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How to cut the cost of young driver insurance

Feb 16, 2021

For many people passing their driving test and the freedom this brings is something they’ve dreamed of for years. Unfortunately, despite making up a relatively small percentage of drivers, young drivers (those between the ages of 17 and 24) are statistically more likely to be involved in a road accident than any other group.

Research from the road safety charity Brake shows that 20% of young drivers crash within a year of passing their test while over 4,000 are killed or seriously injured on the UK’s roads every year. Truly sobering figures. As well as the shocking impact this has on the lives of young drivers and their families, this heightened chance of being in an accident also has a financial consequence.

Often young drivers who’ve just bought their first car are unpleasantly surprised at the cost of young driver insurance. Costs can soon mount up making the first few years of motoring even more expensive.

So, if you’re looking for ways to cut the cost of young driver insurance then look no further. Read our guide and make sure you’re not paying over the odds for your cover.

Young drivers (those between the ages of 17 and 24) are statistically more likely to be involved in a road accident than any other group.

A young driver smiling as she driver her car
1.        Choose your car wisely and check before making modifications

Picking the right car in the first place is a quick way to save money. But it’s often something missed by young drivers in a hurry to get something flashy for their first ride. As a young driver, it’s likely you’ll be paying more for insurance than older more experienced drivers so the car you choose could have a big impact on what you pay.

A way to help off-set this is to pay attention to the Association of British Insurer’s (ABI) group rating system. The ABI system places cars into different insurance groups according to the level of risk they represent. The lowest risk cars fall into group 1 while the highest risk cars fall into group 50.

Choosing a make and model of car from groups 1-5 can make a big difference to insurance prices – especially for inexperienced drivers. Unfortunately, flashier or more powerful cars will usually cost more to insure as they’re more likely to be involved in an accident or be stolen.

However, it doesn’t stop with your choice of car. Many young drivers like to modify their vehicles to boost the car’s appearance or performance. Adding spoilers, altering the exhaust system or replacing the lights are all great fun to do but unfortunately also affect insurance premiums.

Before investing in any modifications, call your insurer to check how it will affect your premium. After all your hard work and investment, you don’t want a nasty surprise when it comes to renewal.

Always do plenty of research into the various models on offer. As well as the ABI group rating you’ll also need to look at things like Euro NCAP safety ratings and the levels of driver assistance offered.

2.        Consider a telematics policy – and don’t ignore the tech

A telematics policy is where you install a Smartplug or black box in your car to analyse your driving habits. The Smartplug from Smartdriverclub monitors things such as your speed, rate of acceleration and how often you drive at night. It’s an easy way for you to prove what a safe and responsible driver you are, whatever your age.

Improving your driving score over the course of a year might help you cut the cost of your insurance when it comes to renewal. It’s also a useful way to stay mindful of your driving behaviour after passing your test.

But it’s not just the Smartplug or other telematics devices that are useful additions. Young drivers could also potentially save if they install extra security features such as dashcams, GPS trackers, mechanical immobilisers and even steering locks. Even if your insurance premiums are not reduced, making your vehicle less attractive to thieves is a wise investment to make.

Improving your driving score over the course of a year might help you cut the cost of your insurance when it comes to renewal.

A young driver driving along a motorway as the sun sets in the distance
3.        Make yourself more attractive to insurers

A common way for young drivers to get cheaper insurance is to be added as a named driver on their parents’ insurance policy. However, once you’ve bought your own car, you’ll have to get your own policy to drive it. A big advantage of doing this is that you can then begin to build up your no claims bonus (NCB) which may lead to future discounts on your annual premium.

As well building up your NCB with your own insurance policy there are many other ways to make yourself more attractive to insurers and hopefully pay less.

A quick win many drivers are unaware of is the effect of tweaking your job description on your application. For example, cooks might pay less than chefs and editors might pay less than journalists. Providing the new description accurately reflects what you do, you can make legitimate savings but don’t stretch things too far. You can’t say you’re an admin assistant if you’re really a professional footballer!

Registering to vote can have a positive effect on your credit score as it’s a sign of economic and social stability. Improving your credit score in this way might result in lower premiums.

Another indicator of stability that’s attractive to insurance firms is being married. Research has suggested that single people are more likely to have an accident, so married couples sometimes receive better deals.

4.        Adding a responsible additional driver can cut costs

Adding a responsible driver with a good driving record can also help reduce the cost of insuring your first car. As a young driver you’ll automatically be placed in a higher-risk category when it comes to insurance. However, adding your parent or another family member could spread the risk and bring down the cost of your premiums.

It’s important to remember that the additional driver must use the car too or else you might invalidate your policy due to so-called ‘fronting’.

Even if the other drivers in your immediate family or household are not on your policy, they could still help if they have their own cars. Putting you as an additional driver on their car’s policy could help reduce your premium as it means you might use yours less.

Savings for so-called multi-car insurance can be substantial so it’s always worth comparing insurance quotes.

It’s important to remember that the additional driver must use the car too or else you might invalidate your policy due to so-called ‘fronting’.

5.        Never assume less cover will be cheaper

We all know that there are three different levels of standard car insurance: third party only; third party, fire and theft; and fully comprehensive.

However, many people think that third party only is going to be the cheaper option because it’s the minimum legal insurance requirement needed to drive. Logical, yes, but not necessarily correct.

Insurers have a huge amount of experience assessing risk, it is their business after all! And over the years they’ve realised that someone who chooses third party only, may be prepared to take bigger risks than someone who takes out fully comprehensive cover. The lesson is, always do your research and make no assumptions when considering your options.

6.        Get the right excess in place

Deciding on the right excess for you is well worth considering. Policies with a higher excess – the amount of any claim you would need to pay yourself – can result in lower premiums. This approach isn’t without its risks as if you do make a claim, you’ll end up paying more. For example, if you agree to a £1,000 excess you’ll have to pay the first £1,000 of any claim. If you think you could afford to pay further down the line then a higher excess is worth considering.

7.        Tweak your usage and save

Often, seemingly subtle changes can make a big difference in premiums. For example, if you regularly park your car on a road overnight you could be paying more than if you keep it stored in a secure garage. That said, sometimes it can be even cheaper to park on your driveway! It may sound strange but it’s always worth tweaking your usage to see what makes a difference.

Another interesting tweak to your motoring lifestyle could be mileage. Logically the more miles you cover, the bigger the risk you’ll have an accident and make a claim. Therefore, if you work at keeping your mileage low you could look forward to cheaper premiums in future.

However, as with any of these tips, it’s important that you’re honest with your insurance company. If you make a claim and are subsequently found to have been lying about your mileage, your insurance could be invalidated.

Logically the more miles you cover, the bigger the risk you’ll have an accident and make a claim.

A woman driving a car with the sun shining behind her
8.        Watch yourself on renewal

Always jot down the date of your renewal in your diary and give yourself plenty of time to look for a great deal on young driver insurance. Leaving it until the last minute is unlikely to result in the best deal.

Also, consider if you really need the extras being offered. Things like breakdown cover and legal cover. Not including these could save you pounds in the short term but then again, it might turn out to be a false economy if you require them further down the line.

And when it comes to choosing how to pay for cover, consider whether you can afford to pay for 12 months of insurance all in one go. While paying in monthly instalments means the cost is spread throughout the year, it can also mean that you end up paying more in total. Some insurers charge high interest for monthly plans, so try to avoid these if you can.

5 of the best and cheapest cars to insure

Partly due to the costs of buying and insuring a first car many young drivers are attracted to cars at the lower end of the insurance risk scale. But while these vehicles may leave you with a bit more spare cash in your pocket, they don’t have to leave you feeling short-changed when it comes to performance. To give you a head start when choosing your first car here are five of the best with low insurance ratings.

Skoda Citigo

Very similar to the popular Volkswagen Up! or the SEAT Mii, the Skoda Citigo has a decent amount of inside space and is cheap to run. It doesn’t have the most powerful of engines but still provides a pleasurable driving experience.

Volkswagen Fox

Yes, the Polo and the Up! have got plenty of fans but how about the VW Fox? Cheap and roomy, the Fox is a nice ride and provides good handling.

Ford Ka+

For young drivers it isn’t all about the best-selling Fiesta when it comes to Ford cars. The Ka+ is a proper five-seater that’s a decent little drive with a nimble ride quality – not something that can be said for all hatchbacks this size. It’s also got a decent amount of space inside.

Renault Clio

Yes, it’s been on the market for a while but the Renault Clio still has plenty to recommend it to the young driver. Its looks have aged well and it’s cheaper to insure than other similarly sized hatchbacks.

While these vehicles may leave you with a bit more spare cash in your pocket, they don’t have to leave you feeling short-changed when it comes to performance.

A white Renault Clio parked at the side of a country road with brown leaves lining the sides of the road
Citroen C1

A great little fun hatchback perfect for the younger end of the market. With a range of funky colours to choose from, a nippy little engine and great visibility the Citroen C1 is a great first car – even if a little snug inside.

However, this is only a quick guide with some suggestions to get you started. If you’ve got your heart set on a car from a higher insurance group there are ways to cut the costs of your insurance premium in order to make motoring that bit cheaper. That’s where telematics comes in.

Young driver insurance perfect for those starting out

At Smartdriverclub Insurance, our aim is to help you cut the cost of young driver insurance. Our Smartplug is simple to instal and helps you monitor your driving. After all, a safe and responsible young driver could look forward to insurance savings in the future.

Insurance cover from Smartdriverclub offers a whole range benefits such as:

  • 24-hour theft tracking
  • 24-hour claims and accident detection and assistance
  • Motor legal protection
  • Breakdown assistance

Get in touch for a free quote today.