With your new driving licence in hand, you'll probably be raring to get behind the wheel. Along with buying a car, getting car insurance is an essential part of starting to drive.
As insurance for new drivers is generally more expensive, it's always good to shop around for the best quotes. Here are our suggestions for buying your first policy and our top tips for reducing the price of your premium moving forward.
Buying car insurance for the first time
There are lots of different options available when buying car insurance and some of the options available may seem a little confusing. First things first, weigh-up how and when you'll use your car and then look at quotes based only on that information.
As a starting point, you'll need to decide on either third party, comprehensive or third party, fire and theft (TPFT). You can read more about these in our article about the different types of car insurance, and check out our car insurance jargon buster too.
There are different things an insurer will look at before deciding on your first premium, including:
- How often you use the car.
- The number of people using the car.
- Where you park it at night.
- Credit score.
- Your age, profession and where you live.
- The age, size, engine, value and model of the car.
Up to 20% of new or young drivers are involved in an accident within a year of getting their licence. This is part of the reason why new drivers usually end up paying more than an experienced driver.
What's more, no matter who you choose to insure you car with, you'll also be charged a compulsory Insurance Premium Tax (IPT). The rate of IPT added is a percentage of your premium (currently 12%, June 2017).
So in monetary terms, first-time drivers are often hit the hardest because they're already paying higher prices for their premium.
What cars are the cheapest to insure for first-time drivers?
You might find yourself paying high premiums for your first car, but the model can make a difference. There are certain types of cars you should avoid if you want to lower your premiums.
Imported, modified and cars with big engines will see your premiums rocket. They tend to be faster and are suited to more skilled drivers, and they're usually more expensive to repair.
You can check what insurance group your potential new car belongs to before you even test drive it. This will let you see how the cost of running it measures up against your income.
First-time driver insurance tips
There are a few things you can do to keep your insurance costs down. In the long term building up your no claims discount can help lower your premiums, and some insurers may offer a discount for installing a dash cam.
Another option is to buy black box insurance (also known as telematics insurance) which gathers information which is used to work out how safely you drive. If you're a safe driver, you could see a discount on your car insurance premium at your renewal.
It's also worth bearing in mind that the cost of your car insurance could be lowered by paying for the policy in one lump sum, rather than monthly installments. By paying yearly, you could save as much as 11% so if you have the funds available, this might be a good option.
Is it cheaper to be a named driver?
Purposely switching a main and additional driver on an insurance policy to get cheaper rates is known as fronting and should be avoided at all costs – it's against the law.
However, there are certain scenarios where being a named driver might be a more appropriate option. For example, if you don't have your own car you might plan to use your parent's vehicle every now and again. This won't necessarily make the premium cheaper, but it's cheaper than getting your own cover.
If you do own a car and are the named main driver, you can add a named (or additional) driver to the policy. It could cost you less but that will depend on who (age, driving history) the other person is.
It's also worth remembering that there'll usually be a mid-term adjustment fee involved to amend a policy mid-term so you might want to factor this in too.
We've also got a few top tips on car insurance for young drivers.