Young and new drivers generally pay more for their insurance than older, more experienced drivers. But there are still ways you can save some cash.
At the end of 2015, 17-year-old drivers were paying nearly £1,900 a year for their car insurance, compared with almost £1,400 a year among drivers who had hit 21.
Young drivers usually get the expensive end of the stick when it comes to their car insurance prices. And although 17-year-olds are paying roughly 54% less than they were five years ago, it’s still a lot of cash to be parting with.
It's a similar story for first-time drivers, too. For the first year or so behind the wheel, you could find your costs to be higher than other drivers your age.
The good news, though, is that there are ways you can shave off a few extra quid and still be covered. Let’s take a look.
Why is car insurance so expensive for young and new drivers?
It all boils down to risk. The bigger the risk an insurer thinks you are, the more expensive your prices tend to be. This is all based on decades’ worth of insurance statistics.
Unfortunately, the statistics agree that drivers under 25 are more likely to have an accident than any other age group, making them the riskiest drivers.
The same applies for drivers with less experience than their peers. This means, you guessed it, that your prices get hiked up as a result.
That’s not to say you’re a risky driver. You could be the most careful 20-year-old driver ever to grace the roads of Britain, or be a model motorist from the day you pass your test.
But, based on your inexperience, address, choice of car and a number of other factors, insurers will more often than not set the price of a younger, inexperienced driver higher than an older driver with a few years' experience under their belt.
What can I do to cut the cost of car insurance?
The trick is to show your insurer that you aren’t all that risky. Here are a few ways you can achieve this:
Simplify your choice of car
If you’re thinking about getting a modern, souped-up motor, be prepared to pay through the nose for it.
More powerful cars tend to have more expensive accidents, and expensive cars are usually a target for thieves.
An older car with a few miles on the clock, a smaller engine and a low price tag should all contribute to driving down your price.
Also, avoid “modding” your car. Those spinning rims, tinted windows and lowered suspension may look sick, but the extra premium you’d pay for them would probably make you sick.
Plus, modifications can be very hit and miss.
Beef up your security
Anything that reduces the risk of your car being stolen or damaged should help keep your costs down. Rather than keep your car on the street at night, park it on a driveway or in a garage.
Also, if you haven’t already, it’s worth considering adding an alarm, engine immobiliser or tracker to the car for that added level of security.
Check your occupation
You’d be surprised at how little things can make a difference.
Many insurers use your occupation as one of their rating factors when working out your insurance price. So if more doctors than bricklayers have accidents, then doctors across the board may see their prices go up.
The thing is, there may be a number of occupations that are similar to one another.
For example, what’s the difference between a builder and a construction worker? Or between a student and a student who lives at home?
Take a look at the different variations of your job type and see which fits best. You may find that one job title has a slightly lower price than another, slightly similar one.
WARNING: Make sure that you’re still being honest and accurate with your occupation. If you’re being deliberately dishonest then you’re committing fraud, sunshine.
How can I prove that I’m not a risky driver?
For the most part, we’re all victims of statistics. But there are a few ways you can rise above them and show your insurer that you're a good driver and deserve a lower price:
Earn a no-claims bonus
For every 12 months you’re insured and don’t make a claim, you earn a year’s no-claims bonus, which helps to lower your prices when you come to renew your insurance.
Once you’ve racked up five years’ worth of no-claims, you could see prices drop quite a bit.
Don’t feel that you need to stick with the same insurer to make use of this discount either. So long as you’ve earned a full year’s worth, you can transfer your no-claims bonus when you switch insurers.
Some insurers offer a Bonus Accelerated Policy (BAP) that allows you to earn a year’s no-claims in only 10 months.
This means that you’ll be able to get your five years’ no-claims discount in a little over four years.
The rules about how this works, and whether you can transfer this bonus to a new company, vary between insurers. Check with them before you agree to a BAP.
Get a black box policy
Black box cover, also known as telematics if you’re in the biz, uses a small device that’s installed in your car and tracks your driving performance.
But don’t fret – it’s not some Big Brother gizmo that notes down every single thing you do in your car.
Black boxes tend to track your acceleration, braking and cornering, and use this data to score your driving.
The higher your score, the “better” a driver you are. Insurers who let you sign up for a black box policy often offer discounts to drivers who prove themselves to be less of a risk.
Consider a Pass Plus course
So you’ve passed your test, which means you’re legally allowed on the road. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t any kinks in your driving ability.
Courses like Pass Plus can iron out any bad habits you’ve picked up, improve your confidence on the road and give you more experience with different driving conditions.
This should all add up to you becoming a safer driver, which reduces your chances of making a claim and helps keep your costs down.