Young motorists are the most dangerous—and most endangered—users of Britain’s roads, with thousands involved in collisions each year. According to driving safety charity Brake, young drivers between the ages of 17 and 23 are involved as drivers in 9% of all fatal and serious crashes on the UK’s roads, although they make up just 1.5% of all license holders. In fact, one in four (23%) of drivers between the ages of 18 and 23 will be involved in an accident within two years of passing their driving test. The poor driving records of young people is due to a combination of factors: youthful inexperience and overconfidence, greater likelihood of participating in risky driving behaviours like carrying lots of passengers, driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol, being distracted by mobile phones, and driving at night.
Insurers have responded to these sobering statistics by sharply hiking premiums for young drivers. Additionally, young drivers will have had less time to rack up no-claims bonuses, which can trim 60-65% from your premiums with five or more years of good behaviour. Young drivers pay, on average, nearly £1,200 a year for fully comprehensive cover, while the average car insurance premium across all age brackets is £485. Young motorists are being squeezed and at a time when they have little disposable income.
But being a safe driver—and a savvy shopper—can bring car insurance premiums for young drivers down to Earth. The following tips will show you how to save money until you can graduate to your late 20s and relief on your premiums.
Choose your car carefully
Car insurance premiums don’t simply reflect the driver. They also take into account the vehicle and it’s just a fact that some cars are safer, cheaper to repair and replace, and less likely to be stolen than others. While young people might be drawn to flashy, high performance cars, they’ll face high premiums from them (and probably, disapproval from their parents). Motorists under 25 need to notch all the insurance savings they can get and sturdy, inconspicuous and a budget-friendly mini, economy, or compact car could do the trick. Young drivers should also avoid modifications like shiny alloy wheels, souped up engines, and spoilers which may make their vehicles more attractive to thieves.
Use black box insurance
If you’re a competent, reliable young driver who feels you’ve been wrongly tarred for your age, you can prove to your insurer you’re a safe bet with a black box, or telematics, insurance policy. With these policies, a small device installed in your car or an app on your phone records how and when you drive. Drive safely and mostly during the day and you’ll win savings on your premiums.
Take a driving course
You’re a freshly minted and licensed driver, but you still have a lot to learn, whippersnapper. Much motoring competence will come through simple experience, but you can accelerate the learning process by taking a, uh, crash course in driving skills. A 6-hour Pass Plus test can improve your confidence on the road and when you successfully complete it, some insurers will cut your premiums.
Add a named driver
If you add an older person such as a parent as a named driver on your insurance, you’re signalling to the insurer that you’ll be spending less time behind the wheel in favour of a more experienced driver and will see savings on your premium. But don’t attempt to put the older driver as the main policyholder when you do the majority of the driving. That’s a type of fraud called fronting and you can be prosecuted for it.
Pay your annual premiums upfront
When you pay your premiums in monthly instalments you’re also being charged interest for them. If you can afford it, making one lump sum payment for the year is more cost-effective.
Increase your voluntary excess
Your insurance policy will come with a compulsory excess—the amount the insurer requires you to pay toward any claim—but you can reduce your premium but ratcheting up your voluntary excess. Be wary you don’t push it too high, however, as you might be forced to cover the entire cost of some repairs.
Compare car insurance policies
Using a car insurance comparison engine and comparing quotes from dozens of insurers with one search can help you find the cheapest policy for your age, vehicle, and insurance needs. If you’re considering purchasing a vehicle, plug candidate cars into a comparison site to see which model will get you the cheapest premiums. And experiment with different levels of cover. You might think more basic third party and third party, theft, and fire policies would have the cheapest premiums, but often fully-comprehensive policies can be cheaper, and provide more coverage.