How to afford car insurance as a new driver

Passing your driving test is a great reason to celebrate, but before you hit the road you need to be insured to legally drive. As inexperienced drivers are often charged high premiums, it pays to do your research before you buy a policy.

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What is new drivers' car insurance?

New driver car insurance is no different to any other policy, but refers to cover for those who have just started driving.

Although your first car insurance policy will likely be the most expensive you ever purchase, you can save hundreds just by comparing prices and options to finding the right cover.

If you want an explanation of how car insurance works, read our guide What is car insurance?

Why is new drivers' car insurance expensive?

There are 2 main factors: risk and inexperience.

New drivers are far more likely to be involved in an accident and make a claim on their insurance than experienced drivers.

Road safety charity Brake reports that one young driver in five crashes within a year of passing their test.

How to save on new drivers' car insurance

The good news is that there are ways to bring the quoted premium down - with everything from the type of car to the type of policy and extras potentially making for cheaper car insurance.

Here are some of the main factors:

Choose the right car

Look for a car that will be cheap to insure. Nearly new cars with small engines tend to be the cheapest because they are in the lowest car insurance group. You can find out more about car insurance groups in our guide to car insurance.

Choose the right policy

There are several levels of cover available for car insurance. The most basic is third party, next up is third party, fire and theft, while comprehensive cover is - well - more comprehensive.

But that doesn’t mean basic cover is cheapest. Insurers price policies based on how likely they think it is that they will have to pay out. And in many cases, a person choosing more basic cover is seen as a higher risk than someone choosing a comprehensive policy.

So it’s worth comparing quotes for comprehensive cover as well as other levels as it might work out cheaper.

Increase your excess

The insurance excess is the amount you will have to pay out when you claim, and by agreeing to pay more you can reduce your insurance premiums. Before you do this you need to be sure you could afford to pay the excess if you did have an accident. This guide explains how to work out whether or not you should increase your excess.

How does car insurance excess work?

Consider black box insurance

This is a good option for new drivers because a telematics box measures your driving and can show your insurer you are a safe driver and result in cheaper cover. Our black box insurance guide can help you decide if this is the right cover for you.

Can black box insurance save you money?

Get extra qualifications

You can show insurers you are a capable driver by taking extra qualifications like Pass Plus.

Some insurers offer a discount if you have a Pass Plus qualification but not all, so look for those that do to get the best deal.

GOV.UK website - Pass Plus

Drive fewer miles

When you take out your policy, the insurer will ask you how many miles you plan to drive. 

Try to be as accurate as possible. Generally, the less you drive the less you will pay, but this is not always the case - so check what the next band up will cost too before deciding on a figure.

This is also useful as you can be charged for going over your stated limit.

Add an experienced driver

Adding an experienced older driver, a parent for example, as a named driver can reduce the cost of your cover. The best person to add to your policy will have a clean licence and several years of no claims.

Do not be tempted to add yourself as a named driver on someone else's policy if you plan to be the main driver. This is known as fronting and could invalidate your cover. Our guide, Can you put your child on your car insurance?, looks at this in more detail.

Increase security

Insurers will offer cheaper prices if you keep your car somewhere safe, like a driveway rather than parking on the road. Installing security enhancing devices like immobilisers, tracking devices and alarms may also help.

Install a dash cam

A dash cam is a camera you install in your car to record your journey. It can be used to prove your innocence when you are involved in an accident, and insurers may cut your premium if you have one.

The cheapest models can cost just £20, but make sure the outlay is worth the potential saving and check the model you are buying is on the insurer’s approved list or you could be paying out for no benefit at all.

For a more in depth look at the best ways to cut the cost of your car insurance, read this guide.

How to find new drivers' car insurance

The best way to find a good deal on your car insurance as a young driver is to compare quotes. from different providers.

Not all insurers cover young drivers because of the increased risk, so use our young driver car insurance comparison which only shows companies that offer cover to drivers under 25 years old.

If you are younger, try our under 21's car insurance or car insurance for 17 year olds comparisons.

If you are looking for your first ever car insurance policy, our new drivers' insurance guide could help you find the best possible cover.

What could increase your premiums?

Once you have taken out your insurance policy you premiums could go up if you:

    Remember: You must notify your insurance company if you are involved in an accident, even if you do not want to claim.

    If you get 6 points in your first two years of driving your licence will be revoked, so it is important you drive safely and sensibly. Here is a list of driving offences that will result in penalty points.

    If you do have an accident think about paying out of your own pocket rather than claiming. This may not be worth it if the repairs are expensive, but it will prevent a hike in your premium and help you build up your no-claims bonus. 

    Find out more about how this saves you money here. If the repairs are less, or only slightly more, than your excess it is worth paying yourself.

    Whatever car you drive, make sure you find insurance that covers everything you need as cheaply as possible by comparing policies.