You’ve just passed your driving test after months of preparation? Congratulations! You’re finally ready to hit the road as a new driver without anyone to supervise you.
Before you can head out on the open road there’s just one big speed-bump in the way: car insurance.
Buying your first time driver insurance policy is usually quite expensive and could be a daunting experience if you don’t know where to look and what to look out for.
We’ve put together a handy step-by-step guide to new drivers’ car insurance, with tricks, dos and don’ts to help you find cheap car insurance for new drivers. Let’s dive right in.
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How much does new driver insurance cost?
There are a number of factors that affect the cost of insurance. Some of the important ones to take note of as a new driver are:
- Your age: the most common age to pass your practical driving test in the UK is 17. Most new drivers hitting the road will be looking for their first insurance policy between the ages of 17 and 24. Unfortunately, 17 year olds are also one of the most expensive age groups to insure, paying almost £1000 more than the national average of £979 for a fully comprehensive policy for experienced drivers.
- Where you live: where you live can also affect how much you pay for your car insurance. Bigger towns and cities tend to have higher crime rates, contributing to higher insurance costs. Driving in a crowded environment could also increase the risk of being involved in an accident and could result in higher premiums.
- The car you plan to drive: every car in the UK is classed into one of 50 categories for insurance purposes. Big, fast muscle cars are certainly going to be way more costly to insure than small, reliable ones. Also, who the car belongs to also makes a difference. It would be more expensive for a new driver to get insurance on his own car than to get added to the existing policy of a parent or family member’s car.
- Telematics: thanks to GPS technology, telematics policies are a good option for new drivers to be able to prove their driving skills in real time, thereby lowering the cost of insurance.
Here are some comprehensive insurance quotes from top insurance companies in the UK for young, eco car drivers between the ages of 17-20, living in the Greater London area:
|Insurance provider||Black box policy||Annual premium|
What are the cheapest car insurance policies for new drivers?
Just as other drivers, there are 3 broad types of car insurance to choose from:
- Third-party only (TPO): only covers you against damage to other people, cars & property.
- Third-party, fire and theft (TPFT): is the same as TPO, but also covers your car if it is damaged in a fire, or stolen.
- Comprehensive: same as TPO & TPFT but also covers your car against damages caused in an accident.
You may think a TPFT policy is cheaper than comprehensive cover, but this isn’t always the case – especially if you end up damaging your own car. The logic behind this is that insurers think people who choose third-party insurance are more of a risk.
Interestingly, over the past year premiums have declined for the 17-19 age group by almost 4% to an average of just under £1000 for a fully comprehensive policy. This is significantly lower than £1300 for TPFT and £1800 for third party only.
So if you’re under 21 the cheapest car insurance options available would most likely be specialised telematics policies for new drivers such as Hastings Direct Smart Miles, Admiral Little Box, O2 Box on Board and others. Most Telematics policies available are usually comprehensive policies.
Individual circumstances such as where you live and the car you drive, can also affect the price you pay for insurance. Make sure you shop around as much as possible or use our online comparison tool to find a policy that is right for you.
Why is new driver insurance so expensive?
The answer is risk, risk and more risk.
If you’re a new driver, you’re most likely to be anywhere between 18 and 24 years old. Statistics show that new drivers under the age of 25 are more likely to be involved in an accident.
In fact, nearly 25 percent of all under 25s have a crash within the first two years of driving. Additionally, drivers between 17 and 19 who only make up less than 2% of UK licence holders are found to be involved in nearly 10% of fatal or serious accidents.
This evaluation of risk forces insurance providers to make their car insurance policies for new drivers more expensive than those for experienced drivers who also have had a chance to build up their no claims bonus.
Building up a no-claims bonus takes time but patience pays off in the end. Every year that passes without you filing a claim is a year of no claims bonus added to your insurance policy.
The good news is there are ways to reduce the cost of your insurance, even as a first-time applicant.
5 Tips to lower your new driver car insurance quote
Let’s get right to it.
Here are our top tips to get the cheapest car insurance for new drivers:
- Don’t assume TPO is the cheapest level of cover: it’s reasonable to think that Third Party Only would be the cheapest option as it provides the least amount of cover. In fact, it’s the opposite, because insurers consider people who opt for third party policies riskier to insure.
- Add a 2nd or 3rd driver: if you add a ‘named’ driver to your policy who is older and more experienced, the car insurance provider is much more likely to offer cheaper premiums. This because of the assumption that driving responsibilities will be shared and hence the riskier motorist will be spending less time behind the wheel. This often results in cheaper premiums.
- Take a Pass-Plus course: taking an advanced driving course such as Pass Plus could significantly improve your driving skills. Insurers will look favorably on this extra experience and it may result in cheaper new driver car insurance premiums.
- Opt for a Telematics aka Black Box Policy: telematics is a policy which prices your premiums depending on how you drive. A device known as a black box installed in your car monitors your actions behind the wheel so the better your driving, the less you pay for cover.
- Choose the right car: the bigger the engine, the more you’ll pay for your car insurance. Powerful cars are faster, so considered by insurers to be at a higher risk of being in an accident.
Use our online price comparator to get the cheapest new driver car insurance quotes.
Does adding another driver reduce the cost of new driver insurance?
It could potentially reduce the cost of new driver insurance.
If you’re a new driver and share the vehicle with a more experienced one, adding this second driver as a named driver might save you money.
Our research shows that adding a 50 year old family member with a clean driving history to an 18 year old’s policy could reduce the premium by almost £1,000.
This is because your insurance provider believes that you’ll be spending less time in the car, which in turn could reduce your premium as you’ll have less chance of having an accident.
Only an experienced driver with a good record who only drives your car occasionally could make a difference. So it might not be a good idea to name someone inexperienced or with a poor driving record.
Just make sure you don’t put forward the other person as the main driver, if that isn’t the reality. This is known as ‘fronting’, which is a type of insurance fraud and could invalidate your policy.
Which cars are best for first time drivers?
If you want to save big, think small (car).
Some cars are more reliable and cheaper for young drivers to insure so, if you’re under 25, it might make sense to wait a little before buying that powerful machine of your dreams.
We’ve done the research for you. Here are the top 5 cheapest cars to insure for new drivers under a fully comprehensive policy.
|Car model||Insurance group||Monthly premium price|
Lower your quote by choosing a car from low insurance groups.
Is new driver car insurance compulsory?
No matter what, car insurance is compulsory by law. You would be committing a criminal offence if you are found driving without insurance.
With the introduction of Continuous Insurance Enforcement (CIE) the government cracked down on uninsured drivers. The law states that every car, whether on or off the road, has to be covered. The only exception is if the car is declared off the road with a Statutory Off-Road Notification (SORN).
Those driving without motor insurance are not only committing an offence, but can also expect steep penalties. This could result in a fine, court prosecution or having their car seized and destroyed.
Which is the best insurance for new drivers?
Consider telematics insurance.
Telematics insurance is a good option for new drivers’ car insurance because it’s often the cheapest way to get covered. Also known as ‘black box insurance’, it could potentially save you a few hundred pounds.
We compared the cost of comprehensive annual premiums for 17-20 year old mini car drivers, with and without the black box option and this is what we found. Hastings Direct Smart Miles, which offers special telematics policies for new drivers quoted £2087.36 whereas a relatively established company such as Churchill which does not offer a black box option quoted significantly higher at £2403.52.
Telematics is a special type of insurance policy created for young or new drivers which uses information from a transmitter fitted to the vehicle. The device monitors and records driving habits such as speed, acceleration, braking and relays this information directly to the insurer.
This enables the insurer to better understand the proficiency of the driver allowing them to offer lower premiums if they are satisfied with the results. Fitting a black box could be one of the best solutions for drivers below the age of 25 to find affordable car insurance.
Many bigger, more established insurance companies such as Churchill do not provide black box insurance so it might make more sense for younger drivers to go with relatively newer insurance companies such as Girls Drive Better or Only Smart Drivers. Always shop around for quotes and special offers, especially online.