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Young Drivers' Insurance

Tips, discounts, cashback & more

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Tony | Edited by Dan

Updated July 2018

A young female driverThe cost of car insurance for under-25s is eye-wateringly high and expected to continue to rise. The average cost for a 17-22-year-old is already over £1,400/yr. However, you can cut costs.

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

If you're aged over 25 check our main Car Insurance guide for more.

12 ways to cut young driver costs

Did you know the average driver faces an annual insurance premium of £680, with drivers under the age of 25 paying over £1,400? Here are our top car insurance cost-cutting tips for young drivers that can save you £100s.

Don't assume third party is the cheapest

There are three different types of car insurance: third party only, third party fire and theft, and fully comprehensive.

Logically, third party insurance should be cheapest for young drivers as it offers a lesser level of cover than fully comp, yet this isn't always the case.

The rationale is that insurers think people who choose third-party insurance are more of a risk. In one low-risk young driver quote, we found an annual £1,500 saving for having comprehensive cover over a third-party only policy.

Try adding a second responsible driver

Adding a second driver should push the cost up, yet bizarrely it can cut your costs. We tried adding a 40-year-old family member as an 'occasional' user (not a main driver) to an 18-year-old's policy which cut the premium by around £1,000. These seven tips show how it can cut your costs...

  • Car insurance is all about risk. That's why it can work, if you're a high-risk driver and you add someone who is a much lower risk as a 2nd (and/or 3rd) driver, they can bring down the average risk and you may get a cheaper policy.

  • This isn't just for young drivers. While it works well for young drivers as they are automatically seen as a high risk and know many people, like their parents, who may be lower risk it can work for anyone – but of course is especially powerful for those with costlier insurance.

  • The better the driving history and lower their risk, the more impact it should have. Those with a good driving record are likely to help make the most savings, but anyone who's a lower risk can help. By law insurers can't discriminate over gender, but age, driving experience and history can make a difference.

  • This is about trial and error not logic. Your mum may increase the cost, your brother may cut it, or vice versa. It's just a question of trying different quotes and seeing what happens.

  • Different insurers respond in different ways: One may cut your costs adding your uncle, another may increase it. Therefore a quick way to check is by varying quotes on comparison sites – it's easy to do, see our top comparison sites list below.

  • The second driver should be someone who would reasonably drive your car. So don't add Lewis Hamilton, unless you happen to be his brother (and even then racing drivers are likely a very high risk so I wouldn't bother) – but your mum, son, best mate or gran should be OK – as long as they would drive the car.

  • Never add someone as main driver if they're not. This is known in the industry as 'fronting' and is fraud. If you do it and are caught you can face a criminal conviction and your insurance will likely be invalid.

Here are some successes to inspire you...

As a young new driver my insurer wanted £5,000 but after adding mum and dad it dropped to £1,900. @Faevouritexox

Took your advice and added my mum to my car insurance and saved £500 #mumstheword.@mazzyb5

Ensure you always minimise your risk

Whether or not you're a young driver, insurance premiums (the payments made to insurance companies) depend on three things:

Chosen insurer, plus level of cover, plus your risk level

Car insurance rates are set by actuaries, whose job is to calculate risk. You can make big savings by showing an insurer you're not the typical high-risk young driver.

Each insurer's price depends on two things: the underwriters' assessment of your particular situation, and the pricing model that dictates the type of customers the insurer wants to attract.

Do I need a security device?

Does it matter where I park my car?

Should I try and reduce my mileage?

Can extra driving courses help?

How can I avoid 'ghost brokers'?

Tell your insurer about special circumstances

If you haven't got 'normal' circumstances, eg, you've made a claim in the past few years, have a modified car or expect to drive 100,000s of miles a year, tell your insurer. If you don't and then try to claim, even for an unrelated issue, your policy may be invalid.

You also need to tell your insurer about any changes as this reduces potential problems in the event of a claim, even if it's just your address. Trying to get insurance after you've had a policy cancelled is very difficult, very expensive and will follow you for the rest of your life.

A change in circumstances includes moving jobs, as insurers believe this can affect your risk. Scandalously, the unemployed often (though not always) pay higher rates for their car insurance – so tell your provider if you're out of work.

DON'T pimp your car

Sexy it might be, MoneySaving it ain't. The more changes you make to your car, barring security ones, the more you'll be charged.

Always make sure you inform your insurer of any modifications to your car, whether you made them or not, or it may invalidate your policy.

What counts as a modification?

Does the car type affect the insurance cost?

Set the right excess without breaking the bank

It's worth thinking about going for a policy with a higher excess – the amount of any claim you need to pay yourself. A higher excess will result in lower premiums but make sure you can afford the premium in the event you need to claim.

Many people find that claiming for less than £500 of damage both increases the future cost of insurance and can invalidate no-claims bonuses, meaning it's not always worth making a claim.

So why pay extra for a lower excess? A few insurers will substantially reduce premiums for a £1,000 excess, so try this when getting quotes. The downside of this is if you have a bigger claim you'll have to shell out more, so take this into account.

How can I protect my excess?

Never lie to the insurer

With insurance, remember – the golden rule is:

Tell them the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

If you've read these tips and thought, "it's easy to lie about this", then of course, you're right. Yet lying on your insurance form is fraud. It can lead to your insurance being invalidated and, in the worst case, a criminal prosecution for driving without insurance.

Tweak your job description

Another quick win is tweaking your job description (legitimately of course). An illustrator is often cheaper than an artist, an editor than a journalist, a PA than a secretary.

Have a play with our Car Insurance Job Picker tool and see if small changes to your job description could save you cash. Remember, never lie as this will be considered fraudulent.

If it worked for you, share your success stories with our forum users.

Thank you @MartinSLewis after rewording my job occupation on car insurance I have managed to save £400. @JenStaCreations

I did this too thanks to @MartinSLewis from creative director to marketing manager = saved £300+ Crazy world isn't it? @fabsternation

What if I am unemployed?

Never auto-renew

Nothing better illustrates car insurers preying on loyal customers than Sarah Cooper's tweet. "My car insurance renewal is £1,200. New policy with same company is £690. How do they justify this?" They don't. They just do it.

Insurers charge increasing amounts each year, knowing inertia will stop policyholders switching. If your renewal is coming up, jot it in your diary to remember it. Compare comparison sites and then call your insurer to see if they can match, or even beat, the best quote you found. If they can, you're quids in.

Will my insurer remind me when it's time to renew?

If you live with parents, try multi-car policies

If you've two or more vehicles between friends or family members in your household (vans can be included in this but motorcycles usually aren't), some providers offer discounts if you insure them together. Comparison sites don't have the technology to do these searches, so you need to compare manually.

Use comparisons for each car separately. Often it's likely just finding the cheapest standalone insurer will win anyway. So always do a comparison first (see Combine comparison sites below), then try the deals directly below to compare.

Get all cars on one policy. This gives a discount when all cars are on one policy. The big one is Admiral MultiCar*. Go via this link and you can bag a £70 Amazon voucher we've blagged for you – it doesn't show on the landing page but you'll be sent an email to claim it. Sadly that can take up to 90 days, so keep an eye out. You must claim your voucher within 60 days of receiving the email. Or consider Aviva* and LV* which also provide multi-car policies.

Separate policies with a discount. This is where you get separate policies with the same insurer, but you get a discount on the second vehicle. Insurers to try: More Than* 15% | Axa 10% | Esure 10% | Privilege % varies | Sheilas' Wheels 10%. Tip: Insure the car with the cheapest premium first because you'll usually get the discount on the next 'additional' car (and subsequent cars).

Consider telematics

Telematics is a policy which prices your premiums depending on how you drive. A device – known as a black box – installed in your car monitors your actions behind the wheel so the better your driving, the less you pay for cover.

If you are confident that you can drive well you can earn £100s back on your cover via a telematics policy. Be warned, however, that driving badly could also see your premiums increase.

Grab long-lasting quotes to lock in today’s price

Average prices have been rising – up almost 6% in the past year according to the latest MSE Bills Tracker, which uses Office for National Statistics data. Yet some insurers such as Aviva*, Post Office*and LV* have quotes that are valid for 60 days. They let you get a quote two months before your renewal is due, and keep that price, beating any possible future premium increases.

That quote should still be valid even if you get another quote nearer the time and the price has gone up. However, the price is fixed subject to you not changing any of your details.

Insurers which allow you to lock in quotes early

Step 1: The top 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'.

Quick reference

Our system in a nutshell but for a full whys and wherefores see below
Step 1
Combine comparison sites Check as many as you can in order Compare The Market** MoneySupermarket* Gocompare*
Step 2
Big insurers comparisons miss Worth checking as can be cheaper Direct Line* Aviva*
Step 3
Hot promo deals Current offers comparisons miss Free breakdown

Our comparison site order in full technicolour detail

No single site captures the entire market, so combining a number of sites is the best way to make a really meaningful saving. If you missed our explanation of how we pick our comparison sites, please see the top comparison sites section above.

Always double check the price

Examine the policy's coverage

Step 2: Check the insurers not on comparison sites

Two of the biggest insurers on the market, Direct Line and Aviva, only offer their products directly and aren't on comparison sites. Benchmark your cheapest aggregator quotes against the premiums offered by these sites to see if you can slash costs further.

Direct Line*. If you, or a family member, have any other Direct Line product do check to see if you are eligible to get a discount, which does vary.

Aviva*. Grab up to 20% off online and an extra discount of up to a third by adding a second car or van to your policy.

Step 3. Hot deals comparisons miss

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

Free RAC cover

Post Office*

Post Office

Buy a new motor insurance policy directly from Post Office* and you will get Roadside and Recovery vehicle based cover free for a year.

The option to upgrade the cover is available and costs £20 to include "At Home" cover or £40 to include "At Home and Onward Travel" cover for one year.

What happens if my insurer goes bust?

Step 4: Try specialist policies

Once you've 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 doesn't cover many miles and drives during off-peak hours, you could see a reduction in the premium.

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 you're driving, the less you pay.

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?

How do they judge you?

Specialist providers to consider

Several providers offer telematic products. Here we've listed a selection of the best around.

  • Direct Line Drive Plus. Direct Line DrivePlus* is only available for drivers aged 25 or under and can give a discount upfront (which can be lost if you don't drive appropriately).

  • Coverbox. A 'pay and drive' scheme from Coverbox* with no curfews or any limit on your 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. Motorists aged 17-25 who get Co-op's* young driver insurance will have a box fitted to their cars to monitor their acceleration, speed, braking, cornering and what time they're driving. You can pay upfront for the year or by direct debit.

    But to gain a discount before buying, download the Co-op young driver app to your smartphone and drive 200 miles over at least 10 different days to get a driving 'score'. You'll then receive a link via email and any discount (up to 20%) will be automatically applied to your online quote.

    The price of the insurance (and the amount of discount) can vary, depending on how well the car's been driven. The better you drive the more discount you're likely to get, and continued bad driving could see your insurance cancelled.

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 Veygo by Admiral* or Marmalade's Learner Driver* insurance.

With Marmalade's New Driver* insurance 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.

Marmalade's New Driver* car policies 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.

Step 5: Cashback, discounts & haggling

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

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).

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 screen scrapers' 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.

How to complain about your insurance provider

The insurance industry doesn't have the best customer service reputation and while a provider may be good for some, it can be hell for others. Common problems include claims either not being paid out on time or at all, unfair charges, or exclusions being hidden in the small print. It's always worth trying to call your provider first, but if not then…

Free tool if you're having a problem

This tool helps you draft your complaint and manage it too. It's totally free, and offered by a firm called Resolver which we like so much we work with it to help people get complaints justice.

If the complaint isn't resolved, Resolver will escalate it to the free Financial Ombudsman Service.

Important: if your issue is about a voucher or incentive that was part of an MSE Blagged deal, then instead just let us know by emailing as that's usually quicker.

Young drivers' car insurance Q&A

  • Why is car insurance so expensive for young drivers?

  • Should I take a monthly payment plan?

  • I'm not driving my car for a bit, does it need to be insured?

  • Am I covered to drive others' cars on my insurance?

  • Would it be cheaper for me to just get a motorbike instead?

  • What's the difference between a screen scraper and a broker?

  • Are there any ways to get a no-claims bonus faster?

  • Must I inform my insurer if I have an accident but don't claim?


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