Car insurance for new drivers
Insurers regard new drivers with little experience on the roads as a high risk, because statistics show that there is a higher likelihood of having an accident within the first two years of passing your test.
This risk pushes up the premium even on older, less powerful cars. Add to this the fact that many new drivers are also young drivers (under 25), which also contributes to higher premiums, and it's easy to see why so many struggle to find affordable car insurance. So how can you find the best insurance cover at the right price?
Understanding the three main types of car insurance
There are three levels of car insurance. The most basic is 'Third-party only', which is usually the cheapest because it only covers you for claims made by other people after an accident – it doesn't cover you for damage to your vehicle, or if your vehicle is stolen. The next type is 'Third-party, fire and theft', which offers a little more protection by covering your vehicle against fire damage and theft. Finally, at the top end of the insurance scale is comprehensive cover, usually the most expensive, which offers everything included in Third-party, fire and theft, as well as covering damage caused to your own vehicle, even if an accident is your fault.
Choosing your insurance
The insurance you choose will depend largely on your budget – but it's crucial that you understand the small print before you commit to a policy. If you're driving a relatively new car, it could be false economy to take out 'Third-party only' cover; if you have an accident and are at fault you could end up having to find thousands of pounds of your own money to repair or replace your car. You will also find a great deal of variation in the specific level of cover offered by different policies even of the same type – for example one comprehensive policy may offer you a courtesy car if your vehicle is being repaired, while the next may not.
Extra insurance add-ons
Alongside your main car insurance policy there are usually optional extras offered by your provider – ranging from breakdown cover to legal expenses protection. Make sure you understand exactly what these policies cover you for, and whether you really need them, before you agree to anything.
Finding the best deal
There are a number of ways you can help reduce your car insurance premium.
- Boost your vehicle's security: install an immobiliser, alarm, tracking device or steering lock to hamper thieves, making sure they are models approved by your insurer.
- Add a named driver with more experience, as this reassures your insurance provider and helps reduce the premium.
- Agree to a lower mileage limit, if it practical – the less time you spend behind the wheel, the less risk you pose.
- Consider opting for a larger voluntary excess.
- Park your car in a garage overnight if you can – or at least on the driveway.
- Consider taking the Pass Plus training course for new drivers, which improves driving skills and may help you get an insurance discount.
- Shop around for the best deal by comparing quotes from a range of providers.