Young driver insurance is, by dint of its very name, an expensive prospect. Newly qualified drivers, no matter their age, invariably face heavy premiums simply due to lack of driving experience, but young drivers are hit doubly hard, as their age also counts against them.
As there’s very little any of us can do about our age (short of lying to the DVLA or concocting a Harry Potter-esque Ageing Potion – and of the two of them, we suspect the latter is the easier to achieve) then the best young drivers can do is try to minimise the damage by making their premiums as low as possible.
There are, thankfully, several ways to achieve this. The first way, which most people have probably already thought of, is to take a Pass Plus course. The only problem here is that a Pass Plus certificate is not a guarantee of cheaper insurance. It might help, but not in every case.
The second way for young drivers to get cheaper car insurance is to choose the car you’re going to drive with great care. Think about it logically: a little Astra, Saxo or Micra with a 1.1l engine has minimal power, and so you’re less likely to speed, lose control, or any of those other terrifying prospects that insurance companies expect from young drivers. If, on the other hand, you’ve got a 2.0l saloon – or worse, a 2.0l hatchback, where you can really notice the extra oomph – then your premium is going to respond to the increased driving risks.
Cheap insurance for young drivers can also be achieved if you are added as a named driver on your parents’ insurance. However, the conditions of this are that you are not the main user of the car – and while you could take the risk that no one will find out otherwise, bear in mind that technically what you’re doing is called ‘fraud’ and can earn you quite serious penalties, including losing your licence or paying a hefty fine. (If you are only an occasional driver of the car, however, you’re fine.)
An alternative to this is to buy young driver insurance under the young driver’s name, but add an older, more experienced driver as a named driver. The second driver can’t be listed as the main driver (otherwise this is also fraud) but if they only use the car occasionally –or even not at all – it can help balance out the risk, and make the premium more manageable.
Another way to reduce your insurance costs is to buy a new car. It may seem strange – new cars are, after all, quite expensive – but many now come with a few years’ free insurance, which for young drivers can equate to a saving of several thousand pounds. Off-set that against the cost of the new car in the first place, and it can often be a worthwhile tactic.
One of the big ways for young drivers to get cheaper car insurance (and this especially for young male drivers) is to not modify your car. Modifications may look cool and impressive, but they can double or even triple your premium if they’re deemed to make the car faster, less secure, more likely to be stolen or vandalised, or harder to control. Also, bear in mind that several kinds of modification are illegal, and if your insurance company find out you’ve kept some modifications secret, they could invalidate your insurance and report you to the police.
You could also try paying all at once for your insurance. Paying monthly by direct debit is easier, but you can pay through the nose for the privilege.
Failing all that, get a new job, buy a house or get married. All of these things have a significant impact on your premium, as it’s believed that people will responsible jobs like nurses, lawyers, dentists and bankers (Ha! Responsible, indeed…) will be more sensible drivers. Likewise, if you own your own house or are married, you’re considered to be lower risk.
Of course, you shouldn’t change anything about your personal life just to get cheaper insurance – it’s simply not worth it. But if they’re changes you were planning on making anyway, it’s worth telling your insurance company. If you're just starting out on your driving career and are a learner driver then take a look at our learner driver insurance page to get the low-down on the options available for learner drivers today.