First Car Insurance

Find the right policy to cover your first car

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You've got rid of the L plates and you’re buying your first car, now’s the time to compare car insurance. On this page we’ll show you how to keep the costs to a minimum.

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If you’ve just passed your test you’ll probably be itching to get behind the wheel and hit the open road, but you’ll find that first time car insurance can be incredibly expensive.

As a new driver you’re among the least experienced drivers on the road – this is the main reason why, between 17 and 24 years old, you will probably pay the most you’ll ever pay for car insurance. That’s because insurers believe you’re more likely to be involved in an accident, and charge you accordingly.

Statistically speaking, this is true. MoneySuperMarket data shows that less experienced drivers (those who haven’t had their license for more than five years) make up to 11.5% of all car insurance claims.

However, all is not lost as there are ways to make your insurance cheaper. From the car you drive to the type of insurance you buy, there are steps you can take to make that first car insurance policy more affordable.

Choosing the right car

Many of us look back fondly on our first cars, even if they were old bangers. If you’re lucky enough to be able to afford your ideal motor, then buying a car insurance policy might not be the top of your list of priorities, but it certainly needs some consideration.

Firstly, when a car insurance provider calculates how much to charge you for cover, they estimate how much of a risk you pose as a driver and therefore the likelihood they’ll have to pay out for a claim.

But also, one of the more obvious things which affects your level of risk is the car you drive: its performance (basically how fast it can go), the security in place, and the statistical probability of it being involved in an accident.

If your car is expensive or has a high performance, then it will more than likely increase your premiums because it might be more likely to be stolen or you might get in a collision – so it’s all about getting the right car for a new driver.

The more power a vehicle has, the more risk it poses for the insurer

Car insurance groups

Every car model is graded and placed into a car insurance group, which is numbered from one to 50. The lower end of the scale tends to define cars which are cheaper, have smaller engines and lower specifications.

For example, a Citroen C1 1.0i is in car insurance group 1, with its 998cc engine, whereas a Land Rover Range Rover 4.4 TDV8, with its 4367cc engine is in the highest group, 50.

Therefore, the more power a vehicle has, the more risk it poses for the insurer. And the more expensive a vehicle is, the more it will cost the insurer if they have to pay out if you make a claim. It makes sense that the most powerful and the most expensive cars will be in the highest car insurance groups.

So when you’re choosing your first car, it’s important to bear this in mind because it will have a direct effect on your premium. If you’re unsure which group the car you have your eye on belongs to, ask the dealer or check online.

Plus, avoid after-market modifications like body-kits, alloy wheels or anything which affects the performance or value of the vehicle, as they will increase your premiums. In fact, modified cars with a full body kit are 13% more expensive to cover, according to MoneySuperMarket analysis. 

Getting the right cover

As this is your first step into the world of car insurance, the options available to you can be confusing. The main options on offer are third party cover, third party, fire and theft cover (TPF&T) and fully-comprehensive cover.

  • Third party cover only insures you against damage to third parties (other people) and their property.
  • Third party, fire and theft offers the same cover, but also protects you against your vehicle being lost to fire or theft.
  • Fully comprehensive cover protects you against everything detailed previously, as well as damage to your own vehicle.

If you were involved in an accident and had only third party cover, you’d have to pay for the repairs to your own vehicle out of your own pocket. It is therefore recommended to get fully comprehensive cover when possible – plus this is on average the cheapest cover in recent years.

Take a more detailed look at these options on our car insurance policy types page.

Pass Plus

Just because you’ve passed your driving test, it doesn’t mean the learning has to stop there. Pass Plus is an advanced driving course for newly-qualified drivers and can help to lower your first car insurance premiums.

The six-module course covers things you won’t have learned in your standard lessons like night-time driving, rural driving and motorway driving. The extra experience can earn you a discount with the majority of insurers.

Discover the potential impact this qualification can have by taking advantage of our Pass Plus car insurance guide.

Pay as you go insurance

Pay as you go car insurance is the fourth option, and can make insurance cheaper for some drivers – specifically first time car insurance buyers with very little experience. This type of cover sees drivers charged for the miles they actually travel, rather than using an estimate.

Your car is fitted with a black box which tracks your mileage, on which you are charged. There is sometimes an initial deposit for the box and installation, but from there on in you only pay according to how much you use the car.

Insurers offer different types of telematics insurance, and most will charge a different amount per mile and some may offer cheaper rates during off-peak driving times. And if your annual mileage is actually quite high, you may find it more cost-effective to buy a traditional car insurance policy.

Why compare insurance quotes?

It’s important to shop around and compare quotes for car insurance to make sure you’re getting the best deal on your first car insurance policy, but remember that getting the appropriate level of cover for you is just as important as getting a cheap policy.

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