As a young adult, being able to drive provides the vital next step towards freedom and responsibly, but it also comes at a cost.
For a new driver aged between 17 and 22, the average cost for a year’s car insurance is more than £1,4001 - and that’s after having paid for driving lessons and a car. Fortunately, there are several ways in which new drivers can find the best deal on their car insurance.
What kind of cover do I need?
There are three key types of car insurance:
Third Party (TPO)
Third party only insurance is the most basic motor insurance policy, and covers the minimum legal requirements for driving a car. Should the policyholder be involved in an accident that is thought to be their fault, TPO helps protect other people, vehicles and property. TPO doesn’t, however, cover any injuries suffered by the policyholder or any damage caused to their vehicle.
Third Party Fire and Theft (TPFT)
In addition to third-part cover, TPFT also allows the policyholder to claim for: any damage caused by fire (whether this be arson or accidental), the cost of their vehicle in the event of theft and any damage caused by an attempted theft. Another added benefit of TPFT over TPO is that this policy can also help new drivers build up their ‘No Claims Bonus’ for the first year of driving – as long as they don’t make any claims.
Comprehensive is the highest level of cover you can get in terms of motor insurance. While TPFT only covers damage to third-parties if an accident is deemed the policyholder fault, comprehensive insurance additionally covers damage to the holder’s vehicle, even if the accident is believed to be their fault.
Why is ‘new driver’ insurance so expensive?
One of the main reasons why car insurance can be expensive for young or inexperienced drivers is the risk attached to insuring people in these groups. While some young people may be safe drivers, statistics indicate that drivers aged 17-24 are responsible for almost one in ten serious or fatal accidents in the UK2, and are consequently considered a higher risk than any other age group.
Essentially, the higher the risk, the higher the cost of the insurance.
Tips for keeping your insurance lower
There are several ways in which new drivers can influence the quote on their car insurance policy:
- Complete a Pass Plus course. The course provides new drivers additional time with an instructor, and can help them gain confidence on roads that are not included in the practical driving test.
- Get a small engine car3. Statistically, big engine vehicles are more likely to be involved in road traffic accidents, and are consequently considered riskier to insurers. New drivers are recommended a 1.4 litre engine or less in order to keep their premiums down.
- Put safety first. When new drivers are applying for insurance, having things like off-street parking where they live and fitting an alarm in their car may reduce costs.
- Add a responsible driver. Having a parent as a second driver on the policy could reduce costs – as long as they’re safe drivers as well.
- Honesty is the best policy. Declare the exact mileage of the car and how much driving will be done over the year. Leisure-only driving and high voluntary excess helps to reduce costs.
- Download the Aviva Drive App. The app monitors driving skills and gives a rating out of 10; safer drivers could get a discount on Aviva car insurance (applies to comprehensive insurance only).
Car insurance is a legal requirement for driving any vehicle on UK roads so, while expensive, is a must. If a driver is caught without insurance, it could lead to: a fixed penalty of £300 and six penalty points on their licence. If the case goes to court, the punishment could increase to an unlimited fine and disqualification from driving4.
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