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Young driver insurance guide

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When you’re young, getting a car can unlock a world of possibilities. But it comes at a cost, as young driver insurance is typically the most expensive kind of cover you can get. Fortunately, there are still ways to find cheaper car insurance quotes for young drivers, as we explain in this guide.

What is young driver insurance?

Young driver insurance is car insurance suitable for drivers aged 17 to 24. It’s not a specialist policy or a separate product, but it’s usually more expensive than other car insurance types. This is because young drivers are considered more of a risk for insurance providers due to their lack of driving experience. 

Car insurance for young drivers works in the same way as other car insurance types and is designed to protect you financially if you are involved in a road accident. Your exact cover levels will depend on the policy type you choose and what your chosen provider offers.

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What cover is available for young drivers?

There are three main types of cover available for young drivers. It’s important to consider each one carefully before choosing what works best for you. 

  • Third party only: this is the legal minimum requirement for drivers. It’s also the most basic level of cover, as it will only cover injuries to other people or damage to their car or property. Damage to your own car or any injuries you suffer in an accident will not be covered
  • Third party, fire and theft: this is the next level up and includes third party cover, as well as cover for your own car if it’s damaged by fire or stolen 
  • Fully comprehensive: this is the highest level of car insurance available. It covers you for everything included in a third party, fire and theft policy, as well as damage to your own car and any injuries to you or your passengers if you’re involved in an accident. It might also offer cover for vandalism and legal expenses. Although this offers the best protection, it won’t necessarily be more expensive than third party cover, as more people with third party cover tend to claim on their insurance. It’s worth comparing all of the above options to be sure you’re getting the right deal

Can I get additional cover as a young driver?

On top of your base policy, you can increase your cover by including a range of optional extras.

Make sure you choose these carefully, however, as you’ll usually pay more for this cover. Depending on your provider, and what is already included in your level of cover, you might be able to choose from:

  • Windscreen cover: covers the cost of replacing a cracked or chipped windscreen
  • Personal belongings cover: pays out if belongings left in the car are lost, stolen or damaged
  • Breakdown cover: offers roadside assistance if your car breaks down
  • Driving abroad cover: provides cover for driving your car in countries outside the UK
  • Replacement key cover: pays out for the cost of replacing a set of lost or stolen keys
  • Courtesy car cover: offers a temporary replacement courtesy car if yours is being repaired following an accident
  • Misfuelling cover: covers the cost of draining and flushing your fuel tank if you accidentally fill up your car with the wrong type of fuel
  • Legal expenses cover: also known as motor legal protection, this will typically cover up to £100,000 in legal costs if you need to pursue uninsured losses following non-fault accident

How much does young driver insurance cost?

The bad news is that, as a young driver, you’ll be paying some of the most expensive premiums around. The good news is that, if you’re a careful driver, that premium should only get cheaper year-on-year. 

For example, the average annual comprehensive car insurance policy costs £1,690.85 for drivers aged 17 to 19, compared to £1,150.01 for drivers between 20 and 29. That’s a 32 per cent reduction in the average premium between age brackets. 

Meanwhile, for drivers aged 50 to 59, premiums fall as low as £438.26. That’s based on policies purchased from MoneySuperMarket in February 2024.[1] 

Age bracketAverage annual premium[2]Percentage change as you age[3]
17 to 19£1,690.85N/A
20 to 29£1,150.01-32 per cent
30 to 39£710.22-38.2 per cent
40 to 49£568.02-20 per cent
50 to 59£438.26-22.8 per cent
60-plus£398.53-9.1 per cent

Why is young driver insurance expensive?

Your car insurance will likely cost more if you’re between 17 and 24 because drivers in this age range are less experienced on the road and are statistically more likely to cause more expensive accidents compared to older drivers.

According to the most recent data from the ABI, in 2022 the average claim made by drivers aged 17 to 20 cost £6,651 – almost £800 more expensive than the second highest age group, drivers aged 86 to 90.[4]

Younger drivers are also more likely to make a claim. In 2022 nearly 8.8 per cent of policies taken out by 17 to 20 year olds saw a claim made, easily more than any other demographic.[5]

Insurers have to mitigate this increased risk by charging higher premiums. However, the exact cost of young driver insurance will also depend on factors such as your occupation, the type of car you own, your driving habits, your car’s security and your car’s mileage.  

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Did you know?

One in five drivers (20 per cent) crash within a year of passing their test and more than 1,500 young drivers are killed or seriously injured on UK roads each year, according to Brake.[6]

11 tips for getting the cheapest car insurance for young drivers

Although it can be hard to find cheap car insurance for young drivers, there are a number of ways you can reduce the amount you pay for your premiums. We’ve put together the following tips to help you find the cheapest car insurance as a young driver available:  

  1. Don’t auto-renew: when you’re coming to the end of your car insurance policy, don’t allow it to auto-renew. Instead, compare young driver insurance with Independent Advisor
  2. Compare car insurance quotes: to ensure you’re getting the best deal available, it is always worth comparing the widest range of quotes you can before settling on a policy
  3. Consider a specialist policy: whether it’s telematics, temporary, or pay-as-you-go car insurance, you may benefit from taking out a specialist policy instead of standard car insurance
  4. Choose your job title carefully: you might pay more for your car insurance if an insurer classes your job as higher risk than others.   While it’s important to be honest about your occupation so you don’t invalidate your insurance, it’s possible to alter your job title slightly when you run a quote to see whether it affects the amount you pay
  5. Add an experienced named driver to policy: adding a more experienced driver, such as a parent, as a ‘named driver’ to a young person’s policy can reduce premiums. However, it’s crucial to be honest about who does most of the driving in the car
  6. Increase your excess: selecting a higher voluntary excess generally means you’ll pay less for your car insurance policy, but it’s important to make sure it’s affordable
  7. Pay for your premium upfront: paying for your car insurance in one go on an annual basis will be cheaper than paying in monthly instalments, when interest is usually added. If you can afford to, always select an annual policy
  8. Limit your mileage: Your insurer will ask you to state your estimated annual mileage when you buy car insurance, so try to keep this low if you can. However, it’s important to be honest with your estimate, otherwise you risk invalidating your policy
  9. Purchase the right safety add-ons: generally, the more safety features – such as dash cams and immobilisers – your car includes, the lower your premium will be. Note that other forms of modification, such as spoilers or tinted windows, are viewed negatively by insurers and can push your premiums up
  10. Build your no-claims bonus: for each year you don’t make a claim on your car insurance, you can usually build up a no-claims bonus (NCB), which means your car insurance will be cheaper at renewal time
  11. Consider a car in a lower insurance group: if you’re buying a car, check which insurance group the vehicle falls into. All cars belong to one of 50 car insurance groups, with those in Group 1 being the cheapest to insure and those in Group 50 being the most expensive
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Types of insurance that help young drivers save money

There are certain types of car insurance that are designed to help young drivers save money. These are outlined below.

Telematics insurance

With telematics or black box car insurance, a black box tracker is fitted to your car so your insurance provider can monitor your driving. Insurers will be tracking your speed, how sharply you brake, the time of day or night you drive, as well as how far and where you drive. Insurers then use this data to adjust your premiums accordingly. Someone who sticks to the speed limit and drives during quieter times and on quiet roads, for example, will pay less compared to someone who drives fast at night or during rush hour on busy roads. Some insurers might adjust your premiums every month, while others will offer a discount at renewal.

Benefits of telematics insurance:

  • You could be rewarded with a lower premium if you drive carefully 
  • Black boxes can help make you a better driver and help prove who was at fault if you’re in an accident

Short-term car insurance

Short-term or temporary car insurance is a flexible way to get cover for a short period of time. Policies can last for as little as one hour and up to around 30 days, although some policies will last up to three months. This can be helpful (and potentially cheaper) if you’re using someone else’s car to learn to drive or if you’re at university and only need to use a car when you are home for the holidays. Policies include cover for loss, theft, fire or vandalism, legal liability, personal accident costs and legal expenses. 

Benefits of short-term car insurance:

  • Flexible cover option if you only drive from time to time
  • Can work out cheaper if you’re borrowing someone’s car to learn to drive

Pay-as-you-go car insurance

With pay-as-you-go car insurance, also known as pay-per-mile insurance, a device tracks the number of miles you drive. You’re then billed at a pre-agreed rate depending on the number of miles or number of hours you’ve racked up. 

This can make it a much cheaper option if you don’t drive far or if you don’t drive on a regular basis – for example, if you sometimes drive your parent’s car. An additional fixed cost will also cover your car while it’s parked. Fully comprehensive cover is usually offered as standard and you can still build up your NCB.

Benefits of pay-as-you-go car insurance:

  • You only pay for the miles or hours you drive, making it cheaper for those who drive infrequently
  • Fixed cost protects the car while it’s parked

Named driver insurance

Being added as a named driver to another driver’s (typically a parent’s) policy can be a lot cheaper than taking out a separate policy for a young driver. However, as a named driver, you must drive the car less often than the main driver, otherwise you could be found guilty of something called fronting, which is illegal. Alternatively, you could add a more experienced driver to your own car insurance policy to reduce the cost. In this case, you (as the main driver) must drive the car more frequently than the named driver.

Benefits of being added as a named driver:

  • A quick and easy way to reduce premiums 
  • You can start to earn your own no claims discount

Best cars to insure for young drivers

One of the biggest decisions you’ll make as a young driver is picking which car to insure. That’s why we’ve created an index to work out the best car for drivers aged between 17 and 27. 

This Gen Z car index looks at the median second-hand price when buying the car, the cost of insurance, its fuel efficiency in miles per gallon (mpg), and its Euro NCAP safety rating. From that, we calculated a Gen Z suitability score out of 10. 

RankModel[7]Second-hand price[8]Insurance cost per year with parents on policy[9]Insurance cost per year without parents on policy[10]Fuel efficiency in mpg[11]Gen Z suitability  score (out of 10)[12]
1Citroën C1£2,648£2,081£2,658698.89
2Vauxhall Corsa£2,127£2,495£2,758558.59
3Renault Clio£2,273£3,099£3,717608.58
4Smart Fortwo£2,997£2,269£2,510698.49
5Honda Jazz£2,997£2,988£3,579638.41
6Nissan Note£3,273£2,526£2,792688.40
7Toyota Yaris£3,299£2,589£2,863638.38
8Vauxhall Meriva£2,873£2,541£2,809578.29
9Peugeot 208£3,995£2,522£2,787597.89
10Renault Megane£2,493£3,111£3,702517.22

Overall, the Citroën C1 came out on top, in large part thanks to its fuel efficiency rating and the fact it was the cheapest for young drivers to insure if they added a parent as a named driver. Without parents, the cheapest car to insure was the Smart Fortwo. 

The Vauxhall Corsa, meanwhile, was the cheapest of the top 10 to actually purchase, with a median second-hand price of £2,127.

How to get a young driver insurance quote

When you’re looking to get car insurance as a young driver, 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 have put in the relevant information, you can compare young driver insurance. Make sure to consider price, the level of cover you need, and any additional extras you want to add on.

Frequently asked questions about young driver insurance

Depending on the provider, you may need to pay an additional excess for being below a certain age (usually 25 years old), or for having your licence for less than 12 months. This will be on top of the standard compulsory excess and your chosen voluntary excess.

The cheapest car insurance group is Group 1. There are 50 insurance groups, and group one is the cheapest, while group 50 is the most expensive. Cars in group one tend to have good security and safety features, are cheap to repair, have a low market value and a smaller engine size.

Depending on the insurer, this will be when you are over 24 or 25. Generally, young drivers are considered to be between the ages of 17 to 24.

As long as you’re a safe driver and you don’t make any claims, your car insurance should become lower each year you drive. For example, the average annual car insurance policy for 20 to 29 year olds was just over 34 per cent cheaper than the average premium for 17 to 19 year olds, based on policies purchased through MoneySuperMarket in January 2024.

If you take a driving course, you probably won’t save a huge amount on your insurance costs, but it can still be good practice, as it can help you to improve your driving skills. Some insurers offer a discount if you take an advanced driving course such as IAM RoadSmart’s Advanced Driver Course or the Pass Plus course. However, it’s still important to shop around and compare quotes elsewhere, even if you qualify for this discount.

If you intend to drive your car at any point, even if it’s infrequently, you’ll need some kind of car insurance, whether that’s an annual policy or temporary cover. 

However, if you don’t intend to use your car for a significant period of time, you can register it as ‘off road’ using a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN). Once you’ve issued a SORN, you wouldn’t need to have car insurance.

It is possible to add your child to your car insurance policy as a named driver. This can make it much cheaper for young drivers to get on the road. However, you’ll be committing car insurance fraud if you add your child as a named driver and they’re actually the main driver of the car that’s been insured. This is called fronting.

You’ll need to report an accident to your insurance provider whether you want to make a claim or not. Your provider will list its contact details online and in your insurance policy documents.

You should make a note of as many details as you can following an accident and keep any receipts or documents that can support your claim.

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.