You’re 18, armed with a new driving licence and a car and you’ve got the world at your feet - but you’ve also got some costly car insurance premiums holding you back. The fact is that the average premium for an 18-year-old driver is £1436 a year, which is one of the most expensive due to the risk insurers see in young drivers.
Statistically speaking, young drivers are among those most likely to be involved in an accident – 19% of all accident claims are from the 17 to 24 age group according to MoneySuperMarket data. For this reason, car insurance companies set higher premiums for younger drivers to offset the increased risk of having to pay out.
Unfortunately, you could actually be a very safe driver, but the problem is you haven’t got a lot of proof of this fact. Even if you passed your test soon after turning 17, you’ve still only got a year’s worth of no claims bonus, at best.
That said, you’re not necessarily doomed to pay high prices for cover, as there are things you can do to help bring costs down. Here’s a look at the cost of car insurance for 18 year olds, and how you can save money.
Is cheap car insurance for 18 year olds possible?
The amount you pay for car insurance is based on how likely it is you’ll make a claim for damage or theft.
Insurance companies have a lot of data on car insurance claims and the people who make them. They use this information to assess how likely it is you’ll make a claim. The data they use concerns things like your age, driving experience, location and occupation.
As young drivers are more likely to be involved in an accident than middle-aged drivers, perhaps due to their relative lack of experience on the roads, they tend to pay more for cover.
As you get older, earn your no claims bonuses and get more experience on the roads, you’ll start to see your motor insurance prices fall. In the meantime, however, there are things you can do to reduce your premiums.
It used to be that young women paid less for cover than young men, as once again, statistics show men are more likely to be involved in an accident. However, the European Court of Justice’s (ECJ) Gender Directive means that insurers can no longer discriminate on the grounds of gender.
For more money saving ideas, visit our young driver car insurance page.
Types of cover
There are three basic levels of car insurance cover and, generally speaking, you’ll find that, as the cover gets more comprehensive, the price goes up. However, this is less and less true for young drivers.
The lowest level of cover you must legally have before taking a vehicle on the road is third party cover. This type of car insurance only protects you against damage to other people and their property. This used to be the cheapest option but since lots of young drivers bought this type of insurance and the insurers had to pay out, the premiums have increased.
Plus, if you have third party only cover and you’re involved in an accident, you’ll have to pay for repairs to your own vehicle out of your own pocket.
Next is third party, fire and theft cover, which also protects you against fire damage and theft, but not against damage to your vehicle caused by a road traffic collision.
Finally, there’s fully comprehensive cover, which protects you against everything already mentioned, plus any damage caused to your own vehicle. This is now the cheapest on average, so it pays to search around for your car insurance.
With any policy there are also the optional extras such as a courtesy car, breakdown cover and legal expenses cover, which will inflate your premiums. You can always forego these extras to keep your costs down, but think carefully about whether or not you’ll need some of them.
What does car insurance for 18 year olds cost?
The average car insurance quote for 18-year-old drivers is:
Third party, fire and theft
MoneySuperMarket data for April – June 2017.
Consider telematics car insurance
If you feel unfairly persecuted by the cost of car insurance for 18 year old drivers, you might want to consider telematics car insurance. Otherwise known as ‘black box’ insurance, telematics policies give you a tailored quote based on how you drive.
A small device is fitted to your vehicle which, using satellite technology, measures your speed, braking, acceleration and mileage – giving the insurer a comprehensive and accurate impression of how you drive. If you are a good driver and don’t travel very far, it could result in cheaper car insurance for 18 year old drivers, and in fact drivers with a telematics policy have saved, on average, £202 a year.
Short term insurance
If you’re 18, you may be off to university soon, and only want to use your car when you’re back at home. In that case, temporary car insurance for 18 year olds may be the answer. Typically this short term car insurance covers you for between 1 and 28 days and is therefore cheaper than insuring a vehicle for a full year.
Get cheap car insurance for 18 year old drivers
Adding an older or more experienced driver to the policy as a named driver can help to lower your premium as, in theory, having another driver on the policy reduces the time you’ll spend behind the wheel.
You should never have an older or more experienced driver ‘front’ the policy for you by posing as the main driver if you are the real main driver of the vehicle. This is known as fronting, is illegal, and if you’re found out you could face prosecution for driving without insurance.
As young drivers are penalised for having relatively little experience on the roads, you could always take an advanced driving course to show insurers you have a bit more experience behind the wheel. The Driving Standards Agency’s Pass Plus course can help to bring your costs down by up to 35% with some insurers.
Keeping your vehicle secure will reduce the chances of it being stolen or damaged and earn you cheaper cover. For example, keeping your car in a locked garage overnight is more secure than having it parked on the street, and is reflected in cheaper premiums. Similarly, installing insurer-approved security equipment such as steering wheel locks and immobilisers should bring down the cost of your insurance.
And finally, driving safely and without making a claim will earn you a no claims bonus at renewal time, as doing so demonstrates to insurers you are a good driver.
All MoneySuperMarket data collected and collated between April and June 2017.