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Car insurance for new drivers

Car insurance for new drivers

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Last updated: 15 September 2021

 So all those lessons have paid off, you've passed your driving test and the L plates are gone! But before you hit the road, there are a few things you're going to need to know about car insurance. We've put together this guide on the best ways to get cheap car insurance as a young or inexperienced driver.... 

Do I need car insurance?

Yes, definitely. It's a legal requirement in the UK to be insured, at least to the level of third party cover. There are a few options available regarding the types of insurance you can purchase.

Types of car insurance for new drivers

Third party only is the most basic level of cover. It only covers you for damage to other people's cars, meaning you'll receive no pay outs for repairs to your own vehicle.

Third party fire and theft is slightly more comprehensive as it covers you if your car is stolen or damaged in a fire. However it still doesn't cover you for your own damages so you'll be responsible for paying for any repairs to your vehicle.

Comprehensive insurance or “fully comp” covers you for your own damages as well as those on other vehicles, meaning you can sleep easy knowing that (other than your excess) you're covered. It's usually most expensive to get fully comp insurance but it's always worth exploring all your options when you compare car insurance policies, as in some instances fully comp can actually be as cheap, or even cheaper, than third party. This is because many more high-risk drivers take out third party cover. For a more in depth look at this, check out our guide on comprehensive car insurance

Telematics / black box insurance: Can it save me money?

If you consider yourself a safe driver, telematics insurance can be a great way to access cheaper car insurance. When you take out ones of these policies, your insurer uses a GPS system to monitor your driving habits, and the more safely you drive, the lower your premiums could be. Be wary though, if you drive like you're a rally driver you could be in for a shock. The black box works both ways, and your premiums could skyrocket if you're deemed unsafe.

The system monitors your speed, braking, cornering and location. As long as you stick to the speed limits, avoid harsh braking as much as possible, and drive smoothly, you're likely to make savings. One benefit to this type of cover are that the black box statistics make no assumptions about your experience level or risk factors. Also you'll be able to see your own personal driving data, usually through a website or app, and adjust your driving accordingly to push down your premiums!

Will adding another driver reduce my premium?

Adding a more experienced driver onto your car insurance policy can be a helpful way to save. This is because car insurance on the whole is a game of risk. Reducing the risk to the insurer by adding a low-risk driver, who will be using the car in some instances, will often bring the cost of the policy down.

This isn't an exact science, and some insurance companies will quote very differently depending on the named driver selected. It's therefore worth chopping and changing when you use our car insurance comparison tool, as you may find that one driver affects the quote with a certain insurer and a different driver does so in another configuration.

Something to make sure to avoid when adding named drivers is declaring someone as a main driver untruthfully. This is known as “fronting” and can carry some very harsh penalties.

What about the excess?

Most car insurance providers allow you to add voluntary excess to your policy (on top of the compulsory excess) to reduce your premiums. This can be helpful if you're a safe driver and are unlikely to make a claim, as you'll reduce your monthly or annual payment and won't have to shell out. However, you will pay more if you do make a claim, so be sure not to set your overall excess higher than you could reasonably afford should the worst happen. Check out our guide on car insurance excess for more information.

Can driving courses help lower my costs?

Courses like Pass+ often claim to help in reducing insurance premiums, although this isn't always the case. If your chosen insurer offers a discount then it can be worth it, but many insurers don't, and the course itself can cost up to £180. A good bet is to compare car insurance first, choose the deal that's right for you and then subsequently check if you could decrease this further by completing a driving course.

Other ways to save

  • Limit your mileage: Drivers who cover less distance annually pay less, as they're at a lower risk of being in an accident
  • Build up your no claims: The longer you go without an incident, the more proof insurers have that you are at low risk of claiming, and this is reflected in annually increasing discounts.
  • Compare car insurance quotes: While many insurers claim to have great deals, comparing between the big players using our tool will effectively show you which insurer caters best to you.
  • Keep it standard: Modifying your car is almost certain to increase your premiums. Non-standard parts are more expensive to fix or replace, and this is reflected in insurance costs.
  • Make your car secure: Generally, after-market additions are bad for your insurance. The exception to this is security features. Alarms and immobilisers decrease the risk of your car being stolen, which insurers understandably love!
  • Pay a lump sum: Paying your premium in one go annually will save you paying out interest on to a monthly payment.

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Fergus Cole

Author: Fergus Cole

Fergus is a journalist specialising in the personal finance, energy and broadband sectors. He also has a passion for travel and adventure so tries to make the most of this in any spare time he gets.

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