Car insurance is a legal necessity and, in the event of an accident, the amount of cover you will receive means it is well worth the money. However, the premiums for young drivers are higher than most, driven by alarmingly-high accident rates. (Every day, four people are killed or seriously injured in crashes involving young drivers.*)
In an effort to drive down their insurance premiums, many young drivers will badger their parents to take out a policy for them, with the young person appearing as a named driver. It's often thought of as nothing more than a cheeky ruse, but what many parents don't realise is that this practice - known as 'fronting' - is in fact illegal. It's also getting easier to detect.
The Association of British Insurers has seen a 24% rise in cases of fraud**. In response, insurers are cracking down by running all new policyholder details through a shared industry database to help prevent fraudulent policies being sold.
Thankfully, there are several legitimate ways for young drivers to save money on car insurance - and they don't involve instant ageing kits. Here are a few of our best tips:
Choose the car wisely
- If you haven't bought a car yet, go for a vehicle with a smaller engine and with no modifications for lower premiums
- Parking in a garage at night and fitting alarms and immobilisers can drive down costs
Rapid bonus schemes
- Some insurance providers offer rapid bonus schemes that let young drivers earn a full year's no-claims discount in around six-nine months
- It's worth buying insurance online as insurers often offer a discount when policies are purchased direct using this channel
If your young driver might be using their car infrequently, recommend that they agree to a mileage limit to keep the premiums down.
Another worthwhile option to think about is Pass Plus (www.direct.gov.uk/passplus/) which is a training course aimed at new drivers, designed by the Driving Standards Agency with the
help of insurers and driving instructors. There's no final exam to pass, and first time drivers could get a discount off their car insurance.
The course improves driving skills by giving them hands-on experience of motorway, dual carriageway, night, city, out-of- town and all-weather driving.
And while having to take another course right after passing your driving test might sound like putting stabilisers back on to a bike that you've just learned to ride, the discount and advanced driving skills will make it all worthwhile.
*Department for Transport, Killed or Seriously Injured (KSI) statistics, 2008
**Association of British Insurers, 2009