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Car insurance for 17-year-olds

Whether you’re 17 or 70, car insurance is a legal requirement - and it works in the same way for everyone. But being caught without it as a teenage driver could land you in serious trouble, and might even see you lose your licence. So make sure you’re fully insured before getting behind the wheel.

Compare quotes with us today and we can help find you a deal that suits your needs. Or read on for everything you need to know about getting cover as a 17-year-old driver.

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What level of insurance do 17-year-olds need?

Just like for any other driver, 17-year-olds need at least third party insurance to legally drive on the road.

This isn't always the best option for teenage drivers though. Third party cover tends to be far more expensive for them than other levels of cover, even though it covers less.

This is mainly because, in the past, newer drivers tended to take out third party cover as it was cheaper. As they tend to be involved in more collisions than older drivers, they then began to claim in large numbers. This then drove up the cost of this type of insurance dramatically.

Fully comprehensive cover now tends to be the cheaper option for young drivers, even though it provides a higher level of insurance. 

Haven't passed your test yet? Then you'll need learner driver insurance

To help you decide which level of cover is best for you, here’s a more in-depth look at the levels we compare quotes for:

  • Third-party only: This is the lowest level of car insurance available. It only covers the cost of damage you do to other cars. If you damage your own car, you won’t be able to claim for the cost of any repairs. It now tends to be more expensive than other policies.
  • Third-party, fire and theft: This works in the same way as third-party cover, but adds cover for your own vehicle if it’s damaged by fire or stolen. As with third-party-only policies, it used to be cheaper than comprehensive cover, but now tends to be more expensive.
  • Fully comprehensive: This is the highest level of car insurance available and covers you and your car, as well as any third parties. It’s now often the cheapest level of insurance available, giving you more extensive cover than other policy types at a lower price.

How much is car insurance for a 17-year-old?

According to our car insurance price index, this is the average cost of a comprehensive car insurance policy for 17 year-olds*:

Fully comprehensive

£2,877

*Confused.com Q4 2023 price index data.

Insurance can be expensive for teenage drivers, especially 17-year-olds who've just passed their test.

In fact, our data shows that 17-year-olds pay £2,877 for their insurance on average - that's more than double the average price across all ages of £995*.

There are several reasons for this, but it mainly comes down to a lack of experience. As newly qualified 17-year-olds are more likely to be involved in an accident than more experienced drivers, they pay more for their insurance.

There are figures to back up this up too: male drivers aged between 17-24 are 4 times as likely to be involved in a fatal or serious accident compared with drivers over 25.**

*Confused.com price index data, Q4 2023.
**According to Government research 2022.

When will my insurance start to get cheaper?

Here’s what drivers pay for their insurance on average based on their age+.

17-20-year-olds

£2,708

21-25-year-olds

£1,794

26-30-year-olds

£1,316

+Based on Confused.com data October - December 2023.

No matter what, 17-year-olds are always going to pay more for their car insurance than older, more experienced age groups.

The good new is, though, that your car insurance should start to go down as you get older and gain more driving experience.

That's if none of your other circumstances change like:

  • Where you live
  • What car you drive
  • How much excess you choose to pay

You should see a more dramatic drop in cover at around age 25.

But even before that, if you stay claim free, your price should drop year on year.

What can 17-year-olds do to get cheaper cover?

Although insurance for new drivers is always going to be expensive, there are a few things you can do to bring the cost of your cover down.

Here are some tips to get cheaper car insurance:

  • Add a named driver to your policy
  • Get black box insurance
  • Choose fully comprehensive cover
  • Estimate your mileage accurately
  • Change your voluntary excess
  • Buy a car in a low insurance group
  • Compare quotes

Add a named driver to your policy: Adding a more experienced named driver to your policy could bring the cost of your cover down by 19%+.

Get black box insurance: It isn’t for everyone, but black box insurance could help you lower your insurance costs. These policies, also known as telematics insurance policies, track your driving and award you a score. The better your score, the better the price you might get when you come to renew.

Choose fully comprehensive cover: Third-party insurance used to be cheaper than fully comprehensive. But due to an increase in inexperienced or high-risk drivers choosing third party, and then claiming, the cost of comprehensive cover tends to be far cheaper.

Estimate your mileage accurately: When you get a quote, we'll ask you for your annual mileage. Covering yourself for more miles than you actually drive means you pay more for your cover than you need to.

Change your voluntary excess: The amount of voluntary excess you agree to pay can influence the cost of your insurance. The most popular excess amount chosen by our customers is £250+ - but choosing to pay a bit more, or less, could lead to a better price. Just make sure you can afford whatever excess you agree to.

Buy a car in a low insurance group: If you’ve yet to buy a car, choosing one in a low insurance group can help keep your costs down. You'll find some of the cheapest cars to insure in the lower insurance groups. 

Compare quotes: Comparing quotes lets you see what deals are out there, and find the best one for you at the right price.

+Confused.com data October - December 2023.

Is black box insurance good for teenage drivers?

Black box insurance is a popular choice with younger drivers as it can help make cover more affordable. But it might not be for everyone.

With most black box insurance policies, your driving is monitored, either through an app or a small black box device fitted to your car. The app and black box both monitor things like how fast you drive, how quickly you brake and how far you travel.

You're then awarded a driving score. If you build up a good score, you should be offered cheaper insurance when you renew.

Many younger drivers use a black box policy for the first few years of driving, when their costs are typically highest.

But while it can save you money, there are some drawbacks:

It may not save you money right away: Some policies only offer you cheaper cover at renewal, meaning you’ll have to build up your driving score for a whole year before your price drops.

It might not save you money at all: If you’re not a diligent driver, you’ll fail to build up a good driving score, meaning your insurance won’t be any cheaper than standard non-black-box cover.

You might have to use your mobile data: Some policies track your driving with an app rather than a physical device. This means you’ll have to use your own mobile data while driving, which could be expensive if you’re not on an unlimited data plan.

Here's an overview of how black box policies work:
A graph illustrating black box car insurance

Is temporary insurance good for 17-year-olds?

Average cost of temp cover for learner drivers2.

One day

£32

One week

£47

One month

£65

2Based on average customer prices paid from Tempcover dataDecember 2023. 

If you’re 17 and only an occasional driver, or don’t have your own car yet and want to be insured on someone else’s while you look for one, temporary insurance can be good option.

Policies can last anything from 1 hour up to 28 days, giving you the flexibility to take out the exact amount of cover you need.

There are a few drawbacks though:

Temporary policies are more expensive overall, so a month’s worth of cover with a temp policy may end up costing far more than it would on a standard annual policy. The benefit is, though, that you need only take out 1 month’s worth of cover, rather than the whole year’s worth of insurance you’d need to commit to with a standard car policy.

Temporary policies are also a little more strict on what criteria you need to meet to take one out, so make sure to read the terms and conditions before taking out a policy.

What our car insurance expert says

"At 17, your car insurance is always going to be expensive. Being realistic about choosing a car you can afford to insure will go a long way to making your insurance affordable. Black boxes, avoiding modifications and increasing your excess are all quick ways to save too. Just make sure you understand the pros as well as the cons before picking your policy."

Louise Thomas, Motor Insurance Expert at Confused.com
Motor Insurance Expert Confused.com logo

What insurance add-ons are useful for 17-year-old drivers?

When you compare quotes, we'll ask you if you want to add any extras onto your policy. These add-ons allow you to make sure your car insurance covers exactly what you want it to, though they do come at a cost.

Add-ons that could be especially handy for 17-year-old drivers include:

Breakdown cover

Newer drivers tend to go for older cars, and older cars tend to break down. Having breakdown cover in place ensures that help is available to get your car back up and running - or at least to the nearest garage - in no time. It can also help you with things like putting diesel in a petrol car, and getting your car started if it breaks down outside your home.

Courtesy car cover

A courtesy car is a temporary vehicle your insurer lends you while yours is being repaired or replaced. Some policies come with courtesy car provision as standard, but others only offer it as an add on. If you rely on your car and you’re keen to keep driving no matter what, courtesy car cover can help keep you on the road.

Motor legal cover

17-year-olds tend to be involved in more collisions than older, more experienced drivers. Motor legal protection helps you cover the legal costs of any claims made against you as the result of an accident. It can also help you make a claim if you need to. Some policies come with legal cover as standard, but others may only offer it as an add-on.

Can I just be added to my parents' insurance?

If you don't have your own car, or don't think you'll be driving much, you could just get insured as a named driver on someone else's car insurance policy. This could be a parent, guardian or another experienced driver you live with.

This would allow you to drive the main policyholder's car, and usually works out cheaper than buying insurance as the main driver of your own car.

But there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • You won’t be the main driver so you’ll need to make sure you use the car less than whoever actually owns it. If you pretend to be a named driver, but are actually the most frequent driver, this is known as fronting - a type of insurance fraud that can lead to serious fines, driving bans, or even a criminal conviction.
  • It can raise the main driver’s insurance costs by having a less experienced driver sharing their car. You should check they understand that their cover might be more expensive before adding you.
  • You may not earn a no-claims bonus just by being a named driver. And with the discounts from having just 1 year of no claims bonus can be as much as 35%*, this can be a major drawback of being a named driver.
  • You need to live with your main driver which means that being added to your parents policy may not be an option for students living away from home. Luckily there are other ways to save on student car insurance though.

*Confused.com data October - December 2023.

What are the cheapest cars for a 17-year-old to insure?

According to our data, the cheapest cars for 17-year-olds to insure are3:

Fiat 500 Lounge

£672

MINI Cooper

£975

Fiat 500 abarth 595

 

£1,027

Peugeot 107 Urban

£1,179

MINI one

£1,204

3Based on Confused.com data October - December 2023.

There are several reasons these cars tend to be cheap to insure for younger drivers, but one of the key considerations is their insurance group.

Every car in the UK is assigned an insurance group, based on several factors including:

  • Its engine size
  • The safety features built into it
  • Cost of repairs and availability of parts

The groups range from 1 to 50 and generally, the higher the group, the more expensive that car is to insure.

It’s not the only thing insurers look at when calculating your costs, but having a car in a lower insurance group can help lead to cheaper insurance.

For a more in depth look at how your insurance is calculated, see our guide.

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