Automatic car insurance

Automatic cars change gear automatically and don’t have a clutch, making them a lot easier to drive than manual cars.
 
They’re a good option for people with health issues, disabilities or those who just want a car that’s simple to operate. But what insurance do you need for driving an automatic car?

Automatic cars change gear automatically and don’t have a clutch, making them a lot easier to drive than manual cars.
 
They’re a good option for people with health issues, disabilities or those who just want a car that’s simple to operate. But what insurance do you need for driving an automatic car?

Alex Hasty
Insurance and finance expert
5
minute read
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Last Updated 17 OCTOBER 2022

Are automatic cars cheaper to insure?

At the moment, automatic cars can be more expensive to insure than manual cars. But as manual transmission cars are phased out in favour of electric models that don’t need a clutch, the mainstream shift to automatic car ownership is likely to bring down the cost of insurance over the next few years.

More learner drivers are already choosing to take driving lessons and their practical driving test in cars with an automatic gearbox. In 2021, 13.8% of learners took their driving exam in an automatic vehicle, up from just 3.8% in 2008, according to data from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA). And that trend is set to continue as the need to learn how to change gears becomes obsolete.

Why are automatic cars more expensive to insure?

Automatic cars tend to be more expensive to buy than manuals, which generally means car insurance premiums are higher too. This is to cover the cost of any damage or a replacement vehicle. For example, an automatic gearbox is more complex than a manual one and so typically costs more to replace.

What level of automatic car insurance do I need?

As with all motor insurance, there are three levels of automatic car cover to choose from:

Third-party cover is the minimum level of cover you need to legally drive on UK roads. It covers you for injury or damage you cause to other people and their property, but won’t pay out for repairs to your own vehicle.

Third-party, fire and theft provides financial cover if your car is stolen or damaged by fire, as well as damage or injury you cause to other people. But it won’t cover the cost of damage to your own vehicle in an accident.

Fully comprehensive car insurance gives you the most complete level of cover and can often be the cheapest type of policy. Comprehensive cover includes all the cover of a third-party, fire and theft policy, but will also cover your own car and you as a driver in the event of an accident, regardless of who’s at fault.

Does licence type affect the cost of automatic car insurance?

Yes. If you have a licence that only allows you to drive an automatic, you’re likely to pay a significantly higher premium for your car insurance policy than someone with a full licence. That’s because, statistically, drivers with automatic licences make more claims than those with full licences.

Popular automatic cars and their insurance groups

Automatic cars have become more mainstream in recent years, with even city run-arounds now available in auto form.

The table below shows some examples of automatic cars and their insurance groups. You’ll find relatively cheap automatic cars to insure in the lowest insurance groups.

Automatic car make and model Insurance group (1-50)
Audi A3 S Line 1.0L 15
Volkswagen Golf Active eTSI 1.5L 17
BMW 3 Series M Sport 2.0L  29
Range Rover Evoque P300 2.0L 36
Mercedes C300 AMG Line 2.0L 37

Should I learn to drive in an automatic car?

It’s widely considered to be easier to learn in an automatic car. That’s why many new drivers choose cars with automatic gearboxes when they’re starting out.

But there are downsides to only learning in an automatic car. If you pass your driving test in an automatic car, you’re not allowed to drive manual cars until you’ve passed your test in a manual car. If you pass your test in a manual car, you’re legally entitled to drive both types.

Car insurance may also be higher for learner and provisional drivers who choose to learn in an automatic car.

How can I reduce the cost of automatic car insurance?

If you choose to drive an automatic car, there are ways to reduce the overall cost of your car insurance policy.

For example, you could:

Raise your car insurance excess – if you increase the amount you choose to pay towards a claim (your voluntary excess), your premium will usually come down. Just make sure you can afford to pay both the voluntary and compulsory excess if you make a claim.

Add a named driver – if you’re a new driver, adding a more experienced driver to your policy could help lower your premium. But never name them as the main driver if they’re not. This is car insurance fronting and is illegal.

Improve security – look into whether there are any additional security features you could add, to your car, like an immobiliser.

Consider a telematics policy – having a black box fitted to your car or using an app to track your driving can bring down your premium.

Build up your no claims discount – the longer you drive without making a car insurance claim, the lower your premium could be.

Reduce your annual mileage - there’ll be less chance of you having an accident so you could get cheaper car insurance.

How do I find cheap insurance for automatic cars?

Compare quotes with us today to find cheaper car insurance for your automatic vehicle. Just give us some details about you, your car (including the registration number) and how you use it, and we’ll show you deals from a range of car insurance providers.

And if you sign up for Automated Quotes, we’ll automatically check for car insurance deals before your next policy renewal date.

Frequently asked questions

Can anyone drive an automatic car?

As long as you hold an automatic licence or full UK driving licence, you can legally drive or hire an automatic car.

Are automatic cars easy to drive?

Yes, automatic cars don’t come with a clutch pedal. That makes them easier to drive than manual transmission cars, which need a gear change when you speed up or slow down. With an automatic, you simply put your car in ‘D’ for drive mode and away you go.

What is the cheapest automatic car to insure?

The cheapest automatic cars to insure are in the lowest insurance groups. But it’s worth remembering that insurance providers will also take a range of factors into account when working out your premiums, including your age, postcode, your driving history and claims history.

What add-ons do I need when buying automatic car insurance?

When you take out automatic car insurance, various optional extras are available to boost your car insurance cover. For an extra cost, these could include:

  • Breakdown cover – get roadside assistance if your car breaks down.
  • Windscreen cover – claim for the cost of replacing a cracked or shattered windscreen.
  • Legal expenses cover (or motor legal protection)  – get help with your legal bills if you need to make a claim for uninsured losses.
  • Courtesy car cover – offers a replacement car if yours is in the garage for repairs.

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