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Young Drivers' Insurance Tips, discounts, cashback & more

A young female driverThe cost of car insurance for the under-25s is dropping fast but it's still eye-wateringly high, with the average premium for a 17-22 year-old is £1,194/yr. However, there are many ways to help cut costs.

This is a step-by-step guide to young drivers' car insurance, helping you compare over 100 providers in minutes, with specialised tricks, and dos and doníts to save every spare penny.

Step 1: Follow the DOs & DON'Ts

These techniques should slash your costs. Yet even so, for some young drivers, car insurance will remain unaffordable. You need to decide - is it really worth it?

There's another quick tip to lower your costs: tweaking your job description could save you cash. Insurers decide prices depending on historic risk assessments, and your occupation plays an important part in this. To help, we've built a fun Car Insurance Job Picker tool to show the riskiest jobs and see if small tweaks to your job description could save you cash.

You may also save on insurance if you're in a more stable relationship, ie, if you're living with a partner rather than listed yourself as single.

Step 2. Correctly combine comparison sites

Comparison sites zip your details to hosts of insurers' and brokers' websites, scraping their data off the screens to report back the cheapest. So be aware they often feed your personal details to insurers.

They don't all compare the same companies, so the best strategy's to combine them. We've analysed the comparison sites, using a large range of monthly data, focused mainly on which ones produce the cheapest results. For drivers aged 25+, see our Cheap Insurance Guide.

On top of the price data, we've conducted separate research to see if quotes from comparisons match up to the prices on insurers' own websites, how consumer-friendly the quote process is, and the speed at which the comparison delivers results. See How the order is picked for more information on how we rated these 'soft features'.

Gives a cheap quote 66% of time.

Search takes
5 mins

Confused.comtry it*

1. Confused.com* Gets a cheap quote 66% of the time (in our sample)

Plus a quality rating of 7/10 in our survey of 'soft features'

  • Prices match insurer's site more than 80% of the time.
  • Price for add-ons clearly displayed: Yes
  • Received marketing calls when we asked for none: No
  • Excesses match what was asked for: No
  • Marketing calls: You have to opt out of calls.

If you use our top two picks, likely to give a cheap quote 78% of the time.

Approx time to get a quote:
5 mins

CompareTM try it

2. ...plus Compare The Market Increases chances of a cheap quote from sample to 78%

Quality rating 7/10 in our survey of 'soft features':

  • Prices match insurer's site more than 90% of the time.
  • Price for add-ons clearly displayed: Yes
  • Excesses match what was asked for: No
  • Marketing calls: You have to opt out of calls.
  • Received marketing calls when we asked for none: Yes
stop!

Check the big 'uns they miss ...

AvivaAviva*: Not included on comparison sites but Aviva* are worth adding as part of the quotation process. Extra discount is available to those adding a second car or van - of up to a 1/3 off.

Direct lineDirect Line*: Not available on comparison sites so another one to check. See Direct Line Together* to get 10% off any other Direct Line product or Direct Line multi-car* to get a discount if any other household vehicles are already covered by Direct Line.

If you use our top three picks, likely to give a cheap quote 86% of the time.

Approx time to get a quote:
4 mins

GoComparetry it*

3. ... Gocompare*Increases chances of a cheap quote from sample to 86%

Quality rating 7/10 in our survey of 'soft features', see below

  • Prices match insurer's site more than 90% of the time.
  • Received marketing calls when we asked for none: No
  • Price for add-ons clearly displayed: No
  • Excesses match what was asked for: No
  • Marketing calls: You have to opt out of calls.

If you use our top four picks, likely to give a cheap quote 93% of time (in our sample).

Search takes
6 mins

MoneySupermarket Car Insurancetry it*

4. ... plus MoneySupermarket*Increases chances of a cheap quote from sample to 93%

Plus a quality rating of 6/10 in our survey of 'soft features'

  • Prices match insurer's site more than 80% of the time.
  • Price for add-ons clearly displayed: Yes
  • Excesses match what was asked for: No
  • Marketing calls: You have to opt out of calls.
  • Received marketing calls when we asked for none: Yes


Total...
(close to) 100% chance of cheapest quote, based on insurers comparison sites cover.

5. Boost chances to nearly 100% Try to really nail down all the quotes

If you still haven't found a deal you're happy with, or want to push the envelope, there are some more options to try.

Try these comparison sites if you have time - each takes around 5-10 minutes: Google*, QuoteZone*.

What they don't tell you: Some of the most competitive deals argent available on comparison sites

Comparison sites have attempted to tackle the market by offering quick cashback if you compare then get a policy through them. While it doesn't pay nearly as well as some hidden cashback deals (see step 4), it could still be enough to make a difference.

Money ExpertMoneyExpert:
It pays £25 cashback if you go via its site at MoneyExpert.com Important: How to get the cashback

MoneyExpert has set its default excess to £400 and includes some assumptions, so be careful to check the quotes are right for you.

Add feedback/read others: MoneyExpert Car Insurance

Always double-check the policy terms...

Once you've found the cheapest from the screenscrapers, make two important checks:

  • Double-check the quotes

    Click through to the insurance provider's own website to double-check the quotes, as to speed up searches some comparison sites make a few assumptions (see what to check).

  • Examine your policy
  • Examine the policy's coverage

    Check whether it's suitable . If you want "free car hire" while your car is being fixed, is it included?

    Plus while you're there, it's worth playing with the policy details to see if you can finesse the price down. Look at the excess, and whether adding drivers cuts the cost.

    This tool by Find allows you to check the coverage of two different polices side-by-side.

What happens if my insurer goes bust?

Insurance providers regulated in the UK are covered by the same Government-backed Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) as banks, so if they go into default, you're protected.

A number of insurers - particularly those who offer telematics pay-when-you-drive cover - are based in Gibraltar. However, a special FCA rule says these policies have the same protection as those from UK-based insurers. Specifically: "The UK requires all EEA (European) insurers... to participate in the FSCS in the same way as all insurers that are directly authorised by the FCA."

In the unlikely event a regulated insurer goes bust, the FSCS will try to find another provider to take over or issue a substitute policy. However, if you've ongoing claims, or need to claim before a new insurer is found, the FSCS should ensure you're covered. For more see the insurance section of the Savings Safety guide.

Step 3: Specialist young driver policies

Once youíve tried the comparison sites, it's time to check specialist young driver policies to see if they undercut them.

If you are a careful driver who doesnít cover many miles and drives during off-peak hours, you could see a reduction in the premium.

Due to the non-conventional nature of these policies, getting a firm price will often involve getting a calculator out.

PAY HOW YOU DRIVE (tELEMATICS)

Despite some confusion, Telematics is not an 1980s games show hosted by Noel Edmonds (that was Telly Addicts!). Telematics is a type of motor insurance policy which prices your premiums depending on how you drive.

A GPS device

A device inside your car monitors your actions behind the wheel. So the better youíre driving, the less you pay for cover.

Remember, telematics policies have more aliases than a rap group. If you're looking at "black box", "smart box", "pay-as-you-drive" or "usage-based" insurance then you're looking at a telematics policy.

The black box feeds data back to your insurer, which takes this into account to reward you, with money back on your premiums, if you can prove you're more Driving Miss Daisy and less Fast & Furious.

How much is a black box?

Once youíve sign up for a policy, youíll need to arrange a date for a black box to be fitted to your car. You donít typically have to pay an upfront cost for the box but the price of it will be incorporated within the premium. Some insurers will impose a fee if you miss a fitting appointment, need to move the box to another car or want it removed.

And if you start tampering with it - thinking you can move it or trick it, and it breaks, expect a hefty bill for a replacement box.

How do they judge you?

Itís not just a case of keeping your hands at ten and two and shifting smoothly up the gears. Insurers will take the following into account.

- The time of day or night you drive (11pm to 5am may cost more).
- Your speed (stick to the limit).
- Gentle braking reactions (hard and sharp stopping is not good).
- Gentle acceleration and cornering is good (don't treat your local roads like Silverstone).

Telematics providers will charge you more if you speed or start cornering like Lewis Hamilton. In addition, you won't earn any rewards if you don't drive responsibly. With insurance so expensive, any money back on your cover should be an incentive in itself.

While your insurer will be following your driving closely, there are relatively few restrictions on when and where you drive.

Some insurers, such as iKube* and Co-op*, have curfews in place meaning driving at certain times (usually between 11pm and 5am but up to 6am with the Co-op) could result in a fine or an increase in premiums.

Some policies to consider...

Direct Line Drive Plus. Direct Line Drive Plus* gives a 25% discount upfront which can be lost if you don't drive appropriately.

Coverbox. A 'pay as you drive' scheme from Coverbox* which allows you to choose from as low as 3,000 miles and is available for a wide range of ages. with no curfews.

So if you're a low mileage driver this can cut costs. You also get the option to buy more miles if you underestimate your annual mileage.

iKube. Alternatively, iKube* is aimed at 17-25 year olds who don't often drive between 11pm and 5am. There's an extra fee for driving between these times, making the cost prohibitive if you do so.

Drive Like A Girl. Another policy aimed at 17-25 year-olds who avoid driving overnight (this time between 11pm and 4am) is Drive Like A Girl. It's not just for girls, it's open to boys too - but show you can "drive like a girl" and you could get money back. It's also open to all ages.

Insure The Box. With Insure The Box*, you can pick either a 6,000, 8,000 or 10,000 mile-per-year policy for your premium, and then you can earn extra miles by driving safely - or buy more online if you need to during the year.

Here, GPS or tracking devices monitor how you drive. Of course, even then, the price still depends on your personal risk profile.

Co-op. The Co-op's* young driver insurance fits a box into 17-24-year-olds' cars to monitor acceleration, braking, cornering and time of driving. It then charges for insurance every 90 days, taking into account any discounts or loadings.

The price of the insurance can vary, depending on how well the carís been driven. Severely bad driving could see your insurance cancelled.


Specific young driver brokers

While comparison sites are very good for people with normal situations, for others they can underperform. Swinton's Young Driver insurance is worth checking out, as it searches a panel of young driver and student car insurance providers.

Other brokers providing for young drivers include A Plan, Thames City, Only Young Drivers, Adrian Flux and Endsleigh (best to call for quotes, as not all offer these online).

Or try speaking one-on-one to a local insurance broker about your individual circumstances to see if they can find you a decent policy (search on the British Insurance Brokers' Association website).

Learner driver insurance

Learner insuranceIf you're a learner, it often means being added to parents' or friends' car insurance as an additional driver which can up the cost, and put no claims bonuses at risk.

However, it is possible to get specific policies just for the provisional driver which protect this, for example via Provisional Marmalade* and Endsleigh.

Provisional Marmalade also has a reward scheme to get a £100 discount if you move to Young Marmalade* when youíve passed.

With Young Marmalade* you get the insurance policy alongside low-risk new or nearly new cars on a two to five-year hire purchase or personal contract plan.

This can bring the insurance cost down dramatically, but obviously, you're buying a car at the same time. Do the numbers very carefully before signing up, though it can work out cheaper in the long run for some.

Young Marmalade cars also include telematics devices. The cost savings for good drivers are built into your starting price, so it can be increased if your driving is poor.

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Step 4: Hidden cashback, discounts & haggling

By now you'll know the cheapest available provider, yet you may be able to cut the cost even further. The step-by-step list below takes you through a variety of options to improve your deal.

Check 1: Cashback websites

These sites carry paid links from some retailers and financial services providers; in other words, if you click through them and get a product, they get paid. They then give you some of this cash which means you get the same product, but a cut of its revenue.

Don't choose based only on cashback, see it as a bonus once you've picked the right cover.

Those new to cashback sites should ensure they read the Top Cashback Sites guide for pros and cons before using them. Receive cashback online Otherwise use the Cashback Sites Maximiser tool to find the highest payer for each insurer.

Things you need to know before doing this...

  • Never count the cash as yours until it's in your bank account. This cashback is never 100% guaranteed, there can be issues with tracking and allocating the payment, plus many cashback sites are small companies with limited backing, and you've no protection if anything happens to them.

  • Withdraw the cashback as soon as you're allowed. Money held in your cashback site account has no protection at all if that company goes bust, so always withdraw it as soon as you're eligible.
  • Clear your cookies. While it shouldn't be a problem, if you've used comparison sites beforehand, there is a minor risk that the cashback may not track due to cookies - so it's good practice to clear those first (read About Cookies).

Check 2: Get cashback via comparison site

If cashback sites don't list your insurer, you can use a comparison site to get cashback if you compare then get a policy via their site.

Go via MoneyExpert and it pays £25 but you do need to complete and application form within 30 days of starting the policy. See our alternative quick cashback route for more details on how to claim your cashback.

Do note it's more important to get the right policy than a bit of cashback, so make sure you've done that first. However, you must make sure you tick all the right boxes to claim this cashback, and understand the comparison sites pay this bonus directly - not the insurers - so you're reliant on their ability to pay. Please read the quick cashback section above for full pros and cons.

Check 3: Special deals

If you can't get cashback it's worth noting a few companies have special deals not mentioned by comparison services. These include:

co-op

Karcher washer. New customers buying a†Co-Operative* car insurance policy by†30 Nov†can also get a Karcher K2 Compact High Pressure Washer (RRP £79.99). The washer will be sent within 60 days of your policy start date.

Be Wiser

Free RAC cover. Insurance broker Be Wiser offers free RAC membership for policies bought via its website.

Sainsburys

£30 to spend instore & free breakdown. New customers who buy a Sainsbury's* motor policy by 29 Dec 2014 will get £30 of vouchers to spend in store. Nectar cardholders will also get double Nectar points for two years on shopping and fuel with Premier Cover. Until further notice, you will get Green Flag breakdown cover free for a year.

Haggle on your car insurance!

The car insurance market is very competitive and companies are desperate to retain business - but never just auto-renew.

Insurers love auto-renewing, as it's a fine for apathy where they hoick the premium knowing you'll pay. If a policy has automatically renewed, getting out of it usually means charges and fees, so don't get caught out.

Once you've got your overall cheapest price, get on the phone and try to haggle as your renewal is a starting point. There's often massive price flexibility, but be fully armed with the screenscrapers' cheapest quotes and any available cashback first.

The first port of call should be your existing insurer. If it can beat or even match the best quote it saves the hassle of switching policy. If that doesn't work and you're still in the mood, take it to a broker. For more haggling tips, read the full Haggle On The High Street guide and The top 10 firms to haggle with.

Have you used this guide's techniques to save on your car insurance? If so, please feed back on the price you found in the Young Drivers' Insurance Savings forum discussion.

Step 5: Remember next year

Blue alarm clock

Fortunately, providing you drive well and don't have any accidents, your insurance premium should get cheaper after the first year. However, don't automatically stick with the same provider - it may not still be cheapest.

Apply for cover from your existing insurer as a new customer and it's likely you'll be given a cheaper price. This is because car insurers, like any company, will happily profit from apathy if they can.

Insurers must send out renewal notifications at least 28 days before renewal, though this doesn't leave much time, and you can end up rushing to try to find a cheaper price.

To avoid being forced to decide quickly, diarise a warning 45 to 90 days before your renewal date, so there's plenty of time to sort out a new provider. Alternatively use the free Tart Alert which sends a reminder text or email.

Get paid to be a mystery shopper

You could also sign up to Consumer Intelligence, a consumer research company, which pays several hundred people a month near renewal up to £50 to carry out comparisons. Importantly, you don't need to buy insurance from any of the companies you've contacted. See the It's a mystery forum thread for full details.

Young drivers' car insurance Q&A

Glossary

Join in the Forum Discussion:
Young Drivers' Insurance
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Duplicate links of the * links above for the sake of transparency, but this version doesn't help MoneySavingExpert.com: Admiral, Aviva, Churchill, Co-operative Insurance, Confused, Coverbox, Direct Line, Direct Line Together, Drive like a girl, Find, Go Compare, Google, iKube, Insurethebox, MoneySupermarket.com, Privilege, Provisional Marmalade, Quotezone, Sainsburys, Swinton, Young Marmalade

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While this does not affect any content on our site, technically it means that pages with links which take you to the sites of insurers or insurance intermediaries are hosted by MSE on behalf of MSM.

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