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First of all, welcome to the world of driving! It can be a wonderful place full of freedom, pointless road trips with your mates and ‘drive thrus’ but as I am sure you are aware by now it can be quite expensive, which is probably why you are here!
Most insurance companies seem to have two rules when it comes to young drivers.
Rule 1. Always charge young drivers outrageous sums of money for insurance.
Rule 2. Don’t forget the first rule.
So we are going to give you every tip we can possibly think of to help you reduce your insurance premiums because we know you have better things to spend that money on. Or if your parents pay your insurance you will have to spend less time under their iron rule while you pay off that money you owe them, either way everyone is a winner.
The biggest factor in how much your insurance is going to cost is going to be the car you will be driving. If you are going to be driving your parents car there is obviously nothing you can do about this and might want to skip on to the next section! For those of you who are yet to choose a car, read on. That super fast turbo charged hot hatch that you absolutely have to have won’t just cost you an arm and a leg in insurance premiums, it will cost you all of your arms and all legs.
These types of cars are the ones that insurance brokers know that young drivers want and subsequently they do put them in higher insurance groups. These types of cars often have slightly more powerful engines than their normal counterparts which is another reason for them to bump up your insurance premiums.
To avoid paying huge amounts in insurance you should be aiming to pick a car within insurance groups one to five, ideally aiming for group one as this will be the cheapest. The general rule of thumb is the less powerful your car the less your insurance will be. Other things like cost to repair and popularity do factor into this though so maybe look at some alternative options to the car all your friends are driving.
On the subject of cars, let’s talk modifying them. Don’t do it. It may seem like a great idea to put big flashy alloy wheels on your car, aftermarket body kits and loud exhaust systems but every single one of these things is going to add to your insurance premiums. Not only that but if you forget to declare these additions then your insurance could be completely void and if you got into an accident your insurance company might not pay out at all. You will quickly grow out of these modifications and wonder why you ever had them on in the first place. Not as many people as you think will share your belief about how cool they are either. Believe me, I’ve been there and done that.
If you absolutely have to modify your car then try and go for the cheaper modifications because the more expensive the modification the more your insurance will be.
This one is a super simple tip that you literally save you hundreds on your insurance in the space of a few seconds. Find yourself an additional experienced driver to add to your policy as a named driver. Parents are often a good addition, any relative or trusted person with a clean driving licence will be a good addition to your insurance policy. You can just add them on with very little effort and watch your premiums drop by a significant amount of money in front of your very eyes.
You may have been told that rather than adding experienced drivers to your policy you should just get yourself added to your parent’s policy. This is dangerous information and you must be careful about doing this. If you are driving your parents car or your parents have bought you a car but they use it primarily then this is okay. If you have your own car but have your parents down as the main drivers and yourself as a named driver to save money then this is called ‘fronting’ and it is illegal.
Not only will you be committing a criminal offence if you do this but if you have an accident and they find out you are the main driver of the vehicle, they will not pay you a single penny and you will be stuck with a broken car and no money to have it repaired.
You should not always assume that third party insurance will be cheaper than fully comprehensive insurance, this is a common mistake. It is very easy to see why this mistake is made because typically third party insurance will be cheaper but it is always worth checking just in case.
If you live with your parents it is always worth checking out multi-car policies. If there are two or more cars at the household then you can apply for multi-car discounts, vans are usually able to be included in the discount too. Admiral are one of the most popular options for this type of insurance and the nice thing is that all the renewal dates are aligned so there is one more thing you can fob off on your parents!
Consider a higher excess when taking out your policy. The excess is the amount that you agree to pay on any claim regardless of how much the claim is. Here is a quick run down of how excess works, listen up because this is important. If you have a low excess, let’s say £400, then if you smash your car up and you claim on your insurance you only have to pay £400 toward the cost of repairing it. However this does mean that your insurance premiums will be higher. If you have a high excess, say £1000, you will need to pay £1000 toward repairs but your premiums will be considerably less. You have to work out at what kind of repair cost you would actually claim at and adjust your excess accordingly. If you have some savings then it will probably save you money in the long run by having a high excess, using those savings to fix your car and only claiming if there is some serious, high cost damage to your vehicle.
Pay as you drive policies or ‘Telematics’. They can go by a few names, here are some of them: ‘black box’, ‘smart box’, ‘pay as your drive’ or ‘usage based’. These can be an absolute god send for a young driver, provided you don’t drive like you are in a budget remake of a Need for Speed game.
Basically what happens is, a company will come and install a ‘black box’ in your car, typically this won’t cost you anything so don’t worry about having to pay for that. Bear in mind though, if you think you can beat the box by trying to tamper, move it to your parents car or remove it all together and you break it you will be paying a hefty charge. This black box is integrated with your vehicle and basically monitors, where, when and how you drive and discount on your insurance will be applied accordingly. So for example, if you treat the roads like your personal rally track you will not be saving any money but if you drive sensibly you could be looking at some decent savings.
The boxes measure how you accelerate, your cornering behaviour, the way you brake and your speed, pretty much everything about the way your drive. So accelerating smoothly, going through all the gears nicely, staying within the speed limit, braking smoothly and going round corners in a sensible fashion will all be rewarded with direct savings. Think about it this way, instead of driving like you are in a racing game, imagine a game where every time you are sensible on the road you collect a coin which can be exchanged with your insurance company for money, or beer tokens, whatever you prefer. The higher your score, the more cash you have to spend on clothes, make up, trainers, video games or getting drunk with your pals at the weekend (not whilst driving mind you, that’s a big no no).
There are some black boxes that allow you a certain amount of miles per year and provided you stay within that number then you can save yourself some cash. Some black boxes award savings based on the times at which you drive, so for example if you rarely drive past 10 pm you might want to check out a policy with a curfew because you could save some serious dough.
Last but certainly not least are comparison sites. These sites offer users enter just one set of details and send them off to lots of different insurance companies all at once, which is a huge time saver. When using these sites it is important to remember that these sites don’t all use the same insurance companies so it is definitely worth trying to combine one or more of these sites to get the best deals.
Another key thing when using these sites is that there are some companies that none of the comparison websites check. You have probably heard on adverts something along the lines of “we don’t appear on price comparison sites” and it’s true. Companies like DirectLine and Aviva will not show up on the comparison websites and it always worth going direct to these companies for quotes because they can be considerably cheaper than the comparison sites.
That’s all we’ve got! If you can think of any other tips feel free to let us know in the comments section!
Want more? Catch up on the weekend’s motor sport in our racing round up.
Something a bit different? Check out James’ blog post about possesed cars!