Car insurance for new drivers

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New driver? Here’s what you need to know

There are three main types of car insurance:

1

Fully comprehensive

The best level of cover, fully comprehensive insurance protects you, your car and other motorists from any damage you cause. It also covers medical expenses, repairs, fire damage and theft of your vehicle

2

Third-party, fire and theft

Third-party, fire and theft policies cover repair costs for other people, their cars and their property, as well as your own vehicle if it’s stolen or damaged by fire

3

Third-party

The minimum legal requirement, third-party insurance will only cover any damage you cause to other cars and property

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How much does car insurance cost for new drivers?

The average yearly cost of car insurance for people who’ve held their licence for a year is £1,024†. People who’ve had their licence for longer pay less on average.

†According to MoneySuperMarket data correct as of February 2020

Similarly drivers aged 17 to 19 always pay higher premiums for car insurance – at an average of £1,125 a year†. This is more than those aged 20 and over.

†According to MoneySuperMarket data correct as of February 2020

How to get cheaper car insurance for new drivers

Car insurance premiums are higher for new drivers, but you can still lower the cost of cover if you do the following:

Telematics

Take out telematics

Insurers can monitor your driving habits with telematics hardware, so sensible drivers earn lower premiums

 

car front view

Buy a sensible car

Smaller, less powerful cars are cheaper, safer to drive and less attractive to thieves and vandals

Person

Add a named driver

Adding an experienced driver to your policy tells insurers it won’t be just you driving, so they’ll reduce the price

Padlock

Keep your car safe

Parking your car in a locked garage keeps it safe from criminals, making it less likely you’ll need to claim for theft or vandalism

Speed gauge

Drive fewer miles

The less time you spend on the road the lower the chances of you being involved in a road accident

Coin stack

Pay a higher excess

Volunteering a higher excess fee indicates you won’t make any frivolous claims on your policy

What extras can I get with car insurance?

When you take out car insurance as a new driver, be careful about the additional policies you choose – they do bolster your cover, but you’ll generally need to pay more for the extra protection. Depending on your provider, you’ll usually have the choice of:

  • Breakdown cover, which gives you access to roadside assistance if your car breaks down
  • Windscreen cover, which lets you claim for the cost of replacing a cracked or shattered windscreen
  • Legal cover, which will pay out for certain legal costs related to a claim by you or another party
  • Driving abroad cover, which insures you for taking your car overseas and driving in the EU 
  • Courtesy car cover, which provides a replacement vehicle for you to use while yours is in repair
  • Multi-car cover, which lets you drive more than one car under a single policy
  • Personal accident cover, which pays out in the event that you’re injured or killed in a road accident 
  • Replacement keys, which covers the cost of replacing a set of keys if they’re lost, damaged or stolen
  • Wrong fuel, which pays for repair costs if you accidentally top up the tank with the wrong fuel

Do I need car insurance?

Car insurance is a legal requirement for drivers in the UK, thanks to the continuous insurance enforcement rules brought in as part of the road safety act of 2006. This means that unless your car is registered as off the road with a SORN, or in the process of being bought or sold, you could be faced with a fine for not insuring your vehicle.

Why is car insurance for new drivers so expensive?

New drivers and young drivers alike generally pay much higher car insurance premiums as insurers see these groups as higher risks of being involved in a road accident – therefore more likely to claim on their insurance policy. 

Do driving courses help lower the cost of insurance?

While driving courses such as Pass Plus or IAM make you a better driver, they won’t always save you money on your car insurance policy. In fact the average person won’t see any difference in premiums whether or not they have Pass Plus on their licence – but that doesn’t mean it can’t benefit anyone at all. Younger or inexperienced drivers might be able to save a few quid, but it’s better to shop around and compare options – this way if insurers do offer discounts you’ll be able to take advantage.

How does telematics cover work?

Telematics cover involves your insurer monitoring your driving habits and adjusting your premiums according to how you drive. They do this through one of three types of telematics tech – either a black box (the most common) installed under your dashboard, a plug-in device or an app on your smartphone.

This is particularly useful for sensible new drivers as it offers a way to get lower car insurance premiums as a reward for driving safely.

How can my parents help me get cheaper car insurance?

As a young or new driver, you might be able to knock a few quid off your premiums by adding another more experienced driver to your policy – in most cases this will be your parents. This suggests to insurers that you won’t be the only person driving the car, therefore the assumed risk won’t always quite so high.

While this can be a good way to get cheaper cover, people sometimes take advantage of this by declaring the older or more experienced driver as the ‘main driver’ – when in reality it’ll be the young or new driver using the car more frequently. This is known as ‘fronting’ and is illegal.

Is it cheaper to pay monthly or annually for car insurance?

You’re likely to get a better deal on your car insurance policy if you pay an annual lump sum rather than in monthly instalments. This is largely because in a way monthly payments are similar to taking out credit – you’ll be covered in full, but without having paid the full amount yet. 

Paying monthly can be useful as you’ll be able to spread the cost out, but you will end up paying a little extra overall.

What does excess mean?

Excess payments refer to the cost of making a claim – it’s essentially how much you’ll need to put towards the total claim cost before your insurer pays the rest. Volunteering a higher excess fee on top of the compulsory amount indicates to insurers you won’t bother making small and frivolous claims.

What is a no-claims bonus?

A no-claims bonus is what you earn when you go some time without claiming on your policy. The longer you’ve gone without claiming, the more your insurers will knock off your premiums as they’ll see you as less likely to make further claims in the future.

You might consider not claiming for an accident if the damage done to your car is minor and it would be more sensible to pay for the repairs yourself – let’s say the excess you’d need to pay was more than the overall repair costs. This way you’ll preserve your no-claims bonus as well as being better off financially. 

Do I have to tell my insurers about an accident if I’m not going to claim?

If you’re involved in an accident and you decide not to make a claim, you should still inform your insurer. They’ll keep their records up to date, so they know what condition your vehicle is in and whether this will affect your likeliness of claiming some time in the future.

If you don’t keep your insurer updated, it’s possible this will void your insurance policy so you won’t be able to claim when you really need to.

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