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New driver insurance UK guide

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Whether you’re buying your first car or looking to borrow someone else’s, if you’ve just passed your test you need car insurance.

Unfortunately, new driver insurance can be quite expensive due to your lack of driving experience. But having cover in your name will enable you to build up a no-claims bonus (NCB), which can mean access to cheap car insurance in the future.

What is new driver insurance?

New driver insurance is car insurance suitable for people who have recently passed their driving test. New drivers can apply for standard car insurance or specialised products designed for new or young drivers. 

What level of car insurance do new drivers need?

Whatever type of car insurance you choose, it’s important to understand the different types of car insurance and what is covered by each type.

  • Third party: this is the minimum level of cover you legally need. It covers damage to other people’s vehicles and property, and injuries suffered by other people. However, if you cause an accident, third party insurance won’t cover damage to your own car or your injuries. It also won’t pay out if your car is stolen or damaged by a fire
  • Third party fire and theft:  if you take out third party, fire and theft insurance, it’ll include third party cover but will also payout if your car is damaged or destroyed by fire, or stolen
  • Fully comprehensive: the highest level of car insurance, fully comprehensive, covers third party, fire and theft, but it also includes damage to your own car and your own injuries. This means you can claim for repairs to your car after an accident and your own medical expenses, even if the accident was your fault. A full comp policy might also include cover for vandalism and legal expenses

What is the cost of car insurance for new drivers?

It can be tricky to find cheap insurance for new drivers. This is because young or new drivers are statistically more likely to be involved in an accident due to their lack of driving experience.

For example, the average annual car insurance policy for a new driver who has held a licence for less than 12 months cost £1,767.49.[1] That’s based on policies purchased from MoneySuperMarket in February 2024.

However, if you’re a safe driver that makes minimal claims, you can expect your premium to fall significantly as you gain experience:

What affects the cost of my new driver car insurance?

How much new drivers pay for car insurance will depend on various factors, including:

  • Age: not all new drivers are young drivers; the older you are, the less your insurance will cost when compared to a new driver under the age of 25
  • Location: getting insurance in certain areas, such as London, costs more than others
  • Overnight parking: if you park on the street, you’ll pay more than if you park overnight in a garage or private driveway
  • Job title: certain job titles face higher premiums than others, depending on their risk profile
  • Excess: the more you pay as an excess, the cheaper your premium will be
  • Car make and model: the higher your car’s insurance group, the more it will cost to get cover. However, the inverse is also true; pick a car in a lower insurance group, and you can often get cheaper cover
  • Car value: the more your car is worth, the more it’ll cost to fix, so the more you’ll pay for cover
  • Mileage: the higher your average annual mileage, the more you’ll pay for insurance, as it’s more likely you’ll have an accident

Why is new driver insurance so expensive?

New driver insurance usually costs more than learner driver insurance. Learner drivers on a provisional licence are always driving under supervision, which means they are less risky for insurers.

New drivers who have passed their test can drive alone – but a lack of experience means this demographic presents a higher insurance risk. For example, according to the Association of British Insurers (ABI), drivers aged 17 to 24 only make up 7 per cent of UK licence holders and drive fewer miles than average, but this age group is involved in 24 per cent of all fatal collisions.[2]

This also means that younger drivers – who make up the largest portion of new drivers – have been hit the hardest by rising car insurance costs. The latest data from Consumer Intelligence shows that quoted premiums rose 73.1 per cent for under-25s in the year to November 2023, compared to 57.2 per cent for drivers over-50.[3]

11 ways to get cheap insurance for new drivers

Some cars are more expensive to insure than others, so it pays to research quotes for different vehicles before purchasing a second-hand or new car. (Adobe)

We’ve compiled top tips for how you can try and reduce the cost of your cover, and get the cheapest car insurance for new drivers available. 

1. Don’t auto-renew

When you’ve had your own car insurance policy for a year, your insurer will send you a renewal quote – but you don’t have to accept this. Instead, compare prices elsewhere and make sure you state you have a NCB if yours is still intact.

It’s best to buy car insurance about three or four weeks before your renewal is due – studies show that drivers who leave it until the day their insurance is due for renewal could pay more

2. Shop around for cover

Use a price comparison site to compare new driver car insurance quotes from different insurers. Premiums can vary considerably for new drivers, as some insurers are keen to have these customers while others purposefully price themselves out of the market.

3. Choose a car in a low insurance group

When buying your first car check which insurance group your intended purchase falls into. All cars are categorised into insurance groups from one to 50 – the more powerful and expensive your car, the higher the insurance group and the more you’ll pay. Cars such as the Fiat Panda, Ford Ka Plus or Nissan Micra are in Group 1, and so are the cheapest to insure. If an older or second-hand car is purchased, the insurance premium might be lower as a result of the lower value of the car itself. However, this won’t apply universally.

4 Increase your voluntary excess

The excess on your policy is the amount you’ll need to pay towards any claim. All policies have a compulsory excess; adding a voluntary excess too can lower your premium.

5. Pay premiums annually

If you can afford to, it’s best to pay your car insurance premium in one go each year. Most insurers offer the option to pay monthly, but this works out more expensive.

6. Add the right named driver

As a new driver, you can add someone with more driving experience as a named driver to bring down the cost of your cover. This is because it signals to the provider that you as a riskier driver won’t always be behind the wheel.

7. Drive less

You’ll need to state your estimated annual mileage when you buy car insurance. It might be tricky to estimate this figure as a new driver but bear in mind that low mileage means fewer chances of an accident, and, in turn, lower premiums.

8. Avoid modifications

Insurers don’t like modifications, such as spoilers and tinted windows – these changes to your car will result in higher premiums. 

9. Install security measures

Having an immobiliser or tracker in your car can reduce your insurance premium as there is less chance of it being stolen and an increased chance of recovery if it is. Dash cams can be useful to prove what happened in the event of an accident.

10. Drive carefully

It’s important for new drivers to build up a no-claims bonus (NCB) – you can do this by driving carefully and not making any claims on your policy. A NCB means your insurance will be cheaper when it’s up for renewal. Keeping a clean licence will help too, as speeding and motoring convictions mean paying more for insurance. 

11. Take Pass Plus

This is an advanced driving course which teaches drivers to improve their skills and drive more safely. Once you’ve completed Pass Plus and got a Pass Plus certificate, you will qualify for a discount from some insurers.

Specialist car insurance for new drivers

You don’t have to take out a standard annual car insurance policy as a new driver. There are a number of specialist options that could either save you money, or better suit your needs:

Black box insurance

With a telematics or black box car insurance policy, your insurer will monitor your driving habits via a device fitted in your car. Drive well and you’ll get cheaper cover.

Named driver insurance

New drivers can reduce their car insurance premiums by adding an adult (for instance, one or both of their parents) as a ‘named driver’ on their policy. However, it’s important to be honest about who actually drives the car the most – lying to get cheaper premiums is known as ‘fronting’ and is illegal.

Temporary car insurance

If you only need to drive in short bursts, you could consider temporary car insurance. This will allow you to take out insurance for as little to one hour, up to a few months. Importantly, if you were to get in an accident, it wouldn’t affect the no-claims bonus of the car owner.

Pay-as-you-go car insurance

Sometimes called pay-per-mile insurance, this type of policy charges you a set rate for insurance for each mile you drive. Your distance is measured by a telematics device in your car. Pay-as-you-go car insurance can work out good value for occasional drivers, but might be costly if you need to ramp up your mileage 

Low-mileage car insurance

An alternative to pay-per-mile insurance, if you drive less than 6,000 to 7,500 miles a year, you could consider a low-mileage car insurance policy. These policies are typically cheaper than standard cover, as it indicates you are on the road less, and therefore a lower accident risk.

James Daley circle

“It might be worth considering getting a telematics policy, where the insurer instals a box in your car to track your driving. If you drive sensibly, you should start to see some financial reward for this. If you’re only planning on driving occasionally, it may make sense to avoid an annual policy altogether. A new breed of insurers offers cover by the day or even by the hour. If you do have your own car and will be the main driver, it’s important not to let your parent put themselves as the main driver on the policy. This is called “fronting” and is illegal. It could invalidate your insurance altogether if the insurer finds out.”

Additional cover options for new drivers

Car insurance policies vary regarding what they cover for new drivers. Some of the things below will be covered as standard on new driver insurance policies, while others can be covered for an extra fee.

When choosing a car insurance policy as a new driver, think about the additional cover options that will be most useful for you:

  • Breakdown cover: the most basic breakdown cover is ‘roadside assistance’ whereby a mechanic will help if you breakdown on the road, but not at your home. More comprehensive breakdown cover includes breaking down at home, and may include onward travel to your destination including hire cars and hotels
  • Courtesy car cover: a courtesy car is one you’re given by your insurance company while your car is being repaired following an accident. It can be a lifesaver if you use your car everyday, but might not be worth it if you have access to another car or don’t drive much
  • Keys cover: this covers the costs of replacing and reprogramming lost or stolen car keys. Replacement keys for old-style cars normally cost about £200 but remote or keyless entry to a more modern car could cost up to £1,000
  • Wrong fuel cover: mis-fuelling cover will pay for the cost of draining and cleaning your tank, or the cost of repairs, if you put diesel in a petrol car or petrol in a diesel car
  • No-claims discount protection: this is an optional cover which protects your no claims discount (NCD) from one (or more) ‘at fault’ claim each year. New drivers without a NCD won’t need this in their first year of driving, but it’s useful after you have built up several years’ NCB
  • Legal expenses cover: if you take out motor legal protection, you’ll usually be covered for up to £100,000 in legal costs if you’re involved in an accident that’s not your fault. This may include personal injury, excess recovery and loss of earnings
  • Windscreen cover: this covers damages to your car’s windscreen, including repairing chips and cracks as well as full replacements. Chips can often turn into bigger cracks so it’s worth getting them fixed. New drivers should be aware that it can be illegal to drive with a cracked windscreen if you can’t see the road properly
icons8-did-you-know-64

Did you know?

If you’re caught driving with a cracked windscreen, you could face three penalty points on your licence and a fine of up to £2,500.

What information do I need to get first time driver insurance?

When you’re looking to get new driver car insurance, you’ll likely need to have the following to hand to compare quotes:

  1. Gather your details 
    You’ll need:
    Your vehicle registration number (number plate)
    Your estimated annual mileage
    Where you park
    Your name, DOB and address
    Your driving licence number
    Any medical conditions
  2. Choose your policy
    You’ll need to decide on:
    What level of cover you want
    Any named drivers
    Your voluntary excess
    Optional extras
    Paying annually vs monthly
  3. Compare car insurance quotes
    Once you’ve put in the relevant information, you can compare new driver insurance. Make sure to consider price, the level of cover you need, and any additional extras you want to add on.

How to compare new driver insurance

Admiral have stated that the cheapest car for a 17 to 25 year old to insure is a Peugeot 108. (Adobe)

Here’s what to look for when comparing new driver car insurance quotes:

Factors to considerWhat it means
Level of coverThird party/ third party fire and theft/ fully comprehensive
PremiumAnnual cost of the policy
Total excessAmount the policyholder pays in the event of a claim
Optional extrasAdd-ons such as legal expenses, windscreen cover and personal belongings
Courtesy carA car you can drive while yours is being repaired in the event of a claim
Breakdown coverAssistance if your car breaks down on the road/at home
Legal expensesFinancial protection against legal fees if you’re involved in an accident that’s not your fault. For instance, personal injury, excess recovery, loss of earnings
Personal accidentProvides you or your family with financial support if you’re injured or die in an accident
TelematicsA black box fitted in your car to monitor your driving

Which providers offer specialist new driver insurance?

All mainstream insurers offer cover to new drivers. There are also a number of specialists who focus on new drivers. These include:

  • A-Plan: designed for young drivers aged 17 to 27 insured on their parent’s car. Running alongside the parents’ car insurance, A-Plan uses black box technology to help new drivers develop safe driving skills and start earning their own NCB
  • Bell: part of car insurance giant Admiral, Bell offers telematics insurance for new and young drivers. Unlike most other telematics policies, the black box only needs to be fitted for the first six months of the policy.[4] If you are considered a safe driver after this time, you’ll get a discount on your premium
  • Carrot: uses telematics to offer a Safe Driver policy to reward drivers with a discount on future insurance after a year of safe driving. Drivers can also earn Carrot Points, which can be swapped for high street vouchers
  • Churchill: part of the Direct Line Group, Churchill offers DriveSure telematics insurance cover for new and young drivers. The policy offers an upfront discount in your first year after you’ve passed your test
  • Marmalade: specialises in drivers aged 17 to 34, and offers a 10 per cent discount to drivers who previously had learner insurance with the provider.[5]  Marmalade offers new driver insurance, telematics insurance, named driver cover and pay-as-you-go insurance

8 tips to stay safe as a new driver

  1. Use a P plate: by replacing your L plates with a green ‘probationary’ P plate, you can signal to other motorists that you’ve only recently passed your test, and to give you the space you need to drive safely
  2. Get to know your car: there’s a good chance you learned to drive in your instructor’s car. So you’ll now need to familiarise yourself with the vehicle you’ll be driving regularly. Looking through the manual is a good place to start
  3. Practise as much as you can: you won’t want to let your driving skills get rusty. So practising as much as you can, including on motorways and in bad weather, is vital to building your confidence
  4. Drive defensively: when you’re out on the roads, it’s best to drive defensively. That means maintaining an awareness of your surroundings and other drivers by constantly using your mirrors, regularly checking you’re at the correct speed, and making sure you’re in the right gear  
  5. Remember the two-second rule: the best way to make sure you’re leaving the right amount of distance between you and the car in front is by sticking to the “two-second rule”. That means leaving a two-second gap between you and the vehicle in front – or more in wet or icy conditions
  6. Minimise distractions: turning off the radio, not playing any music from your phone, and avoiding in-car calls are all ways you can ensure your focus is firmly on driving safely 
  7. Avoid trips with friends: although one of the first things you might want to do when passing your test is go on a trip with your friends, it’ll be safer if you wait until you have a bit more experience and confidence behind the wheel
  8. Check in with the Highway Code: you can easily miss new updates or forget essential road safety knowledge if you don’t revisit the Highway Code every now and then. In fact, we found that more than half (51 per cent) of drivers would fail their theory test if they had to retake it today[6]

Frequently asked questions about new driver insurance

Assuming you don’t make any claims, your car insurance should get cheaper each year as you get older, and also as you build a NCB. Some telematics policies will lower your monthly premium if you have driven well the previous month.

Legally, you’re considered a new driver for the 24 months after you first pass your test. During this period, you’re on probation – if you get six or more penalty points, your licence will be cancelled.

New drivers can be added to other people’s car insurance policies as a ‘named driver’. However, adding a new driver to their policy could result in paying more for cover as inexperienced drivers present a higher risk to the insurer.

Telematics insurance can sometimes be a good value option, but it won’t necessarily be the cheapest car insurance for new drivers. It depends when (the time of day) and how well you drive. When comparing car insurance quotes, you should look at both standard and telematics car insurance policies.

Some insurers offer a discount if you take an advanced driving course such as IAM RoadSmart’s Advanced Driver Course or the DVLA-endorsed Pass Plus course. But this doesn’t necessarily mean that the discounted premium will be the cheapest option for you – you should still carry out a full car insurance quote comparison to find the best value deal.

In order to drive other cars on your insurance, your policy will need to include the ‘driving other cars’ benefit. If it does, you’ll be able to drive someone else’s car, only if you have their permission, with third party cover only. 

You normally need to be over the age of 25 to have driving other cars cover, so many new drivers won’t be eligible.

The excess is the amount you have to contribute to the cost of a claim. Normally there’ll be a compulsory excess, which is set by your provider, and a voluntary excess, which you set yourself at the start of your policy. Younger and newer drivers may have to pay an additional excess, depending on the provider.

For every year you have a car insurance policy and don’t make a claim, you’ll build up a no-claims bonus. This will give you a percentage discount on your next policy. This discount will grow for each year you fail to make a claim. Some providers will have a maximum limit on the no-claims discount you can build.

If you make a claim, you will lose some, but not necessarily all, of your no-claims bonus, depending on how long it has been built up. 

If you switch providers, you may be asked for proof of your no-claims bonus. You can normally get this from your previous/current insurer.

emma lunn

Emma Lunn

Money Writer

Emma Lunn is a multi-award winning journalist who specialises in personal finance and consumer issues. 

With more than 18 years’ experience in personal finance, Emma has covered topics including mortgages, first-time buyers, leasehold, banking, debt, budgeting, broadband, energy, pensions and investments. 

Emma’s one of the most prolific freelance personal finance journalists with a back catalogue of work in newspapers such as The Guardian, The Independent, The Daily Telegraph, the Mail on Sunday, and the Mirror. 

As a freelancer she has also completed various in-house contracts at The Guardian, The Independent, Mortgage Solutions, Orange, and Moneywise. She also writes regularly for specialist magazines and websites such as Property Hub, Mortgage Strategy and YourMoney.com. 

She has a real passion for helping people learn about money – especially when many people are struggling to get by in today’s challenging economic climate – and prides herself on simplifying complex subjects.

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.