Young drivers in the UK are statistically more likely to have an accident and make a claim. This has the knock-on effect of sending their car insurance costs sky high.
Getting the best cheap car insurance for young drivers can feel like an impossible task, but there’s plenty you can do to help keep costs down. From picking the right car to increasing your excess, our tips go back to basics so that you can consider a wide range of insurers, not just those that offer telematics or pay-as-you-drive insurance.
Read our nine top tips to help you find the cheapest car insurance for young drivers.
1. Pick one of the cheapest cars to insure for young drivers
When looking for your first car, the cost of car insurance is often a big factor in the buying process. All cars on the market belong to one of 50 different car insurance groups — the cheapest cars to insure for new drivers can be found in groups one to five. This is particularly important for young male or female drivers with fast cars, which are typically more expensive.
2. Steer clear of car modifications
Car modifications, such as alloy wheels and body kits, often appeal to young drivers wanting to personalise simple-looking hatchbacks or medium-sized cars. However, avoid them if you want the best insurance for young drivers — modifications are known to increase premiums by hundreds of pounds. Again, this is the sort of thing that young drivers with fast cars, or those who want a fast car, should be aware of.
If you are absolutely determined to modify your car, consider if you would be happy to replace the modified parts with cheaper ones, otherwise, the costs of the premiums could be much higher.
3. Consider a black box policy
Black box policies (also known as telematics) use an app or a small device installed in the car to monitor usage and driving behaviour. These types of policy can help to cut the cost of car insurance for young drivers as insurers are able to base premiums on actual driving behaviour rather than assuming every young driver is at risk of making a claim.
If there ever was a way to get the cheapest insurance for young drivers, then black box insurance is top of the list. In fact, drivers aged 17-21 with zero no claims could save an average of £1,282 by choosing black box insurance over a standard policy (based on quotes generated by uSwitch between November 2016 and January 2017).
4. Pay per year, not per month
With the average car insurance premium for young drivers into the thousands of pounds, it can be tempting to stagger payments rather than shelling out for the coverall in one go. It’s usually much cheaper to pay for the whole year in advance rather than paying monthly if you can afford to. You’ll avoid the monthly interest charges and could save a substantial amount.
5. Consider increasing your excess
Choosing to pay a higher voluntary excess on top of the compulsory excess you’re quoted — the amount you’d have to pay upfront if you made a claim — can significantly reduce the cost of your car insurance. However, make sure you’re able to afford to pay the excess if you do have an accident — young drivers with little money could struggle to stump up £500 or more after a crash. Furthermore, statistically speaking, young drivers are more likely to make a claim within the first year of driving, so beware that you could end up forking out the higher voluntary excess early on.
6. Think about the level of cover you need
The comprehensive car cover is normally the most expensive type of car insurance — it covers both your car and other vehicles if you have an accident. Third-party cover — the most basic level of cover — covers claims against you if you’re involved in an accident and injure someone. It also covers the cost of repairing or replacing the other person’s car, but not your own. Assess how often you plan to drive, what you can afford to cover, and what type of superficial car damage you might be prepared to live with. Learn more with our guide on the different types of car insurance.
7. …but don’t assume third-party is the best insurance for young drivers
It pays to compare quotes with different levels of cover before you buy. According to the Association of British Insurers, the average third-party, fire and theft premium is more expensive than comprehensive cover because it’s often chosen by younger drivers with a tendency to make larger claims. Bear this in mind before you compare car insurance for young drivers. Also, don’t search for cheap car insurance for the price alone. You still need to assess what type of cover it is you need. Sacrificing the quality of cover over the price could end up costing you more in the long term.
8. Add a named driver, but beware of ‘fronting’
You can reduce car insurance costs by adding an extra named driver to the insurance policy – especially if they’re older and more experienced on the road, regardless of whether they are male or female, although you should avoid those with points. Putting the policy in a parent’s name, with the young driver as a named driver when they’re actually the main driver – known as ‘fronting’ – is illegal and can result in insurers rejecting claims.
9. Increase security and limit risk
Adding extra car security features, such as an alarm or immobiliser, can often help you get cheaper cover. Car insurance can be cheaper still if you park your car in a garage or driveway overnight rather than leaving it on the street as insurers see this as a further way of minimising risk.
By LDA Oxford