and the cheapest price.
What type of cover?
Firstly, don’t take any chances with your cover. You need to make sure you are insured correctly before taking to the road – and that doesn’t mean hoping you might be covered on your cousin’s trade policy or have bought a realistic looking certificate from someone who advertises on Facebook marketplace.
If you are involved in an accident or stopped by the police you will find your world very quickly becomes a more complicated place if your cover isn’t in order. At the very least you will have the car taken away and you’re likely to face points on your licence and a fine. As you might expect, it will make any future insurance policies much more expensive too.
So now you are ready to get some quotes. Give yourself plenty of time and, to make it easy, get all the information you will need to hand so you can answer the questions without having to go and check. You will need to know if you’ve got any no-claims bonus, the make and model of security devices and the details of named drivers, including driving licence numbers.
If the car is being kept away from home – such as in a lock-up – you’ll need the postcode and details of the security there, too.
Next, you need to have a think about the type of cover you want. Third Party Only will cover you only for damage to someone else’s car or property, and won’t pay out for any damage to your own vehicle while driving. This is the very basic minimum legal level of insurance, and if someone says they can drive your Land Rover because they have ‘other car’ cover on their own policy, then this is most likely to be Third Party. Bear that in mind before you let them have a go.
Third Party, Fire and Theft is the next stage and, as the name suggests, it will cover the car if it is stolen or burnt out – but not if you are in an accident.
Comprehensive covers the car itself in an accident too, and is by far the most common cover for private motorists. The cost of the additional protection can be minimal and it might even be cheaper than the other types.
Who’s going to drive?
If you go to the cinema or on a bus, you have to pay extra to take someone else. But with car insurance, adding another driver can actually reduce your premium significantly. That’s because they might be a lower risk; if the underwriter thinks that they’re less likely to crash and will be driving for some of the time then there is less chance the car will be in an accident.
This won’t work if you are trying to get cover for your 17-year-old tearaway son, but could if you add your librarian wife. For our quotes, we knew that adding a spouse who is an exam invigilator with a clean driving history would reduce the premium. If you are a 17-year-old tearaway, try adding your parents, it might help save money even if they’re unlikely to ever need (or want) to drive your rat-look Freelander.
Where to start
While any of the comparison sites which are relentlessly advertised on TV will offer you cover and may even be the cheapest for some models, they’re designed for standard, relatively modern cars. The quotation will be generated by computer algorithms rather than humans which means they might be fine for your five-year-old Discovery, but are unlikely to understand the need for greenlane cover, how you are a member of your local Land Rover club or what a winch bumper and 6-inch lift are all about.
To get a good price (and the best cover) on something a little more unusual, you are going to have to hit the phones and do some talking. If you are thinking that sounds like hassle, we saved more than £50 just by talking to someone rather than relying on an online quote when we last renewed.
Ideally you will be looking for a specialist policy from a broker who has knowledge and experience of your type of Land Rover – whether it’s a classic, 4x4 or modified vehicle.
Although it varies from broker to broker, classic policies are commonly only available on cars which are over 20-years old, with some underwriters are drawing the line at 25 years. Some specialist insurers will allow you to have a classic style policy on newer, ‘interesting’ cars (such as a Defender) as long as it is not being used as your everyday transport. To prove this, they’ll expect you to have use of another car, restrict your use to social, domestic and pleasure driving and limit the miles you can drive in a year. It’s rare to be able to get this sort of cover if you are under 21-years old too. Sorry kids.
Modifications aren’t necessarily going to bump up the cost, but they will need to be listed in full or you will risk a claim being refused – especially if it could have caused or contributed to the accident or theft. If your car with a 12-inch lift rolls over for example, the insurer could say the mod was a factor. Likewise, if you put a Range Rover on desirable 22-inch wheels, it could be considered they might have attracted a thief.
Not all modifications will bump up the premium though. Small extras will generally be accepted and some – such as a dash cam or alarm – could cut the cost of cover. Some brokers actively encourage them, too. One of Britain’s top specialist/classic insurers told Land Rover Monthly: “Modifications often help as it is an indicator of the type of owner looking to insure, it’s usually a better risk if the vehicle is owned by a true enthusiast and used as such. This can be to the benefit to both parties.”
There are several insurers who advertise in LRM, so we’d obviously recommend you talk to them first. For others, ask around friends and on forums.
Even if your Land Rover is well insured, having it stolen is going to be a massive inconvenience and will end up costing you more in higher future premiums. If your car has particular sentimental value or has taken hours of your time to get right, it could be heartbreaking.
Which is why it makes sense to invest in security devices which will stop your pride and joy being stolen or will help recover it if it is taken. The saving on your policy is unlikely to pay for them in the first year, but they will be cheaper than making a claim.
We are all well aware of the continued popularity of Defenders among thieves, as they can be easily and quickly broken up for parts, disguised and resold or exported surreptitiously. For more technologically advanced models such as Range Rovers, the trend is to steal the car using sophisticated devices which mimic the remote key, or hack into the car’s ‘brain’ to produce replicas. Defenders are so desirable, security devices will always help, including the manual ones such as disc locks.
To protect them, there are a variety of options, costing between a few pounds to thousands. On some models, the insurance company may insist they’re fitted before they will consider theft cover.
On particularly desirable models, a tracking device is likely to be the best option and to satisfy the insurers it will need to be approved by Thatcham – the insurance industry’s research and testing organisation. The cheapest are around £100 but you will need to pay a subscription fee, too.
Professional marking of glass and other components will also be popular with insurers. Some will accept a promise that you will fit extra steering locks and other physical devices, but there may be reluctance to pay out if they’re not fitted when the car is stolen.
Join a club
Insurers generally think that membership of a relevant classic car club means you are someone who cares about their car and will be more careful with it. They can knock off a big enough discount from your policy to make it worthwhile paying for any membership fees. Make sure you join before getting a quote though, as they may require you to enter a membership number.
You are likely to be offered all sorts of add-ons by the broker which can considerably increase the premium. Some offer decent value – if you need them – but only you can decide it they’re worth it. Here are the most common:
Agreed value: If your car is written-off or stolen, the insurance company is only obliged to offer you the market value. In the case
of a cherished Land Rover, their valuation could be a long way from
the figure you have in mind. In these cases it could be worth agreeing on a value before taking out the policy. This will usually need to be backed up with an opinion from an expert (such as an owners’ club)
Breakdown cover: This is the equivalent of AA or RAC membership but is usually cheaper from your insurer. There will be different levels of policy, with some offering transport back to your home or preferred garage while others will just go to the nearest repairer. Home cover will mean you can get the car fixed if it won’t start or has a puncture while parked at or near your house. European cover will be a cost extra in most cases.
Key cover: If you lose or break your keys you can claim for replacements and a locksmith. This might be worthwhile on a modern Range Rover where the bill will be hundreds, but is less necessary on a Series II which can be opened and started with a teaspoon.
Legal cover: This provides legal assistance after an accident which wasn’t your fault and you want to reclaim expenses for injury or lost earnings. It could save you a decent chunk of cash in fees if you need it, but check you’re not already covered by another policy such as your home insurance or as part of your work benefits.
Courtesy car: This pays for a hire car while your vehicle is repaired or replaced. If you are insuring a modern Land Rover it should provide an equivalent vehicle – hopefully not a Jeep or Toyota, as your reputation isn’t covered.
Personal accident cover: Most polices will protect you up to a certain level if you are killed or seriously injured in an accident. This gives you the option to upgrade that cover to get a bigger payout if the worst does happen.
Protected no-claims: If you have accumulated a few years’ bonus, it could be worth hundreds of pounds in discounts off your policy. Protecting it insures that bonus so it is not lost following a claim. The insurance company will still ask for your claims history though, so you can’t just pretend the accident never happened.
Greenlane cover: Greenlanes are a bit of grey area. Although some byways are officially classed as roads, your insurance might not cover you for driving on them – certainly not for damage to your own car. If you like to go off the beaten track it’s worth checking the small print and taking out extra cover if needed.
European cover: This used to be called a ‘green card’. Following Britain’s departure from the European Union, insurers no longer have to cover you when abroad, although many insurers have remained as they were pre-Brexit and don’t need green cards. If you want to venture beyond our shores, it’s essential to check your policy.
Hopefully the only interaction you will ever have with the insurance company is to renew every year. But if you do need to make a claim, you will suddenly realise that some brokers are in a different league.
Most will have well-developed processes to help you though, and will make it as painless as possible.
When you take out the policy it is worth checking the excesses, too. Hopefully you will never need to use them, but the difference between the £450 and £50 which we were quoted in the survey would make quite a difference after a claim, especially if you’re having to wait for another party to be found liable.
Check out the windscreen excess too, if you are covered. The £110 we discovered from Aviva would mean it’s not worth claiming for a Defender and makes the cover pointless.
And the winner is...
To find our favourite insurer, we needed to hit the keyboard and the phones to uncover the best quote. Recognising that few of us actually enjoy listening to hold music or talking to a call centre, we always used an online quote facility first, if it was offered.
This allows you to get prices while sitting in front of the telly at night, or at least helps speed up the calls by entering the details quickly.
Where the site suggested we call for the best price, we did. We also took follow-up calls if they came from brokers who were keen for our business and wanted to requote.
The car we asked to insure was a 2003 Defender 110 Station Wagon Td5, worth £8000. It is a five-seater fitted with a roof rack, winch and an insurance-approved S7 tracking device.
The car is kept in rural Hertfordshire and parked on a driveway. Its drivers are a 49-year-old manager of a fast fit centre and his wife, an exam invigilator at a school.
They both have access to other cars and the Land Rover is for social, domestic and pleasure use only, covering around 5000 miles a year.
Best quote: £460.88
The smart Hagerty website has a great facility where it will give an indication of a policy cost without you having to fill in reams of forms. You simply tell them your name, car, value and the mileage you intend to cover. The maximum we were allowed was 3000, so selected that.
This generated a guideline quote of £460.88 which includes breakdown, agreed value, salvage retention and legal cover. That’s a good package but still doesn’t justify the extra cost, so if we were genuinely looking for cover the price would have been enough to make us look elsewhere. We spoke to Hagerty and were told that they concentrate mainly on older classics and our car was too new for them.
hagerty.co.uk, 0333 323 1138
Cherished Vehicle Insurance Services
Best quote: £264.08
Cherished is actually a subsidiary of A-Plan, but its quote was far more competitive, and the call handler was even nicer and more knowledgeable than the agent from the parent company – we had a nice chat about her Series IIA rebuild and the problems of finding a decent used bulkhead.
She knew all about insurance, too. Because of the winch and roof rack on our car and the limited annual mileage, it was suggested we took the ‘Modified 4x4’ specialist policy, which includes an agreed value, 30 days European travel and greenlane cover. The breakdown policy was cheap as well, at £40 including Europe. Cherished also offered to include the Defender in a multicar policy with our other ‘normal’ everyday vehicles.
The price wasn’t the cheapest, but the extras included could amount to a hefty sum if added to other policies, so it’s worth giving Cherished a try, even if it’s just to talk about bulkheads and 2.25s.
cherishedvehicleinsurance.co.uk, 0345 250 8282
Best quote: £341.72
As you’d expect from one of the biggest players in the insurance market (or should that be meerkat?), the site is slick and user friendly. To our surprise it was possible to select accessories from a drop-down menu which allowed us to add the roof rack, but the options were not detailed enough to list a winch.
The resulting quotes were reasonable, but on the high side compared to the other big comparison sites, even taking into account standard legal cover. They are clearly generated by an algorithm rather than a human, so there was no consideration for being
As with all of these types of site, it is worth comparing the benefits and costs offered by the first three top prices at least, as the second or third might be only a few quid more but demand much lower excesses or add in free cover for a windscreen, for example.
Best quote: £230.50
This was the best of the big comparison sites, offering exactly the same underwriter as
Confused.com for almost a tenner less – with a lower excess, too. If you want breakdown cover and legal help, you’ll need to add an extra £70 to the premium.
There’s no windscreen cover on the cheapest quote provided, either. That might not be an issue on a Defender with its relatively inexpensive glass, but it’d be worth paying a few quid more for one of the other policies offered if you have a different Land Rover model with a curved screen and heating elements. There’s an offer of £150 of shopping vouchers if you take a policy, too.
For covering our semi-specialist Defender these sort of sites aren’t ideal, except for setting an indicative price to compare against the specialist brokers’ quotes. However, if your Land Rover is more mainstream, they are convenient and competitive.
Land Rover Insurance
Best quote: £680.63
Google ‘Land Rover Insurance’ and unsurprisingly the search comes up with this site, which appears to be Land Rover’s officially-approved broker. The look mirrors the company’s main web pages, so we thought it might turn up its electronic nose at our 19-year-old Defender. But it seemed happy to accept it and even had a comprehensive list of accessories which could be added – including our winch and roof rack. That’s really rare for a website, and they even confused some of the ‘real’ people we spoke to at enthusiast brokers.
Once we’d finished tapping out all of the information into the pages though we were given a very disappointing quote. The suggested premium of £680.63 is far from competitive, especially as it had the highest excesses and very few benefits, too.
landroverinsurance.com, 0800 197 8966
Best quote: £239.28
Like the other big comparison sites, Confused is not at all confusing and is very easy and intuitive to use. It accepted all our details easily, with the usual helpful look-ups for registrations, postcodes and occupations which help to speed things along. The only stumbling block for us Land Rover owners is that it would not allow us to enter any accessories, not even the roof rack.
The cheapest quote in the list it provided was from Admiral and was identical to the cover offered by Moneysupermarket, except the voluntary excess was £100 higher at £250. Despite this, it was also £9 more expensive too.
However, the second cheapest quote (from SAGA, to make us feel old) was just £4 more but the optional legal cover was a tenner less and the breakdown £15 cheaper. It also had windscreen cover included. It was proof that the cheapest isn’t necessarily the best and you need to look beyond the lowest price.
Best quote: £520.02
Carole Nash’s site is not the most user-friendly interface but we were impressed that it had an extensive list of modifications and accessories listed. However, rather than giving us a price at the end of it all, it merely told us to call for a quote.
Make sure you keep your unique code, as this is the link to your quotes later on in the process, and saves starting all over again. So we went through all of the details again and were given a premium of £520.02. That’s a stiff price, but does include UK and EU breakdown recovery, £100,000 of legal expenses cover, agreed value, salvage retention rights and EU cover for up to 90 days.
We forgot to ask about the excess, so contacted Carole Nash again to ask. Once more they couldn’t find our details without the magic code and wanted to enter them all again. We politely declined and moved on.
We suspect an older classic car quote could be more competitive, but just remember to take a screenshot of the special code or you’ll spend half a day entering details.
carolenash.com, 0333 005 2295
Best quote: £343
The Flux website has a prominent message on the homepage telling you that 79.5 per cent of customers could get a cheaper quote on the phone, so we ignored the web and went straight to the call centre. A friendly operator took our details efficiently and after a while on hold his computer came up with a price of £343. That included legal, windscreen and key cover as standard.
We told them it was our first quote and we intended to get others before committing. The sales advisor asked probing relevant questions, and informed us that the quote could change. We said we were still going to shop around, so they changed tack and said they’d call back later to see if they could do better than our best quote. They never did, though.
We liked their enthusiasm and expertise and feel there would be a deal to be done if you wanted to haggle which might bring it closer to the top prices in this survey.
adrianflux.co.uk, 0333 272 0560
Best quote: Only insure classics and modified Land Rovers
We actually liked dealing with Heritage, but it’s difficult to judge the company as they were unable to quote for our Defender as they told us that they only insure classics and modified Land Rovers. A great pity.
We had to admire the Heritage operator’s honesty, though. He took some very basic details about our 110, such as the year and modifications and then told us that the company specialises in two types of Land Rover – older vehicles and those which have been highly modified.
As our lightly tweaked and relatively young Defender fell between the two stools, he told us that they wouldn’t be able to find a policy to fit our needs.
We were grateful for the time saved, as many other brokers would have ploughed on entering details to only come up with an uncompetitive quote. We think Heritage could well be worth a try if you have an older Land Rover or have something which has a lot of non-original stuff bolted to it, as the operator seemed genuinely enthusiastic and knowledgeable.
As another bonus, the company even offers a free GPS tracker with most policies, although you will have to pay a monthly subscription to keep it working.
heritagecarinsurance.co.uk, 0121 248 9229
Best quote: None given
On the Sykes site you are able to fill in all the details and then have an operator call you back with the quote. In theory this could be ideal, as you can do all of the time-consuming parts, like spelling out your name and checking the details of your car, while watching the telly and then get down to the details (and haggling) with a real human.
The site itself is a little clunky – it doesn’t find the car details automatically when you enter the registration, nor the address when you put in your postcode. The number of questions is enough to irritate too, as it asks bizarre details about if you own a mobile phone and if the paint on your car
Our attempt to get an agreed value was thwarted as it’s only available on cars which are garaged. We also said the car had a winch and roof rack so it then asked us for five pictures to be sent for approval. This is normal once cover is in place – especially if you are asking for an agreed value – but we’ve never known it for a simple quote before.
As it was dark and raining we abandoned the quote and wondered if we would get a follow-up call. We never did.
graham-sykes.co.uk, 01395 255100
Best quote: Around £1400
We’ve heard good things about NFU in terms of customer service, so were keen to see how good the quote would be. There are two ways to get a price – you either fill in a form with a few basic details and someone from your local office calls back, or you go to the central ‘direct’ number. We went for the latter and were surprised to be kept on hold for seven minutes – usually the sales lines are much faster to answer.
Once through, a polite operator took all the details efficiently but there was a disappointed sigh when we mentioned that we had zero no-claims to use on this policy as it would be a third car to be used for fun, and that we had other vehicles which used our NCBs.
At this point he asked what our best price had been so far. We fibbed and said we’d gone to them first, at which point he said the quote was likely to be in the region of £1400. He thought this might be more than we were expecting and wondered if we’d like to proceed with a more detailed quote. We thanked him for being honest and moved on.
nfumutual.co.uk, 0808 301 9085
Best quote: £1271.36
The slick-looking Peter Best site proudly stated it could offer specialist cover for classic and modified Land Rovers over 10-years old, so we had high hopes they’d be keen for business on our 19-year-old Defender.
We entered our details and found the site easy to navigate, even having our modifications listed in the menus without any issue. It was something of a shock therefore to get one of the highest quotes of any broker in the entire survey.
There were just two options listed, both from the well-known insurer LV. The cheapest was a massive £1272 while the next option offered even fewer benefits and yet was bizarrely priced at £2059.49.
We were so surprised we tried the same driver details but with a much older Land Rover and got a competitive quote, so it seems Peter Best is better for more mature motors.
peterbestinsurance.co.uk, 01376 574000
Best quote: £146.98
A top score for Lancaster, as we really did find it difficult to fault the service. You can use the website to fill in basic details and request a call-back, but in reality there is little point entering anything online as the operator will want to run them all through again on the phone.
They were polite and genuinely seemed to get what we wanted the car for, and we got the feeling they were trying to find angles which would convince an underwriter we were a good risk. This included dismissing the lack of no-claims and allowing us to ‘mirror’ the discount earned on other cars in the family to prove we were good drivers.
The eventual quote was so competitive that we asked them to check the details – which were correct. We also asked them to run the figures for our older 90 to see if Lancaster was good for classics too, and it came up with the cheapest price, beating Footman James by £11.
The only wrinkle in the service is a slightly higher £150 excess and the most expensive breakdown and legal cover in the survey at £54.95 and £34.95. Agreed value costs an extra £18 too. If you want to add on these sorts of extras, you still might need to shop around.
lancaster-insurance.biz, 01480 802668
Best quote: £340
Like NFU Mutual, A-Plan’s website takes a few details from you and then passes
the details on to a local branch. We were called by a helpful operator who took all
of our details again and didn’t seem to have a look-up facility for the registration or postcode.
We liked the way he asked: “What’s important to you in a policy?” and wanted to know if we would like to take the Defender abroad.
He said they would run it through the comparison sites, which seemed a little strange and then called back and asked why we had a winch fitted and if we intended to use it off-road.
He then gave up and passed us over to another office which specialised in 4x4 vehicles, which made us spend another eight minutes going through all the details again, albeit cheerily.
The eventual quote came out at a reasonable £340, but we were impressed that A-Plan made so much effort and were nice to deal with. They also suggested there might be some haggle room when we said we’d let them know.
aplan.co.uk, 01635 874646
Best quote: £603.37
We were expecting a lot from Footman James, partly because we’d heard good things about them in the past but also because the website was by far the slickest of any of the classic cover providers. Our only niggle was that the modifications section listed such oddities as neon lighting but nothing much for the off-road enthusiast, including no mention of a winch.
After crunching our details the site spat out a figure of just above £600, which was disappointing. On the plus side, the excess was just £50 and the cost of extra cover items was clearly listed and competitively priced.
footmanjames.co.uk, 0330 173 3124
The difference between our highest and lowest quotes is proof that you’re going to need to put in some time on the phone and keyboard to find the best quote. If you just rely on a few mouse clicks you could be losing out on a cheaper deal and cover which better matches you and your car.
We were also astonished at how cheap insurance can be for our beloved Land Rovers. Some brokers see modifications and accessories as a positive rather than an extra risk, and are happy to cover them.
Firstly, thanks to all companies for their help in compiling this article, everyone had their merits. On price, Lancaster came out on top, but Heritage and A-Plan provided an excellent customer experience, as did Heritage – and while not the cheapest, they included lots of extras. The insurance giants, Confused, Money Supermarket and Compare the market are different altogether, and despite being price/comparison-led, were competitive, but there was no personal advice. On the subject of advice and tips, Adrian Flux should be commended.
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