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Cheap car insurance for new drivers

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How much does car insurance cost for a new driver? 

One of your biggest expenses when running a car will be your motor insurance. As a new driver, you’ll pay more for your cover than an experienced driver. That’s because there’s a bigger risk of new drivers being involved in a collision than motorists who’ve been driving for a number of years.  
 
Based on Compare the Market’s data, the average cost of car insurance for drivers aged between 17 and 24 is £1,182**. This compares with an average car insurance premium of £702*** for motorists across all age groups, according to our Premium Drivers Index.

**Compare the Market Young Drivers index, July 2020.
***Compare the Market, Premium Drivers Index, June 2020. 

Why is car insurance for new drivers so expensive?

While inexperience plays a big role in the cost of car insurance for new drivers, even more important is the fact that most new drivers are  young drivers, between 18 and 24 years old.  Statistics have shown that drivers under the age of 25, who’ve recently passed their test, are more likely to be involved in an accident. According to the most recent Department for Transport data, the casualty rate for young car drivers in 2016 was over three times higher in England than the overall rate for all car motorists, in terms of distance travelled. 
 
Another thing that could bump up your premiums is the fact that you’ve had no opportunity to build up a no claims bonus that could help you reduce the cost of your car insurance further down the line. The good news is there are ways to reduce the cost of your insurance, even as a first-time applicant. 

What types of car insurance are available for new drivers?

There are three main types of cover to consider when applying for new driver car insurance: 

  • Third party. This is the minimum level of insurance you require to legally drive on public roads. It covers the cost of compensating others for any damage or injury you cause to them or their vehicle. However, you won’t be covered for the cost of any damage to your own car.
  • Third party, fire and theft. This covers the cost of damage or injury to third parties, but you could also be covered if your car is stolen or damaged by fire. 
  • Fully comprehensive. This is the highest level of insurance available and it can give you the most protection. Cover includes third party, fire and theft, plus any other damage to you or your own vehicle. Even though it’s the most comprehensive cover, it often works out cheaper than third party only insurance. That’s because it’s more widely offered and tends to be taken out by the safest drivers. 

Can black box insurance save new drivers money?

If you drive safely, a black box policy, also known as telematics insurance, can be a great way for new and young drivers to lower their premiums.  
 
Your insurance provider will monitor your driving habits, either through a small black box installed under your dashboard, a plug-in device or an app on your smartphone. The telematics will track things like your speed, acceleration, braking and location. Your insurance provider can then use this information to adjust your premiums based on how you drive. The more responsible you are behind the wheel, the lower your premiums are likely to be in the future.  
 
You’ll also be able to see your black box data on your insurance provider’s website or app. This allows you to see whether there are areas you could improve, so you can adjust your driving habits and potentially get an even lower premium. 

Will adding another driver to my policy reduce the cost?

If you’re a new driver and share your vehicle with a more experienced motorist, adding this person as a  named driver might save you money. Because you’ll theoretically be spending less time driving the car, your insurance provider may adjust your premiums to reflect this.  
 
Even an experienced driver with a good record, who only drives your car occasionally, could make a difference. But you need to be honest about who’s driving your car. If you’ve named a driver who isn’t using your car, you could be found guilty of 'fronting', which is a type of insurance fraud. At the very least, you could invalidate your policy.

How to get cheaper car insurance as a new driver

Even as a new driver, there are ways to potentially reduce the cost of your car insurance. Here’s how:  

  • Compare car insurance quotes. You’ll have a better chance of finding a great deal that suits your needs if you compare new driver car insurance quotes from a number of different insurance providers. Comparing quotes with Compare the Market  is quick and easy.   
  • Choose your car with care. While you might dream of owning a high-powered motor, your insurance premium will probably be more affordable if you opt for a standard car with a smaller engine. For more information, see our guide to the cheapest cars to insure
  • Consider a black box policy.  Telematics insurance uses clever technology to show your insurance provider how you drive. A small device is fitted to your car, or sometimes you download an app to your phone, which measures when, where and how you drive. Your provider then uses this information to accurately calculate or adjust your premium. Drive safely and the reward could be cheaper car insurance. 
  • Steer clear of modifications. Try to avoid adding unnecessary modifications to your car, such as alloy wheels or a spoiler. Even the smallest mods could bump up your premium. Some insurance providers may even refuse to insure you. 
  • Increase your car’s security. If you reduce the risk of your car being stolen, by fitting an immobiliser or alarm for example, your insurance provider may offer you cheaper cover. Just bear in mind that you may have to speak directly with your insurance provider to get this saving. 

Frequently asked questions

Is a higher voluntary excess better?

If you want to reduce your car insurance premium, a higher voluntary excess could help. However, if you make a claim,  you’ll have to pay more towards it

What’s the difference between compulsory and voluntary excess?

In insurance speak, the compulsory  excess on a policy is the amount of money you’ll need to pay when you come to make a claim. This figure is set by the insurance provider. 
 
Then there’s the  voluntary  excess in addition to this, which you can set yourself. Increasing your excess to an amount you’re sure you can afford could help to reduce your premium. If you do need to make a claim, you’ll have to pay the compulsory and the voluntary excesses together, so make sure you can afford the total. 

Is it better to pay monthly or annually?

An annual lump sum payment will usually work out cheaper than monthly instalments. That’s because interest is added to your monthly payments. However, paying monthly can be helpful if you’d rather spread the cost. New drivers in particular may find this the easiest way to manage their finances, as their total premium may be considerable. 

Find out more about monthly vs annual car insurance

Do driving courses lower the cost of insurance for new drivers?

Advanced driving courses that you can take after passing your test, for example Pass Plus or IAM RoadSmart, are designed to improve your skills and safety behind the wheel. While some new drivers may be able to get a discount on their insurance with extra training under their belt, it’s not guaranteed. And even if your insurance provider does offer a reduced premium, the saving you make might be less than the cost of the course itself. It’s best to check to see if the saving outweighs what you’ll spend on the course. 

How much does young drivers car insurance cost?

To get an idea of how much your car insurance could cost you, see our Young Drivers tool. You just need to input a few basic details including your postcode and your age. 

Why compare first-time driver insurance with Compare the Market?

We  independently compare  a wide range of the UK’s insurance providers, to provide new and  young drivers with competitive car insurance deals. 
 
We’ll show you policies based on price, cover level, add-ons and annual or monthly payment terms, helping you compare policies based on your needs. 

We compare prices for 123 car insurance products**** 

Get a quote in 5 minutes***** 

50% of learner drivers could achieve an annual premium of £618******

****Correct as of May 2020. 
*****On average it can take less than 5 minutes to complete a car insurance quote through Compare the Market, based on data in May 2020. 
******50% of learner drivers between 17-24 years old could achieve a quote of  up to £618.00 for their car insurance, based on Compare the Market data in May 2020. 

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What do I need to get a quote?

Just fill in our online form and we’ll show you a list of quotes to choose from. We’ll need a few details about you and your car, including: 

  • Your car registration 
  • What you use your car for 
  • Where you keep your car 
  • Your annual mileage 
  • Where you live 
  • Your driving history 
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Daniel Hutson

From the Motor team

What our expert says...

“The make and model of car you drive also has an impact on how much insurance you pay. Each car is assigned an insurance group from 1 to 50, with the cheapest cars to insure falling into the lowest groups. So, if you’re a new driver, it’s worth bearing this in mind when choosing your first car, to help keep your running costs down.”  

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