You’re 18, a new driver and excited about getting on the road. So what’s stopping you?
The answer could well be the cost of insurance. As a new driver, you might pay higher premiums for car insurance than older, more experienced motorists.
So why is car insurance for 18-year-olds more expensive? Because statistically younger drivers are seen as more likely to have accidents and make claims, which means their insurance premiums are higher.
That’s why car insurance for 18 year olds costs more than £1,912 a year on average – compared to £595 overall**.
But don’t despair. There are a number of ways you could pay less. Here’s our guide to cheap car insurance for 18-year-olds.
Consider your car
Remember: many things affect a car insurance premium. One such thing is the type of car you drive. Generally the bigger and faster the vehicle, the more you might pay.
In the UK, vehicles are grouped into one of 50 car insurance bands, based on their likelihood of being involved in an accident, and the average of cost of repair. Factors like age, engine size, value and repair costs affect premiums, so it’s worth comparing these to find the cheapest cars to insure for an 18-year-old.
Leave it alone
Driving in style could cost you more, so resist the temptation to do up your new pride and joy with fancy extras. Modifications like alloy wheels and tinted windows raise your premiums. Why? Because modernising your car can make it a target for theft, or more likely to be in accident.
Compare and compare again
Do your research before you buy. Some insurance companies are keener to cover 18-year-old drivers than others, so their rates will be more competitive. So get plenty of quotes before you commit.
Add a plus-one
As an 18-year-old, you’re viewed as a higher risk by car insurance companies. You can reduce this risk – and therefore your premiums – by sharing your car with a lower-risk driver by adding them to your policy. This could be someone with more experience and a good driving record, like a parent, for example.
But be honest: don’t put anyone down as an additional driver, if they’re not actually going to use the car and never put someone down as the main driver of if they’re not, this is illegal and called fronting. Lying on an insurance policy is fraud, which can invalidate your policy, or worse, lead to prosecution.
Drive well, pay less
If you’re a careful driver, then a telematics or ‘black box’ insurance policy could save you money.
Telematics insurance involves fitting a device to your vehicle that monitors how you drive. The ‘box’ (or sometimes it’s an app) collects data for your insurer, who then analyses the results and adjusts your premiums over the course of the policy. Drive safely, and you might pay less. But beware – ignore the rules of the road, and you’ll probably end up paying more. More about telematics here.
Compare cover levels
There are three levels of car insurance. Third party is the basic level, and covers any damage you might cause to somebody else’s vehicle. Third party, fire and theft does just that: it includes damage to others, and if your car is stolen, broken into or damaged by fire. Fully comprehensive provides covers all this plus any damage to your own car.
But while third party is the basic level, it’s not always the cheapest. So be sure to compare car insurance by all three types before you buy.
Learn to be a better driver
Extra driving training could save you money. Some car insurance companies will reduce your premiums if you complete the Pass Plus training course.
Pass Plus is a government-run course designed to help people improve their motoring skills and drive safely. You can take the course at any age, but it’s recommended for newer drivers in particular. It covers driving at night, on dual carriageways and motorways, in town and on country roads, and in different weather conditions. There’s no test, but you must reach a certain standard in each part of the course to pass.
Consider paying monthly
A car insurance quote will show you the annual price for the whole year. But you don’t always have to pay the entire sum upfront. You might want to see if you can pay by monthly direct debit instead. This can cost you more overall (the average monthly premium costs £984, compared to the average annual premium of £892**), as many providers charge interest. But not all do, so look into this when comparing policies.
Think about your excess
The ‘excess’ on an insurance policy is the amount you’ll pay towards any claim. It can range from nothing at all, to upwards of £1000.
Excess is split into two parts, ‘voluntary’ and ‘compulsory’. Compulsory is a non-negotiable fixed amount set by your provider, voluntary is a set amount you can select yourself. Be sure to check both of these.
In general, the higher the voluntary excess, the lower the cost of the policy. So volunteering for a bigger excess could keep costs down. But make sure you can afford the amount you sign up to, just in case you have to claim.
So there you have it - some helpful tips for cheap car insurance for 18-year-olds.
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