If you're a younger driver there's no getting around the fact that you'll be classed as a higher-risk on the road, meaning insurance will be pricey. But there are ways to reduce these often sky-high costs with a little know-how - here are our top 8.
If you’re a young driver and are new on the roads, you’ll often inevitably be charged more for your car insurance premiums. This is simply due to the fact that younger drivers statistically tend to cause more accidents per year than any other class of driver, and so insurers will see you as a high risk. As such they’ll offset the potential cost of you making claims on your car insurance by charging you higher premiums.
But is there anyway to get around these high premiums other than waiting till your years of experience prove to insurers that you’re a conscientious driver? We take a look at 8 nifty ways to bring your premium down.
Cars are split into different insurance groups from 1 to 20, which determine how much you will have to pay to insure that car. A swanky Porsche for example would be classed as insurance group 19 or 20, while a more modest Ford Fiesta would be classed as insurance group 2.
As such when you are looking to buy your first pair of wheels it’s a good idea to find out what insurance group different cars are in; and if possible, go for one in a lower group as this will equate to lower premiums.
After passing your Driving Test you may groan at the thought of studying for further driving qualifications. But doing so will pay dividends. The Pass Plus course, for instance, was designed by the DSA (Driving Standards Agency) and aims to build confidence and know-how in less experienced drivers.
It comprises six modules such as driving at night and driving in bad weather, and you’ll have to pass each of these to get your extra qualification – though there isn’t any test to take at the end.
Getting a Pass Plus qualification under your belt will mean that insurers will see you as less of a risky driver and many offer specific Pass Plus discounts, meaning you can secure lower premiums.
By naming a second person on your insurance policy who also drives your car, such as a parent or sibling who is older and has more driving experience, you can help to lower your premiums. This is because bringing a second more experienced driver into the equation will lower the overall risk to your car and therefore insurers will be willing to offer more affordable premiums.
However, be careful not to fall for the trap where you name your Mum as your car’s main driver just to get cheaper premiums, when she only drives it to the shops once a week. Naming someone who isn’t the car’s main driver as the primary person on your insurance policy is known as fronting and constitutes fraud; be honest about who drives your car and when.
Increasing the amount you agree to pay in the event of a claim, known as an insurance excess, will often secure you cheaper premiums. This is because your insurer will be willing to lower the price they charge you to keep up cover if you agree in return to pay out more towards the cost of a claim.
It’s worth looking into increasing your excess for this reason; however you should be careful not to increase it so much that you can’t afford to pay it when you do need to make a claim. Increasing your excess to £500 just for cheaper premiums is pointless if you won’t be able to shell out that £500 when you need to claim.
Car insurance is often cheaper when you go for the bare essentials rather than augmenting your cover with all kinds of unnecessary bells and whistles that inflate the price. As such it may be a good idea to look at getting a more basic policy to save money.
If your car is low value it may be worth looking at covering your car with third party fire and theft only, rather than getting fully comprehensive cover. Remember however that third party fire and theft isn’t always categorically cheaper than comprehensive, so it’s still worth looking at comprehensive too.
If you do go or third party fire and theft you’ll have to be aware that in an accident your car wouldn’t be covered for damage – this kind of insurance only covers damage to others’ cars and property.
If you manage not to make any claims on your policy for a year, you’ll start to build up a no claims bonus which can be used to get you cheaper cover. A no claims bonus is a reward from your insurer for being a safe driver – if they don’t have to pay out to meet your claims, they’ll be happy to lower your premiums in return.
Of course sometimes accidents can’t be avoided but you can still do everything in your power to stay safe on the road. Remember the Highway Code and drive carefully within speed limits, and you’ll soon build up your status as a conscientious driver with a decent history of no claims.
...But not by adding modifications such as spoilers and fins, as these will increase your insurance premiums (because your car will be more vulnerable to theft and vandalism). Instead, enhance your car with an approved immobiliser and alarm to make it more secure. The more secure your car is, the more your premiums will be lowered because you are less likely to have to make a claim.
You can also help add to the security of your cay by keeping it in a safe place overnight such as a garage rather than the roadside, etching your vehicle registration number onto your windows, and removing valuables from your car when you’re leaving it unattended. Tell your insurer you have taken these extra measures and your premiums are likely to drop.
Car insurance policies will often be cheaper if you pay for them up-front annually rather than spreading your payments into monthly installments. This is because insurers often treat monthly payments as a loan from them to you, and as such will add on an ‘interest charge’ often up to 30%. That means you could be paying a third more than you have to for your car insurance if you pay monthly.
As such it’s a good idea to pay for your insurance in one go when you first take out the policy – if this is too much to pay at once, try bargaining with a parent or older sibling to lend you the money; you’d then be able to pay it back to them but hopefully without interest!
If you don’t drive a lot of miles per month it may be more beneficial for you to get a pay-as-you-go policy. This will allow you to only pay for the miles you drive, which can cut the cost of insurance significantly if you only venture out on the roads occasionally