Insurance for new young drivers can be ruinously expensive – and if anything, it’s got worse over recent years.
The AA British Insurance Premium Index released in July 2017 revealed that average premiums for young drivers aged 17 to 22 are up to £1,771.
However, even this can be misleading because costs can be much higher, for example insuring a 17-year-old in Northern Ireland can cost thousands.
The main reason insurance is so expensive is that they are more likely to be involved in an accident.
Unfortunately, a quarter of all drivers involved in serious traffic accidents are within the 18-25 age group.
And the chances of a new drivers aged 17 being involved in a collision is one in 6.
Also the sheer fact of being young means you haven’t yet had the opportunity to build up a no-claims bonus history, which is one way of the insurance company knowing you’re a safer bet.
Whilst new drivers, and in particular young new drivers, are always going to be more expensive than older ones, there are steps you can take to keep premiums down.
Here’s our best advice:1. Consider a black box
Telematics as it is known, is a big growth area and is one way of keeping premiums under control. The insurance company installs a telematics box in your car which sends data on how it is being driven.
This ‘black box’ can measure things like speed, sudden braking, sharp acceleration and the time of day/night you drive. An app lets you how you’re doing.
The downside is you may be penalised for driving at night, for example after 10pm (because most bad accidents happen then).
But they can give significant savings. Based on a uSwitch quote in December ‘16/January ‘17, drivers aged 17-21 could save an average of £1,282 by choosing a telematics box instead of a standard policy.
Indeed, telematics boxes are a good idea for all drivers - as well as lowering insurance costs, people tend to drive more carefully when they know ‘Big Brother’ is watching.2. Shop around
It may sound obvious but some people take the first quote, or just go with their parents’ insurer. Check online comparison sites (note some are not as independent as they might appear), call around brokers and ask all your friends how and where they got their insurance.3. Find the cheapest cars to insure
The car you drive also influences policy premiums.
Car insurance is grouped from 1 to 50. Getting a group 1 or 2 car will save you money verses higher groups.
Insurers price cars according to a range of criteria including things like the value of the car, how fast it goes and how quickly it accelerates, how thief-proof it is, the cost of spare parts, etc.4. Choose a higher excess
Excess is the mandatory amount you pay in the event of any claim. The higher the sum you sign up for, the lower your insurance will be. However, if you choose, say, £800 instead of £150, remember you’ll have to fork out that amount in an incident. That said, though, the odds are you will never have to pay it.5. Only pay for what you need
The law says you must at the very least have third party car insurance. This pays for damage or injuries to any other person affected by an accident that’s your fault.
Any damage to your own vehicle will not be covered. Nor, however, will you be covered if your car is stolen, vandalised or burned. For that you need “third party, fire and theft”.
The best, but most expensive is “fully comprehensive”, which completely covers you.6. Don’t pay monthly
If you can afford it, pay with a single lump sum as this usually releases a significant saving.7. Have an experienced older driver on the policy
If you add an experienced older driver to the policy, the insurers can sometimes be reassured you are not the only driver, which reduces the risk of accidents.
However, there is a big but to this: you must tell the truth about the car’s usage and the car must be in the name of its main driver.
Putting a young person’s car in the name of an older experienced driver is known as “insurance fronting” and is illegal. As well as breaking the law, your insurance will be invalidated.8. Secure your car
Adding security features like an alarm or an immobiliser can save you money. If you can park your car away from a street or even in a garage, this should also be reflected in lower quotes.