In these tough economic times, you might be tempted to cancel your comprehensive coverage in favour of cheaper insurance cover – but it’s a decision that could come back to bite you down the line.

“When motoring expenses become difficult to afford, consumers should rather look at cutting out other unnecessary expenses to ensure they can maintain comprehensive cover, [because] should they find themselves without car insurance when disaster strikes, the repairs alone could lead to financial ruin,” Rudolf Mahoney, WesBank head of brand and communications cautions.

Before you consider downgrading or cancelling your vehicle insurance altogether, think about how you can make your premiums more affordable. Mahoney says there are several ways to do so.

Because the value of your car depreciates on a monthly basis, you might be paying higher premiums for the value of your car.

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“An annual call to your insurer can help adjust your premium in line with the market value of the car to account for depreciation,” he advises.

You could also choose to accept a higher excess amount, which will reduce your monthly instalments. But if you choose this option, make sure the excess figure is an amount you’ll be able to afford or be able to raise in the event of an accident.

Adding an extra layer of security, like installing a tracking device in your car, also helps to bring down the cost of your premium. You can request a revised quote from your insurance company if you have a tracking device fitted at a later stage.

Mahoney says completing certified advanced driving courses may score you a few points with insurers. It could lower your risk profile as you’ll be perceived as a safer driver.

Also, resist the urge to submit too many claims or claim for petty damages, because the more you claim, the higher your premiums will be.

“Claiming for minor damages such as stone chips or parking lot dings will drive up your premiums,” Mahoney says.

“Keeping your car in a locked garage or guarded basement will keep it more secure. Insurance companies view this as a low risk when it comes to vehicle theft.”

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And if you have a penchant for fast and furious cars then you should expect to fork out a whole lot to insure your vehicle.

“Faster vehicles are seen as being driven by more enthusiastic drivers who carry an increased accident risk. Keep this in mind the next time you’re considering an upgrade,” Mahoney advises.

Don’t forget to shop around for the best deal and use the cheaper quotes as leverage to negotiate a better deal with your insurer. Hopefully they will be able to match it. If they don’t, switch insurers.

Lastly, look into combining your car and household insurance policies.

“A joint policy that covers both your household goods and car can result in a more attractive and affordable monthly premium for your comprehensive insurance policy,” says Mahoney.