Car insurance for first time drivers

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Buying car insurance for the first time

Firstly, you’ll need to decide what level of car insurance cover you want. There are 3 different types to choose from:

  • Third-party only covers you against damage to other people, cars and property
  • Third-party, fire and theft is the same as above, but also covers your car if it’s in a fire, or stolen
  • Comprehensive is the top level of cover and can sometimes work out cheaper. It allows you to claim for damages even if you’re at fault.

We’ll also ask you some questions about your car, and some personal details about you. This helps insurers to calculate your price.

Once the we’ve got all the details we need, we’ll show you a range of quotes from insurance companies who’ve offered you a price. All you need to do is choose the insurer that best suits your needs.

How much does first time car insurance cost?

It probably comes as no surprise that the most common age to pass the practical car driving test in the UK is 17*. This means that most drivers hitting the road at this age will also be on the lookout for their first insurance policy.

The not-so good news is that 17-year-olds are also one of the most expensive age groups to insure. Our latest research shows that the average comprehensive policy for a 17 year old costs £1,241**. Making it £719 more expensive than the national average price of £522**.

Your age and driving experience influence your insurance price, but they’re not the only factors. Things like where you live and the car you drive can also affect the price you pay for car insurance. See our guide on how car insurance is calculated for more information.

*Department for Transport statistics 2019/2020.

**Price based on the Q2 2021 car insurance price index.

How to get cheap car insurance for first time drivers

Other than looking at your car and your experience behind the wheel, you may also want to think about:

1. Additional security in your car like alarms, trackers and immobilisers can help reduce the likelihood of damage and theft which in turn, can help keep the costs of your car insurance down.

2. Increasing your excess usually means lower prices, but remember you’ll need to pay this excess if you have an accident and need to make a claim.

3. Pay upfront, if you choose to pay monthly, you could be charged interest of around 15%1. So, if you can afford to pay upfront, you’ll save a nice little sum.

4. Limit modifications because they can hike up the cost of your insurance. Insurers usually class a modification as anything that alters the car from the original manufacturer specification. If you’ve made changes to your car and you’re unsure whether you need to let the insurer know about them or not, it’s worth speaking to them just in case.

5. Shop around, each insurance company will have their own pricing model and type of customers they’re looking for, so comparing quotes from lots of different companies can help find you the best deal.

1Based on data - December 2020 - January 2021

What you need to compare quotes

Getting a quote is easy and takes just 5 minutes. You’ll need the following information to get an accurate price:

  • Your personal details. Things like your name, age, address, occupation etc.
  • Your car details. Don’t forget to include any modifications if the car has any. This can be things like new spoilers, alloy wheels, decals etc.
  • Your driving licence number. This isn’t essential but adding it in can sometimes reduce prices.
  • The type of cover you want. Remember it’s worth getting a quote for comprehensive cover as it’s often cheaper than third party.
  • Details of any drivers you’d like to add to your policy. You’ll need their names and licence details.

Estimate your average annual mileage

When you get a quote, we’ll ask you to estimate how many miles you’ll drive in a year. This may be difficult to judge as it’s your first time having your own car insurance policy.

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. You should include things like your commute, daily trips to the shops/school runs etc.

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

Remember, car insurance is based on risk, so insurers take mileage into account when calculating your price. You’d think a higher annual mileage would cost more than someone who drives fewer miles, but this isn’t always the case.

If you don’t drive often and have a low annual mileage, you could be viewed as being less-experienced. It’s important you’re as accurate as possible, because underestimating your annual mileage could invalidate a future claim.

To give you an idea, the average annual mileage in the UK is less than 8,000 miles per year.

Other options to consider

There are plenty of options available to help get you on the road. A standard car insurance policy will cover you for 12 months, but if this isn’t right for you, then one of the following options might be helpful:

Black box policies use a small black box device installed in your car or an app downloaded to your phone to monitor your driving. They look at things like your acceleration and braking to calculate your price. If you can prove you’re a safe driver, insurers may offer you a discount.

Pay as you go car insurance might be suited if you don’t drive regularly. These policies charge you per mile you drive, on top of a set annual basic rate.

Temporary car insurance offers fully comprehensive car insurance cover from 1-28 days. If you only need occasional cover or cover at short notice, it can be a useful alternative to an annual policy.

Learner driver car insurance offers you the option of a shorter policy of up to 90 days while you learn to drive. If you haven’t passed after the 90 days and need more time, it’s as simple as taking out another policy. app download

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What our expert says:

“Car insurance can be pricey for first-time drivers, but as you gain experience on the road you might start to see your costs come down. Shop around for quotes to help save you money. We compare 120 insurance companies, so we should be able to find a price that suits you.”
Alex Kindred car insurance product manager signature
Alex Kindred, Car insurance Product Manager
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