Ultimate Guide to Insurance for Young Drivers
If you are between ages 17-25 and looking to obtain car insurance, read our Young Driver's Insurance guide. Get your quote here
Young Driver Guide Contents
- 1. Introduction
- 2. What Is Young Drivers Car Insurance?
- 3. Why Do I Need Young Drivers Insurance?
- 4. Why Is Car Insurance For Young Drivers So Expensive?
- 5. Are Young Drivers Really More At Risk?
- 6. Types Of Car Insurance Available
- 7. The Black Box
- 8. Tips For Keeping The Cost Down
- 9. Why Choose Think Insurance?
With 491,930 people aged 17-25, passing their driving practical test in the UK each year (262,853 of those being 18 and under), the number of young drivers looking for insurance is huge. However with 23% of 18-24 year old drivers crashing within two years of passing their test, this entire age group are paying the price in terms of insurance costs.
If you are a young driver and you are trying to get car insurance that does not cost the earth then this guide will advise you on how to lower the costs and offer young driver insurance tips to get the best insurance for young drivers.
2. What is Young Driver Insurance?
The term ‘Young Drivers’ tends to be used to describe those aged 17 to 25 with a full or provisional UK licence. 1 in 8 drivers in the UK fall within this age bracket. People aged 25 could have been driving for up to 9 years and may still be suffering, having to pay inflated insurance because of their age. However as you build up a no claims bonus, these prices will decrease.
Even though young male and female drivers are required to pass the same test to the same level as older drivers, they are still paying extra. Due to age and lack of experience young drivers are deemed to have a higher risk of accidents and therefore are more expensive to insure.
The AA British Insurance Premium Index (July, 2016) showed that the average premium for a young driver aged 17 to 22 is up to £1240.50. However there are ways to avoid paying sky high prices and we want to help you get the best car insurance deals for young drivers.
For those wishing to drive a vehicle before passing their test, provisional driver's insurance is also available. Getting experience of driving before taking your test is invaluable. You are allowed to drive if you are over the age of 17, hold a provisional licence and are accompanied by a 21 year old who has had a driving licence for at least 3 years. Provisional insurance can also be very expensive because the young driver has not yet passed their test.
3. Why do I Need Young Driver Insurance?
Having insurance is a legal requirement. If you drive on any UK road without valid insurance you are liable for any accident you cause and you are breaking the law. The penalties for uninsured drivers are typically a £300 fine and 6 points on your licence which could result in disqualification. If the case gets taken to court you could receive an unlimited fine and be disqualified from driving instantly. The police are also able to seize and destroy your vehicle.
Such penalties still stand even if the vehicle is insured but you are not correctly insured to drive it. You must also look out for conditions that make your insurance invalid such as an out of date or failed MOT and not telling your insurers when you changed details such as address. In these cases insurers will be able to reject your claim meaning you are left to pay the expenses.
Statistically, young drivers are more likely to have an accident and make a claim. If you were to have an accident you would need insurance to cover the costs of any damage to your car and any other vehicles involved. The insurers will make a pay-out for the costs of any damage above your excess and if you do not have the correct insurance then the bill will be left to you. If, as the statistics suggest, you are at an increased risk of accidents, then 23% of you will need to depend on your insurance.
Unfortunately paying the higher price for young drivers insurance is not something you can easily avoid. Your insurer will ask for your age, how long you have been driving for and how many years no claims bonus you have, and this is all they need to classify you as a ‘young driver.’
Insurance for young drivers is expensive but being without it is almost always going to end up being more costly.
4. Why Is Insurance For Young Drivers So Expensive?
In 2016 the average annual cost of insurance for all drivers was £470. This was 11.8% more than in 2015 suggesting insurance costs are on the rise.
However with the average insurance premium for a new driver sitting at £1240.50 and with some policies costing up to £3000, there is an obvious difference in the price of insurance for young drivers.
One reason car insurance is so expensive for young drivers is because they have not had chance to build up a no claims bonus. Every year you go without making an insurance claim you get one year’s no claims and these make your insurance cheaper as they act as proof of good driving.
The other main reason car insurance is so expensive for young drivers is because the premiums are based on the statistics.
There are lots of scary statistics out there on young drivers and accidents within the UK.
- 20% of serious crashes involved under 25’s
- 5, 15 to 24 year olds are killed on the roads every week
- 1 in 5 young drivers will have a crash in their first 6 months on the road
- 16-19 year olds are a third more likely to die in a car crash than 40-49 year olds
Unfortunately this results in higher premiums for the higher risk, young driver age group.
However we understand that not all young drivers will drive dangerously and have accidents. It may not seem fair that the 77% of you who will not experience a crash within the first two years of driving are having to pay inflated prices because 23% do have an accident, but there is no way for insurers to know exactly who will or won’t have a crash until it happens!
5. Are Young Drivers Really More at Risk?
There are many theories as to why young drivers are so prone to having accidents. Unfortunately all young drivers have to be treated the same by Young Driver Car Insurance Brokers, until their individual driving record shows otherwise.
Some people do believe it is a mix of inexperience and over-confidence. Hazard perception does require experience and practice and knowing when to not take a risk. Research has suggested that young drivers show poorer hazard recognition and avoidance compared with older drivers. This suggests young drivers have an inbuilt disadvantage. This pattern emerges even though young drivers are required to pass the same hazard perception test. Whether this is because of poorer attention or a lesser ability to judge the appropriate speed for a circumstance is yet to be identified.
Brake research has shown that young drivers take more serious risks and on a more frequent basis. These include behaviours such as speeding, blind overtaking, drink and drug driving and not wearing seatbelts. The statistics of such behaviours are scary and insurance brokers will be looking at these when it comes to pricing their policies:
- Young drivers are twice as likely to be under the influence of alcohol when they crash than older drivers who crash
- As many as 9% of 17-24 year olds admit to driving whilst on drugs
- Young drivers are more likely to use their phones at the wheel with 19% admitting to texting at the wheel at least once a month
- 96% of crashes are because of attitudes towards risk
There are other factors that increase the risks for young drivers that put less blame on the drivers themselves.
For example when it comes to getting a cheap first car they have a tendency to drive older vehicles because they are cheaper but usually less safe. Older vehicles have less crash protection so when they do crash, the accidents are more likely to be fatal than with new cars.
Only 12% of young drivers take the recommended amount of driving lessons before taking their test. This perhaps suggests they are inexperienced and are less prepared to deal with hazards when they do arise. There are also some people who are lucky enough to be able to get Car Insurance For Young Learner Drivers on a vehicle they already own so they get extra practice whereas others will have as little as 15 hours of lessons before taking their test.
According to the statistics young drivers are more at risk. However the risk needs to be judged on an individual basis as not all young drivers will engage in risk taking behaviours, have poor hazard perception and a small amount of experience. Young drivers are less at risk if they drive in a safe manner, do not speed or accelerate quickly, take corners slowly and break in good time. If you think you are at a low risk of bad driving habits then black box insurance may be perfect for you.
6. Types of Insurance Available
There are 3 main levels of insurance cover when it comes to car insurance - each with varying features and qualities.
- Covers other people or damage to other people’s property if involved in an accident
- If your car is damaged or stolen you have to pay for this yourself
- This does tend to be the cheapest type of insurance because it covers the least
Third Party, Fire and Theft
- Covers other people and their property when involved in an accident
- Also covers repairs or replacement if your car is stolen or set on fire
- Does not cover any other damage to your own car other than fire and theft
- The most inclusive and all-encompassing level of cover
- Covers all of the above
- Also covers any damage to your own car
- Recommended by Think for all young drivers
You are legally obliged to have at least Third Party coverage on your vehicle.
Cost and protection of each of these types of cover will vary depending on a number of factors such as address, mileage, what the car is used for, where it is parked, the value of the vehicle etc.
It is also an option to be put on a family member’s car policy as an ‘additional driver’ which may reduce the cost. However this is something you need to be very careful with. To be considered an ‘additional named driver’ you must not be the most common driver of the car. If you were put on your parent's insurance policy as an additional driver when the car was actually for your use, this is called ‘fronting’ and this is a punishable offence and your insurance will be invalid in the case of an accident. think you are at a low risk of bad driving habits then black box insurance may be perfect for you.
7. The Black Box
There are many myths about driving with a black box and we are sure you have heard some negative black box insurance reviews. However not everyone will know what is black box insurance and the advantages that come with taking out this kind of policy.
Having a black box installed allows your insurer to see how you are driving, and if you drive safely, you are more likely to get rewarded for good driving. Telematics is a quicker way to prove that you are a good, safe driver instead of waiting years to build up your no claims bonus.
The box does not restrict your driving or interfere with your car in any manner, it just monitors how safely you drive. This box gets fitted to your car within a certain time frame of starting the policy. It usually goes behind the dashboard and black box installation will be done by a professional. The box cannot usually be seen and will not ruin the appearance of your car so this is not something you need to worry about.
The black box only monitors qualities such as location, direction, speed, cornering and braking. Some policies will monitor other elements of your driving such as location, time and mileage.
It is important to always make sure you know your black box insurance rules. Policies will vary between insurers so if you think you will be doing high mileage or, for example, shift work so you could be driving more than normal at night then make sure you find a policy that does not take these factors into account. Some insurers will insist on a curfew and mileage cap. However Think Insurance have no curfew so you can drive whenever you need or want to. You only pay for the miles you need with Think. We work with you to understand and calculate the number of miles you think you will drive over the course of your policy and your premium is based on this. We offer lower thresholds for drivers not planning to drive as much, and we don’t default to a higher level as some other companies might. If, at any point during the life of your policy, you think you are going to go over your agreed amount, you simply contact us to let us know and we’ll let you know if there’s any additional premium linked to it.
Take a look at our easier to digest vdeo below.
There are many myths about black box policies which is why many people disregard them, however it is important to know your facts and the benefits of this type of insurance before you dismiss the idea completely. All policies are different so do your research first to make yourself aware of any conditions or restrictions.
The box then provides you with online feedback about your performance. By regularly reviewing your report online or on an app, you can avoid persistent poor driving and improve the elements you score lowest on. If your driving is poor or dangerous, your insurer will notify you of this and if ignored this could lead to fines or, in extreme cases, policy cancellation. This enables you to improve as a driver, as working on these areas will reduce your costs. We often pick up bad habits as drivers, even after many years of driving, that can be potentially unsafe, so having a black box could pick up on these and help you become a safer driver.
The black box insurance may even provide a little peace of mind for the parents of young drivers. Parents will naturally be concerned considering the unnerving statistics on young driver accidents but being able to see reports on their child’s driving ability will help to put their mind at rest - particularly if they are the ones paying for the insurance, and therefore responsible for paying any fines or additional charges that might be incurred through bad driving!
Another great benefit of having a black box is that if you are unfortunate enough to have an accident that was not caused by yourself, you could use it to prove you are innocent. As the box records data such as speed and direction and some even have cameras. If you give your permission to do so this information could be used to indicate who was at fault for the accident and ensure you get any damage paid for.
Black boxes have GPS in them and their location is tracked. If your car were to be stolen then your insurance company can pass this information onto the police to recover your vehicle. This saves an expensive stolen car claims bill and a loss of your no claims bonus.
The main benefit of the black box of course is that it can cut the cost of your insurance. Young drivers that choose to take out a black box policy and therefore are committing to driving carefully and safely throughout the duration of their cover, are rewarded in advance through cheaper insurance premiums. By agreeing to prove to your insurer that you can drive responsibly and by following the basic rules of the road and Highway Code then your premium could be reduced massively by up to £1392 compared to a non-black box insurance policy!
If you are a new driver but drive in a safe, conscientious way with no intentions of risky, unsafe behaviour, then telematics insurance could be for you. There are many benefits of this sort of policy but if you do drive safely then you will pay less for it. We think it is only fair to judge people on the way that they drive as not all young drivers are reckless and at increased chance of an accident.
For an easier digestible information bite, why not watch our video below on what black box insurance is.
8. Tips for Keeping the Cost of Insurance Down
Although finding cheap insurance for young drivers is a seemingly impossible task there are several things that you can do to help reduce the costs.
If you are looking to buy your first vehicle make sure you pick one of the cheapest cars to insure for young drivers. This unfortunately means steering clear of expensive cars, fast cars and large cars.
The car will affect your premium because insurers will consider the repair costs and the time it will take to repair. More expensive cars tend to be more expensive to repair. This is partly because of the cost of the parts. There are 23 common car parts that often need replacing and the lower the cost of these parts, the lower the car insurance.
Most young driver insurance policies won’t cover you to drive sports or performance cars, based on a lack of experience at driving these vehicles. As such it is always worth finding out whether insurance will be possible on a certain vehicle before you go ahead and buy it!
Avoid modifications on your car. Things like alloy wheels and body kits can be very expensive to insure and your premiums will rise drastically because of them. If you are set on modifying a car try and use cheaper parts to do so because these will be cheaper to replace. Most black box insurance policies won’t cover vehicles with modifications so, again, it is worth checking before you purchase a vehicle that is already modified, or adding any modifications yourself.
Some examples of the known cheapest cars to insure for young drivers include Toyota Yaris, Kia Rio, Renault Twingo, Vauxhall Corsa Hatchback and a Volkswagen Up!
Increasing your excess
On a non-black box insurance policy, if you want to reduce your monthly or annual insurance payments then you may want to consider increasing your excess. As your excess increases, the insurance price decreases. Your excess is the amount you would have to pay upfront if you were to have an accident, your insurers then pay the rest of the value of the claim. This could mean you have to find a bit more cash if anything did go wrong but if you were accident free then insurance payments will be less. Most excess rates will be around £100-200 but you can increase them say up to £500 to lower your monthly payments. You do need to ensure you would have that money available if you did need it, because your insurer will not pay for anything less than your excess. On a black box insurance policy your excess may be a preset, fixed amount and in the period between cover starting and the box being fitted, will often be automatically increased. For full details check with your broker before taking out a policy.
Level of Cover
Comprehensive cover tends to cost you a little more, but is all-encompassing and is usually recommended to young drivers (and in the case of black box insurance with Think, is compulsory) as it covers you for almost every situation in which you will want to make a claim. Comprehensive cover, covers the cost of the damage to both your car and anyone else involved in the accident. Third Party cover provides less protection but it will cost you less. When debating which type of cover to get you can consider several variables. Consider how often you plan on driving the vehicle, where you will be keeping it, the likelihood of theft or fire damage and the amount of superficial damage you would be prepared to live with and be happy to not claim on.
Third Party cover is not necessarily the best insurance for young drivers. You will be sacrificing the quality of your cover to opt for a lower level of cover than Comprehensive. You need to consider which type of cover is best for you and what you could afford to pay if anything did happen to your own vehicle. Sometimes Third Party, Fire and Theft cover can end up being the most expensive because it is more appealing to young drivers who are less likely to have new cars. Insurers have noticed this pattern and upped the prices because they are aware of the young driver preference. Changing your type of cover could end up costing you more in the long term so ensure you compare all the options and consider what you would need in the instance of damage to your own vehicle.
Black Box Policy
Telematics policies help to cut the cost of your insurance dependent on your driving. Instead of assuming that all young drivers are at high risk of accidents, as happens with car insurance without a black box, they take into consideration your personal risk based on the safety of your driving. Black box policies are top of the list for cheap insurance for young drivers.
So the main concern is realistically how much does a black box reduce insurance by?
The price obviously varies on the individual and their driving. However according to uSwitch you save £1392 on average over a standard policy just by having a black box installed. This means you will struggle to find quality and cheap insurance without black box for a better price.
Pay Annually, Not Monthly
Although annual payments seem like a large amount of money to pay upfront, they do usually work out cheaper than staggering your payments. This way you avoid any monthly interest charges which saves you a large amount of money. If you can afford to pay your insurance upfront you will be paying a lot less in the long run.
Adding a named driver
You can add other, older drivers to your car insurance policy if they are going to potentially drive the vehicle too. Adding another named driver to your insurance policy can reduce your costs especially if they are older and have more experience.
However be very careful you are not ‘fronting’. If the policy was put in an older person's name but with the young driver as a named driver when they are in fact the main driver then this is fronting. If the insurance company are aware of fronting they can reject any claim and this is actually illegal and considered as fraud. You must be careful to give accurate information to your insurance provider otherwise they are able to reject your claim or terminate your policy and this will cost you more in the long term. You also need to be careful that if a claim was to be made both parties would not lose their no claims bonus because if this happens, the insurance will go up again.
Most insurers will ask you where you live and where the car will be kept for the majority of the time. This is because some areas of the country are more prone to making claims. For example, cars kept in city centres are more likely to be bumped or scratched and some areas will have higher rates of theft. For young drivers studying at university, this will become more of an issue. Universities, and the accommodation associated with them, will usually be based in inner city areas with higher rates of crime and therefore could be more expensive when it comes to getting car insurance. For those looking for car insurance for students, it is important to consider where the vehicle is going to be kept.
Insurance costs will be higher if there is no drive and the car is kept on the road, and lower if it is kept in a locked garage or driveway. These variables make a difference in terms of likelihood of making a claim so although you cannot do a lot in terms of location, if you are able to keep your car somewhere safe there is less chance of scratches, bumps or even theft and this could lower your insurance premium.
As an alternative, you could also watch our video below on how to save money on your black box insurance policy.
No Claims Bonus
Another variable that will affect the cost of your insurance is your no claims bonus. If you do not have an accident and do not make a claim in your first year of driving you will receive 1 year’s no claims bonus. These then build up year-on-year until you make a claim. The more no claims bonus you have, the cheaper your insurance so always remember to tell your insurers if you have any no claims bonus. How long you have been driving for also makes a difference which is the main reason young drivers have such expensive policies.
There are many other factors that will affect your insurance which is why the process can seem like a long one with a multitude of questions. This is also why many people choose to stay with the same provider year-on-year because finding a new policy can be a hassle.
Although cost is very important to young drivers, you need to make sure you have good quality cover. Taking out a policy with a reputable insurer is critical to ensure if something does go wrong, you will get the cover you want. Make sure you consider a range of insurers and look at telematics options before you commit to anything.
9. Why Choose Think Insurance?
At Think Insurance, we cover drivers before and after they pass their tests so you do not need to worry about finding a new provider. Most insurance providers will offer a separate learners policy, which then means you have to take out a new policy, which often comes with a drastic increase in price. Young drivers taking their theory test will not need a different policy; if you have a provisional licence, with Think the cost of your policy will not increase once you have passed your practical test, whereas some companies will charge you more. With our policies you just carry on with the same contract without any increase in price.
If you do decide upon a black box policy, Think Insurance offer an excellent policy at a competitive price. Many black box policies come with curfews, where you are charged for driving later than 10pm or 11pm. Even sometimes the black box policies without a curfew will penalise you for driving late at night which makes these less attractive options for young drivers. However with Think Insurance, we try to not restrict or dampen your driving experience so we have a no curfew policy with no penalties for driving late at night.
Predicting how many miles you are going to use can be difficult when you first start driving, but it can help you reduce your premium if you can get this as accurate as possible, as some brokers will default to a higher level, and therefore it will cost you more. With Think Insurance you only pay for the miles you need. You choose how many miles you think you will drive and you pay based on this amount. If you end up driving more than you originally thought, then all you need to do is contact us to let us know, and we’ll extend your policy and confirm any additional premium required.
Take a look at our video below to find out about Think Insurance!
We genuinely understand that your first car can be a huge cost as all of our team have been through the struggle of trying to find cheap first time car insurance for young drivers. So this is why we offer flexible payment options, allowing you to pay monthly, annually or combine payments and pay on a date that suits you.
We have years of experience as insurance providers and we have tailored our services according to what our customers wanted. Our team are dedicated, young driver experts who can answer any of your questions or concerns and help find the right policy for you. We have built up a good network of contacts in terms of claims, recovery and accidents, and you can always expect excellent service. But do not just take our word for it, we have been voted as the UK’s Best Broker for three years running (2014, 2015 and 2016) by ‘thebestof.co.uk.’ This sets us aside from our competitors and our attitudes towards getting the best deal for young drivers ensures you are getting a great value policy.
If you are looking for the cheapest car insurers for young drivers then there are many things for you to consider. Young drivers are at an increased risk of accidents so it is important to make sure you are covered if anything were to happen. Take into account all of our money saving tips to have the best chance of cheaper insurance, and get in touch if you would like any more advice, as our team are more than happy to help.
If you consider yourself a safe driver with no intentions to engage in risky behaviours then we would encourage you to look into black box policies because they can save you a lot of money. It is important to shop around, obtain quotes online and over the phone and compare policies for different insurance brokers until you find good quality cover for a good price.
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