Car insurance for young drivers

As a new driver, you're likely to be paying £1,000 for your car insurance. See how you could save here.

Updated

There’s nothing quite like the feeling of getting behind the wheel for the first time after you’ve passed your driving test. But nothing can slam the brakes on your driving dreams quite like the cost of car insurance.

As a young, inexperienced driver, you’re likely to be paying more for insurance than any other age group. But there are a number of ways you can save on your cover. Use our guide to find out how you could lower your car insurance premiums as a young driver and start paying less.

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What is car insurance for young drivers?

Young driver car insurance is any policy available to drivers between the ages of 17 and 25. As they are considered a higher risk than other groups, young drivers generally pay more for car insurance. The average young driver pays £1,000 per year for cover, or around £1,300 for those living in London.

Like other age groups, young drivers have a range of policy options to choose from, as well as ways to reduce the cost of insurance.

Why is car insurance for young drivers so expensive?

The cost of car insurance is influenced by a number of factors, but the most important is how likely you are to be involved in an accident. Young drivers are disproportionately more likely to be involved in car accidents, which is why they pay the most for insurance.

What levels of car insurance are available to young drivers?

All drivers are legally required to have at least third party car insurance to be on UK roads.

  • Third party. If you are responsible for causing an accident, you’ll be covered for damage to third party vehicles or property. It won’t however, cover any damage to your own car.
  • Third party, fire and theft. This will give the same level of cover as third party but will also provide protection against any fire damage to your car or theft of your car.
  • Comprehensive. This gives the same protection as the lower levels as well as protecting your vehicle against accidental damage and vandalism. It might be cheaper than third party, or third party fire and theft, so always check.

What other types of young driver car insurance are available?

  • Telematics car insurance. Having a “black box” policy can help you save on your car insurance if you’re a safe driver. A black box is fitted into your car to measure how well you drive. This data is then assessed by your insurance provider to calculate your premiums, based on your driving habits. Be careful however, as black box technology monitors how well or how badly you drive. If your driving is poor, your premiums could go up.
  • Temporary car insurance. It is possible to get car insurance cover for a short period of time, usually between 1 and 28 days. This may suit young drivers home from university or if you’re visiting friends or family and need to borrow their car.
  • Add yourself to your parents’ policy. You could be added as a named driver onto your parents’ policy if you’re not the main driver of a car. However, be aware that a young driver added as a named driver when they’re really the main driver is known as “fronting” and is illegal in the UK.
  • Add a parent to your policy. If you’re the owner of your car, adding an older and more experienced driver to your policy such as your mum or dad could help to lower the premium.
  • Learner driver car insurance. If you’ve started having driving lessons but want to practice in a friend or your parents’ car, you’ll need this type of insurance. You’ll likely have the flexibility of short term cover. And if you need to make a claim, it won’t affect the no-claims bonus of the car owner’s own annual car insurance policy.

What should I be looking for in a policy for young drivers?

No matter what your age, it’s worth considering each aspect of your insurance policy carefully. If you’re new to driving, you may want to consider the following:

  • Cover level. The more comprehensive your policy, the more expensive it is likely to be, but the better it will protect you from damage. If you wouldn’t be able to cover the cost of expensive car repairs, a comprehensive policy may be worth considering.
  • Benefits and features. Compare which benefits and features are included in a policy carefully as you may find that one provider only offers what you need, for example, breakdown cover, as an optional extra while another may include it as standard.
  • Payment options. If you can afford to pay your annual premiums in one large sum, it’s generally more cost-effective than paying on a monthly basis.

This is the latest available (2016) annual data showing premiums and claims for different age groups, from the Association of British Insurers.

Average car insurance premiums by age group

Average premiums and claims

What affects the cost of car insurance for young drivers?

Several factors affect the cost of your car insurance. Some of these include:

  • Driving experience and history. If you’ve been driving safely for years, expect to pay less. For new drivers, it’s a little more difficult to prove you’re a safe driver without a record to speak of and providers will typically class you as high-risk pushing your premiums up.
  • Age. Young inexperienced drivers may pay some of the highest premiums out there because of the greater risk they pose.
  • Where you live. Where you live can affect your premiums especially if you live in a high-crime urban area, where the risk is greater compared to rural areas.
  • Claims history. If you’ve made several claims in the past, this can push your car insurance premiums up.
  • The sum insured. The greater the amount you insure your car for, the more you will have to pay for the cover.
  • Make and model of your car. If you drive a sporty and powerful car, expect to pay more while driving a smaller and safer car is likely to work in your favour.
  • Security. If your car doesn’t have an alarm fitted and is parked on a busy street at night, the risk of it being damaged or stolen is greater so premiums will typically increase.
  • Car use. If you have a daily commute in “rush hour” through busy roads, you’re more likely to see higher premiums than if you only use your car for leisure.

What is the cheapest car insurance for young drivers?

Unfortunately, there is no individual policy that will be cheapest for all young drivers. Insurance providers have their own criteria for determining the price of insurance, and no two drivers have the same profile.

As a young driver, black box insurance may prove to be cheaper than regular car insurance, provided you maintain a good driving record. If you don’t drive regularly, you may also be able to save money by using temporary or short term car insurance.

How to get cheap car insurance for young drivers

  • Choose a cover level that suits you. Contrary to what you might expect, comprehensive cover can be cheaper than third party (TP) or third party, fire and theft so it’s always worth checking. This is because of the risk profile of many people who typically get TP.
  • Increase security. If your car is not currently fitted with an alarm, think about adding one to reduce your premium.
  • Have a secure location to park your car. Cars kept in a garage or on a secure driveway are usually cheaper to insure.
  • Limit your mileage. If you start working part-time or your long commute becomes much shorter, letting your insurer know about a reduction in your mileage could result in cheaper insurance.
  • Increase excess. Agreeing to pay a bigger voluntary excess could make your overall premium cheaper. But remember that your insurer won’t pay out for a claim that costs less than your excess. So be careful about making it too high, as it could leave you out of pocket if damage occurs.
  • Add experienced drivers. Adding an older and more experienced driver to your policy could help to lower the premium.
  • Limit optional extras if you don’t need them. Think carefully about which optional extras you really want as adding extra protection to your policy will generally push the price up too.
  • Advanced driving skills. You could be in line for a discount with select providers by taking an advanced driving course.
  • Avoid paying monthly. If you can, try to pay for your premium in one go as you’ll pay interest if the premium is spread out over the year.
  • Pick a smaller car. Choosing to drive a small and safe car is likely to lower your premium.
  • Limit modifications. Any modifications made to your car to make it look better or drive faster are likely to increase your premiums so think carefully before making any changes.
  • Consider telematics insurance. Having a “black box” fitted to your car to monitor your driving could result in discounts if you drive safely.
  • Shop around. Don’t simply choose to renew your car insurance when it’s up for renewal as you could end up paying more than you need. Shop around and compare your options to find the best deal. Keep in mind that the cheapest policy isn’t always the best policy so check the cover details carefully.

Read our guide to getting the cheapest car insurance deal possible as a younger driver.

Adding yourself to your parents’ policy

With the cost of car insurance for young drivers typically so high, it’s worth asking your parents to add you to their policy. If this is an option for you, (i.e. if you share a car with your parents and they’re happy to include you in their cover), you could ask your parents to add you as a nominated driver to their insurance policy.

This will likely cause their premiums to rise but the added cost may be cheaper than if you were to take your own policy out. Even if you have to pay towards the overall premium, you might still save money.

Frequently asked questions

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