Insurance for New Drivers

Car insurance is required by law and should the worst happen and you are involved in an accident then the appropriate insurance cover is essential.  Good insurance doesn't come cheaply and it is better to look for the best value insurance as the cheapest may not offer sufficient cover in the event of a claim. There are many insurance companies that specialise in young and new drivers.  Independent brokers will also be able to to offer competitive deals.
There are ways to help cut the cost -
After passing your driving test try the Pass Plus course.  This is an opportunity to improve your skills and confidence and is recognised by most insurers who will give you a discount for completing your Pass Plus course. 
Also think about the type of car you choose to drive as a new driver.  Opting for a car wiith the lowest group insurance rating will prove to be much more affordable.  Ther is plenty of choice in the small car range.
Other ways to make you and your car more attractive to an insurer could include fitting a car alarm, considering where the car will be parked, agreeing not to drive at certain times, usually between 11pm and 6am,agreeing to a mileage limit for the year and the fitting of a black box.  Anything that will lower the risk can help bring the cost down.

Third Party Cover

The minimum level of insurance cover needed in the UK is third party cover, this is the most basic of car insurance and is a legal requirement.  Third party insurance will simply provide insurance cover in the event that you cause damage to other vehicles, persons, or property in an accident. 

It usually provides no cover for any damage to you or your own car or theft from it.


Third Party Fire and Theft

Third party fire and theft insurance will cover the cost of claims made by third parties involved in an accident in the same way as for third party cover but still will not usually cover damage to you or your car sustained in an accident.  However it does have the added provision of covering the complete loss and any damage to your car or contents caused by fire or theft.  However its worth checking the small print of any TPFT policy as there are often limits as to how much can be claimed.


Comprehensive Cover

A comprehensive insurance policy as well as providing the basic protection offered by a third party, fire and theft policy also covers any damage sustained by you and your car. 
Comprehensive cover also usually includes some extras such as personal injury cover should you be hurt in an accident, medical expenses cover, breakdown cover should your car breakdown.  Windscreen cover is also often included to replace a chipped or damaged windscreen.
Legal expenses may also be covered to pay any solicitors fees if you need to go to court to recover costs or defend yourself from a third party claim. A hire car may also be offered as part of a comprehensive policy if your car is written off or away being repaired.

A comprehensive policy will be more expensive than a more basic level of cover because of the extra costs it will pay out for in the event of a claim.  Always remember to check the policy wording before you make your decision as the cover provided from one comprehensive policy to another will differ.


Building up your 'no-claims bonus'                                

For every year a driver doesn't make a claim on their insurance, they are awarded a year's no claims bonus.  Most insurance companies offer up to five years no claims bonus.  Building up a no claims bonus is essential if you want to reduce the amount you pay in the future.
You can opt to protect your no claims bonus which means you don't lose the years of no claims bonus you've built up should you make a claim. 

What is an "Excess" ?
                 An excess is the first portion of a claim you will be responsible for paying in the event of a claim and the insurer will only pay out on the amount above the excess. In most scenarios the insurer deducts any excess from the payout you will receive e.g if you have a £500 excess and make a £3000 claim, the insurer will payout £2500.
 In some circumstances (such as when the party to blame is being disputed) you may be asked to pay your excess up front so your insurer can authorise your car repair, they will then pay this back if it is decided you were not at fault. 
Most car insurers will have a compulsory excess for young drivers. This tends to come down with age and drivers aged over 25 will often not face any compulsory excess.  Many insurers will offer you a discount on your premium for agreeing to a further voluntary excess, because they will have to pay less towards the claim as result.  Generally the higher voluntary excess you opt for the lower the premium will be.

If you choose a voluntary excess remember you will have to pay this amount in addition to the compulsory excess.

Read the small print...........

As with all insurance policies you need to read the small print carefully to make sure the policy meets your exact requirements. If you are unsure about what the policy does or does not cover then just ask your insurer/insurance advisor to explain.

Giving honest and accurate information..........

When you insure your car regardless of which type of cover you choose you must be completely honest about your personal details including your age, any driving convictions such as penalty points for speeding, previous motor accidents that you have been involded in.  In addition you must be honest about your car's condition and value and also mention any modifications you might have made to your car.  Failing to give honest and accurate information may well result in the invalidation of your policy with the insurer refusing to pay out.

Getting Started as a named driver

Another way to get on the road but not pay your own insurance is to be a named driver on your parents' insurance which is how most learners start off.  This has the benefit of being cheaper than insuring yourself as a newly qualified driver but you cannot build up a no claims bonus of your own.
If you use your parents car occasionally being a named driver is fine.  However if your parents take out a policy for you in their own name and you are the main driver this is illegal and can result in a fraud charge.  It is called "fronting" and can leave you without insurance cover in the event of a claim if the insurance company is suspicious.

The information on this page is intended as a guide only, for further clarification on car insurance please see the following link:

Link to Association of British Insurers