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Car insurance for 17-year-olds

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If you’re looking for car insurance for 17-year-olds, it’s likely you or your child have recently passed their driving test. But while getting out on the road as a newly qualified driver can be an exciting time, it can also be expensive. 

The cost of car insurance for a 17-year-old will typically be far higher than insurance for an older driver with years of driving experience behind them. This makes it all the more important to try and find a cheap car insurance deal without scrimping on cover.

Average cost of car insurance for 17-year-olds

The average cost of car insurance for 17- to 19-year-olds is £1,268.54. That’s based on annual comprehensive car insurance policies purchased through MoneySupermarket between October and December 2023. 

How much will car insurance cost as I get older?

Fortunately, the rule of thumb for car insurance is that the older you get, the cheaper your car insurance will become. 

For example, when you get into your 30s, your car insurance should drop significantly – drivers in that demographic paid an average £872.41 between October and December 2023. And for drivers in their 50s, the average price is just over £480. 

Of course, the exact costs of your car insurance will depend on other factors, such as where you live (eg, if you live in an area with higher crime rates, you’ll pay more), the type of car you drive and your driving history. Building up a no-claims bonus will also help reduce costs; this gives you a discount for each year you don’t make a claim on your insurance.

Why is car insurance for 17-year-olds more expensive?

Car insurance for 17-year-olds and new drivers is generally more expensive because insurance providers consider this category of drivers as higher risk. Young drivers have less driving experience on UK roads and are statistically more likely to be involved in an accident, so insurers offset this risk by charging more for cover.

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Young driver accident statistics

  • One in five drivers crash within a year of passing their driving test, according to road safety charity Brake
  • Almost one-fifth (19 per cent) of all car driver fatalities are aged 17 to 24, based on Department for Transport data
  • Nearly a quarter (24 per cent) of fatalities following a car accident involve a vehicle driven by at least one younger driver
  • Young male drivers are four times as likely to be killed or seriously injured in an accident compared to all other drivers over the age of 25

 

Some reasons for this increased risk include that the brain’s prefrontal cortex, essential for regulating impulse behaviour, doesn’t reach full maturity until people reach their mid-20s. Because of this, young drivers tend to be overconfident, and peer pressure can encourage dangerous driving as they show off to their friends and take more risks. Research shows that newly qualified drivers with a car full of passengers of a similar age are four times more likely to be in a fatal crash than when driving alone. Younger drivers are also less likely to crash when carrying older adult passengers.

 

On top of this, younger drivers tend to drive faster because they underestimate the risks associated with speeding. Their inexperience means they cannot spot hazards as easily, and younger drivers are more likely to use their mobile phones at the wheel, less likely to wear a seat belt and more likely to drive at night when visibility is poor.

What types of car insurance cover are available for 17-year-olds?

As with other drivers, 17-year-olds usually have three types of car insurance to choose from: 

  1. Third party: this is the legal minimum requirement for drivers and the most basic level of cover. Third party insurance covers you for injuries to other people or damage to their property, but won’t cover your vehicle or any injuries you suffer in a car accident 
  2. Third party, fire and theft: if you take out third party, fire and theft insurance, you’ll be covered for all of the above but if your car is damaged by fire or stolen
  3. Fully comprehensive: this is the highest level of car insurance you can buy and covers you for everything included in a third-party, fire and theft policy and more. Damage to your car, plus injuries sustained by you or your passengers, will be covered, and some policies also offer cover for vandalism and legal expenses

When comparing policies, it’s worth looking at the cost of all three types of cover, as fully comprehensive cover won’t necessarily be the most expensive. Statistically, drivers taking out third-party policies are more likely to claim, which means premiums can actually be higher compared to fully comprehensive policies.

Is telematics insurance good for 17-year-olds?

With telematics insurance – also known as black box insurance – a device is installed in your car that monitors your driving habits (some insurers record this via a smartphone app).

Insurers will be looking at how fast you drive, how sharply you brake, the time of day or night you drive, where you drive and how far you drive. Those who drive safely and within the speed limit will be rewarded with lower premiums than those who drive erratically. Some insurers might adjust your premiums monthly, while others will offer a discount at renewal. 

This can be a great option for 17-year-olds who are confident in their ability to drive safely, but haven’t got the experience behind the wheel to back that up to insurers. 

Can I get temporary car insurance as a 17-year-old?

If you only intend to drive infrequently after passing your test, you could consider temporary car insurance. This will allow you to drive someone else’s car for as little as one hour, normally up to around 30 days, and can be arranged in a matter of minutes. So perfect if you want to go away for the weekend, but don’t need car insurance full-time. 

Most temporary car insurance policies are fully comprehensive, and, were you to have an accident, the no-claims bonus of the car’s owner wouldn’t be affected. 

Can I be added to my parents’ insurance?

If you don’t have your own car and you live with your parents, it’s fairly straightforward to be added to your parents’ car insurance as a named driver.

However, while this can lower the cost of car insurance for a younger driver, it’s likely to increase the cost of the policy for the main driver (the parent).

Being added as a named driver also means you must drive the car less frequently than the main driver; otherwise, you could be found guilty of an illegal practice known as fronting.

James Daley circle

Expert Advice – James Daley, Managing Director of Fairer Finance

“If you’re taking out car insurance for the first time as a 17 year old, hopefully your parents will be doing most of the heavy lifting for you. If you’re just going to be driving the family car occasionally, you can usually be added to your parents’ insurance as a named driver.”

What are the best ways to get the cheapest car insurance for 17-year-olds?

Although car insurance for 17-year-olds is expensive, there are steps you can take to reduce these costs. It’s worth keeping the following in mind: 

  • Consider a specialist policy like black box or temporary car insurance: as mentioned, telematics insurance and temporary car insurance can both be great ways of reducing the cost of your cover, depending on your needs as a driver
  • Choose a car in a lower insurance group: if you’re buying a car, remember that, generally speaking, cars in lower insurance groups tend to be cheaper to insure than those in higher groups. Lower-grouped vehicles tend to have smaller engines, are less powerful and usually have more affordable repair parts. If you’re buying a pre-owned car, the insurance premium might be lower due to the lower value of the vehicle, but this won’t always be the case
  • Add an experienced driver as a named driver to your policy: adding a more experienced driver (such as a parent) to your car insurance policy can help reduce premiums. That’s because the risk of a car accident is lowered if the younger driver is behind the wheel less often. However, you must be honest about who does most of the driving; in this case, it should be the main driver (the 17-year-old), not the named driver (the parent). Being dishonest to get lower premiums is illegal
  • Register for an advanced driving course: insurers might reduce your premium if you have taken an advanced driving course, such as the Pass Plus course, as they’ll consider you a safer driver. The course takes at least six hours and teaches you advanced driving skills. However, you should still shop around and compare quotes elsewhere, even if you qualify for this discount, to be sure you’re getting the best deal
  • Pay for your insurance annually: although it requires an upfront payment, which might not be affordable for a 17-year-old, paying for your car insurance in one go each year will be cheaper than paying monthly instalments, when interest is usually added
  • Limit your mileage: the fewer miles you drive, the less chance of you being in an accident, which means your premiums should be lower. However, you must be honest when stating your estimated annual mileage on your car insurance application; otherwise, you risk invalidating your insurance

On top of this, you should avoid several tactics when trying to lower car insurance premiums for 17-year-olds. These include:

  • Increasing the excess: car insurance policies come with both a compulsory and voluntary excess, which you must pay if you make a claim. Your insurer sets the compulsory excess, but you can choose how much you want the voluntary excess to be. Choosing a higher voluntary excess is an easy way to lower your insurance premiums, but increasing it too much could make it unaffordable for a 17-year-old in the event of a claim
  • Making modifications to your car: many insurers will charge a higher premium if vehicle modifications are made. Adding spoilers, for example, can decrease vehicle safety if it’s involved in a crash, while fitting alloy wheels can make the car more attractive to thieves, so there’s a greater chance of making a claim. However, modifications that improve the safety of your vehicle, such as fitting an industry-approved immobiliser or tracker, can reduce your premiums
  • Street parking: although parking your car in a private driveway or garage might not be possible, some insurers may charge a higher premium if your vehicle is always parked on the street as it’s at greater risk of theft or damage
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What is the cheapest car to insure for 17-year-olds?

According to car insurance provider Admiral, the top 10 cheapest cars to for a 17-year-old to insure are:

  1. Volkswagen up!
  2. Skoda Citigo
  3. Peugeot 108
  4. Hyundai i10
  5. Honda Jazz
  6. Ford Ka
  7. Toyota Aygo
  8. SEAT Mii
  9. Citroen C1
  10. Peugeot 107

These cars all fall into lower car insurance groups. A car’s insurance group dictates how expensive it is to insure. 

There are 50 insurance groups, and all cars are sorted into one based on their make and model. Those in group 1 are generally the cheapest to insure, while those in group 50 are the most expensive. Cars in group 1 tend to have good security and safety features, cheaper repair costs, smaller engine sizes and a low market value. By contrast, those in higher groups tend to have more powerful engines and are more expensive to repair.

Are there any other costs involved for car insurance for 17-year-olds?

Besides car insurance, there are several other costs 17-year-olds will need to factor in when running a car. These include:

Fuel

By the end of January 2024, it cost £77.17 to fill up a petrol Ford Fiesta, and £81.52 to fill up its diesel counterpart, according to the RAC Foundation. With the cost of petrol and diesel so high, so it’s worth trying to reduce your costs by car sharing where possible and driving your car more efficiently. You can do this by accelerating gently, reducing your speed and taking heavy items out of the car boot when you don’t need them. If you’re buying a car, it’s worth looking for one with good fuel consumption. 

Road tax

Also known as vehicle excise duty, you’ll need to pay this tax annually if you drive your car or keep it on a public road. The amount you pay will depend on the model of your car and when it was registered. A vehicle kept off the road must also be taxed or have a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN).

MOT test

If your car is over three years old, you must pay for an annual MOT test to ensure it’s safe to drive. This is a legal requirement, and the maximum price for a car’s MOT test is currently £54.85. Remember that your car insurance provider can void your policy and refuse to pay out in the event of a claim without an up-to-date MOT certificate, even if you’ve paid your premium.

General maintenance costs

As well as an MOT, you should also get your car serviced regularly to ensure everything works as expected and fix any problems early on. The Royal Automobile Club figures show a full service for a small-sized car costs £170 to £210, while a service for a medium-sized car costs £210 to £300.

Potential parking or residential permit costs

Depending on where you live, you might also have to pay for a resident parking permit, so be sure to factor this into your budget. According to Transport for London (TfL), council residents’ parking permits in controlled parking zones can cost £120 a year or more. Parking charges in public car parks can also add up. 

Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) charges

If you live in Greater London, check whether you must pay the daily £12.50 ULEZ charge. This will depend on the type of car you drive; you can check your vehicle on the TfL website. The Congestion Charge also applies if you drive in Central London during set hours, costing £15 a day.

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Frequently asked questions about car insurance for 17-year-olds

Car insurance is a legal requirement, regardless of your age. If you are caught driving while uninsured, you could receive a £300 fine and six penalty points on your licence.

For every year you don’t make a claim, you’ll build up a no-claims discount that will reduce the cost of your car insurance. Different insurers will have different maximum limits on how many years’ bonus you can obtain. 

Since your no-claims bonus is one of the best tools in your arsenal for keeping the cost of your cover down, you should do what you can to protect it. This could involve paying for small repairs instead of making a claim, or taking out no-claims bonus protection as an add-on (although this is normally only available once you’ve built at least a four year discount).

When comparing car insurance policies, several optional extras can be added to your policy. You’ll need to pay more for these, but some are worth considering. Breakdown cover, for example, will provide you with roadside assistance if you break down mid-journey, courtesy car cover will provide you with another car to drive if yours is in the garage for repairs, and legal expenses cover will cover legal fees if you’re involved in an accident that’s not your fault. If you want to drive abroad, you’ll also need driving abroad cover.

Connor Campbell

Finance Writer

Connor Campbell is an experienced personal and business finance writer who has been producing online content for almost a decade. 

Connor is the personal finance expert for Independent Advisor, guiding readers through everything they need to know about car insurance and home insurance. From how much it costs to the best insurance providers in the UK, he’s here to help you find the right policy for your needs. 

In his capacity as writer and spokesperson at NerdWallet, Connor explored a number of topics close to his heart, such as the impact of our increasingly cashless society, and the hardships and heroics of British entrepreneurs. His commentary was featured in sites such as The Mirror, the Daily Express and Business Insider

At financial trading firm Spreadex, meanwhile, his market commentary was featured in outlets such as The Guardian, BBC, Reuters and the Evening Standard

Connor is a voracious reader with an MA in English, and is dedicated to making life’s financial decisions a little bit easier by doing away with jargon and needless complexity.

Molly Dyson

Editor

After growing up with a passion for writing, Molly studied journalism and creative writing at university in her home country of the United States.

She has written for a variety of print and online publications, from small town newspapers to international magazines. Most of her 10-year career since relocating to the UK has been spent in business journalism, writing and editing for admin professionals at PA Life magazine and business travel managers at Business Travel News Europe and representing those titles at conferences around the world.

Now an Editor at the Independent Advisor, Molly is an expert in a broad range of consumer topics, that include solar panels and renewables, home improvements and home insurance, and consumer technology such as home security and VPNs.

In her free time, Molly can usually be found exploring the outdoors with her husband and their young son or gardening.