Tips for Getting the Cheapest
Insurance is expensive – here’s how to make your
first year a little less pricey
With great power comes great (financial) responsibility. As soon as you get your full license, there’s a whole world of expenditure waiting for you. Top of the list is insurance.
Naturally, younger, less experienced drivers pay more for car insurance than those who’ve
been driving safely for years.
Statistically, young drivers are more likely to crash, with road
safety charity Brake finding that a fifth of new drivers have some sort of crash within six
months of passing their test. Those who are ‘coached’ are ‘less likely’ to crash as they are accustomed to reflecting and analysing their mistakes and behaviour.
But there are some steps you can take to minimise your premium, even if you’re just starting out.
- Take your Pass Plus – Get your Pass Plus sorted as a priority. This is an optional, day-long course introduced by the Driving Standards Agency that gives additional training and tuition to new drivers. Most significant is the introduction to motorway driving – something you’re unable to do when driving on L-plates. Also included are town driving, driving at night, driving in bad weather, and driving in the countryside.
It takes time and effort, but worth it in the long run!
This extra day of instruction can result in a significant drop in your insurance quotes. Some
insurers treat it the same a two-year no-claims bonus. But not all insurers recognise it, so shop around.
Buy a cheap-to-insure car
We’ve put together a list of cars that are particularly cheap to insure. The industry ranks cars
in groups from 1-50 to determine how much of an insurance risk they are.
Obviously, a Ferrari 458 is going to be in a high insurance group. But so are versions of the
BMW X5 SUV and Audi A8 saloon. Granted, these are unlikely candidates for your first car,
but they show that it isn’t just exotic supercars that cost a fortune to insure.
Smaller cars like the Skoda Citigo (and its sister models the SEAT Mii and the Volkswagen
up!) that are in insurance group 1 make much better first cars.
In fact, the Citigo won Carbuyer’s Best First Car award, thanks to its low running costs and Skoda’s excellent dealer network.
A number of factors contribute to a car’s insurance group, but if it’s cheap to buy in the first
place and has a small engine, it’s likely to be relatively inexpensive to insure.
And don’t fiddle with it!
Nothing puts insurers off more than car modifications. For starters, badly installed mods can
make you car less safe. You might think fitting a rollcage to your Corsa looks cool, but your
insurers won’t. The message it sends to them is “I drive in a manner that could cause me to
roll over” and that’s not going to help you find cheap insurance.
If you really can’t fight the urge to modify the car, you must be honest about it with your
insurers. Declare anything you’ve installed or adjusted – even if it’s just a set of alloy wheels
– otherwise you risk your insurer refusing to pay out in the event of a claim.
Ask for as many quotes as you can
It’s a laborious task that will probably involve spending an entire Saturday on the phone, but
shopping around can save you hundreds of pounds, so it’s almost always worth it.
You should also contact insurance companies directly – not least because some of them
don’t appear on those price-comparison websites.
Get the right insurance cover
- A fully comprehensive insurance policy will pay for the damage to your car and any other
cars or property involved in a crash. It’ll also take care of things if your car is stolen or
damaged by fire.
- Third-party, fire and theft (TPFT) cover will, as the name suggests, cover you for fire or theft.
But if you’re involved in an accident, it’ll only cover damage to other parties’ cars and/or
property – not your own. And if you manage to crash your car into a wall, ditch, tree or lamp-
post without anyone else being involved, you’ll also have to foot the bill yourself.
- Third-party-only (TPO) cover is the minimum legal requirement for driving on UK roads. It’ll
cover the cost of damage to other people’s cars or property in the event of an accident, but if
you crash on your own or if your car is stolen or burnt out, you won’t get any payout, so we
wouldn’t recommend it.
Because of how insurance risk is calculated, fully comprehensive could be cheaper than
TPFT or TPO cover. Third-party-only insurance can sometimes be the cheapest option and
often seems attractive to young drivers as a result, but it’s therefore seen as riskier by some
insurers – which pushes the price back up.
Whether that logic is true here doesn’t matter – if fully comprehensive is cheaper, go for that.
Add one or both of your parents to your policy
If your mum or dad will be using your car as well, it could be cheaper to have them named
on your insurance rather than them relying on their own cover.
But beware of ‘fronting’ –
never claim someone else is the main driver of your car if you’re going to be using it most of
the time. This is illegal and could invalidate your insurance.
Increase your excess
Your insurance excess is an amount you’ll have to pay in the event of making a claim. So, if
your excess is £500 and £2,000 worth of damage has been done to your car, you’ll cover
£500 and your insurer will pay out £1,500.
Most insurance policies will have a minimum excess (and a lower premium often means a
higher excess), but if you’re confident that you can get the money together in the event of a
claim, then you can reduce your premium further by voluntarily increasing your excess.
Don’t increase it to an unfeasible amount, though. You’re most likely to crash in your first
year of driving and even minor accidents can result in very expensive damage.
Add security features and park off the street
If your car doesn’t have one fitted as standard, adding an anti-theft alarm, immobiliser or
tracker system could bring the cost of your policy down. An alarm approved by security
industry body Thatcham can knock around 10% off your quote, but just remember to be
honest about exactly what sort of security system is fitted to your car.
On-street parking worries insurers. When parked on a public road, your car is far more likely
to be crashed into, stolen or set on fire.
Avoid this by using a garage or off-street parking if possible.
Oddly, parking on your driveway can actually increase your premium. The logic is that if
someone wants to steal your car, they’ll know exactly which house to break into to get the
keys. Again, don’t fib about where your car is stored overnight, as it could come back to bite
if you have to claim.
When you get a quote that you’re happy with, paying for it all in one go will usually be quite a
bit cheaper. This may not be feasible, but if you have the cash, it’s worth it. Paying monthly
by direct debit almost always works out more expensive over the course of the year.
Do it all again next year!!
Once you have a year of safe driving under your belt, don’t just accept the renewal amount
offered by your current insurer. You might be able to save even more money by changing
insurer once again to whoever offers you the cheapest quote.