First-time car insurance

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First-time car insurance - the lowdown

After weeks, months or even years of lessons, you're now ready to hit the road as a new driver without supervision. As daunting or exciting as that might be, buying your first car insurance policy could be more of a minefield.

Typically there are 3 different types of car insurance to choose from:

  • Third-party only (TPO) - only covers you against damage to other people, cars & property
  • Third-party, fire and theft (TPFT) - same as TPO, but also covers your car if it's in a fire, or stolen
  • Comprehensive - same as TPO & TPFT but also covers your car against damage it sustains in an accident
A common misconception is that a comprehensive policy could cover your car from general wear and tear - eg a head gasket going, or the clutch etc. This isn't true. It's there to cover your car against damage in the event of an accident, whether that's a small or major accident.

How do I know which is the right policy for me?

This really comes down to you. Although budget may be a consideration, it’s important to do your homework. You may think a TPFT policy is cheaper than comprehensive cover, but this isn’t always the case – especially if you end up pranging your own car!

Here's some of our tips to think about when buying car insurance:
  • If you decide to break up the payments by paying monthly on direct debit, this could end up costing you over 30% extra. Some insurance companies offer a cheaper one-off payment option rather than paying interest on instalments.
  • Adding additional drivers on to your policy isn't necessarily cheaper. Really you should only add on drivers who'll be driving the car and need to be insured.
  • Keep your mileage accurate. Try to estimate how many miles you think you'll actually do. Take into consideration how far college/uni/work is, and how many miles you'll cover visiting friends & family etc.

If you'd like to know how car insurance is calculated, we've written a handy guide to explain it all.

As a new driver you won't have built up any no-claims bonus yet. Despite that, it's worth understanding how building it up could lead to discounts on your insurance. Our no-claims bonus guide gives the lowdown on what it is, how to build it up, how to protect it and more.

Estimate your annual mileage

If it's your first time taking out car insurance, chances are you won't know how many miles you'll cover over the course of the year. Insurers use this information to calculate premiums, and you'll need to give an approximate annual mileage in order to get a quote.

If you have a rough idea of how many miles you'll be driving each day, you can use this table to get an estimated annual figure.

Generally, insurers see drivers with a higher annual mileage as a greater risk, and charge higher premiums, though this is not always the case. 

But it's important to be as accurate as possible, as underestimating your annual mileage could invalidate a future claim.

For more tips on how to save money on your car insurance, take a look at our collection of guides.

Approx. daily miles Approx. weekly miles Approx. annual miles
3 21 2,000
6 42 3,000
11 77 5,000
20 140 8,000
31 217 12,000
42 294 16,000
50 350 19,000

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We also offer a wealth of information to help you along the way. This ranges from what not to do if you're a new driver to working out your car running costs.

And we don't just help drivers win on car insurance - but all things motor, including breakdown cover and buying a car. QuickQuote Logo

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