Young drivers - slash your premiums today!
If you're young, trying to get an affordable car insurance policy can be a nightmare. However, there are ways to get a decent premium, without breaking the bank - or the law.
I was a relatively late starter when it came to getting my driving licence. I started lessons while I was doing my A Levels but never got round to doing my test until after I had left University. As a result, I didn't actually pass - and have to worry about insurance premiums - until the age of 22.
But the cost took me by surprise.
Sure, I expected my premiums to be a bit higher as I was newly qualified and male, but crikey, I hadn't expected them to be so prohibitive. Who knew that driving a little Ford KA would cost me an arm and a leg!
It's a very serious problem for younger drivers though. New research from Parkers.co.uk has found that an increasing number of young drivers are being priced out of driving by the increasing costs of running a car.
£3000 for a 5-year-old Clio?!
And it's the insurance that is doing the damage. Third party, fire and theft premiums - those which 18-24 years olds typically take out, as they're cheaper - have gone up by 17% in 2009, to an average of £1059. However, younger drivers face a much higher cost - anything from £1200 to £3000 for a five-year old Renault Clio.
There is an obvious reason why policies for drivers in this age range face such mammoth bills.
Quite simply, they are more likely to be involved in an accident. That's why the insurance firms feel the need to charge such massive sums for insurance.
However, if you are a young driver - or more likely, if you are trying to help your kids with their car insurance - there are a number of things you can do to get those premiums a little lower.
Latch onto mum and dad
This is an easy way to ensure your premium is as low as possible.
While a policy will cost you a fortune if you are the only driver, if you are only an added driver on your parents' policy, it's miles cheaper.
It's a tactic that many of us employ. Research in October suggested around 2.5 million parents have their offspring on their car insurance policies, while the average age of a named driver has rocketed from 25 to 31 in the space of a year!
However, this is only an option if a parent really is the main driver of the car - otherwise you may be guilty of fronting, and risk your insurance company rejecting any potential claims. My colleague Rachel Robson, has written a terrific guide to what constitutes fronting, which is well worth a read.
Get a specialist deal
When looking for a new deal, make sure you check out some of the specialist deals aimed at younger drivers which can make a significant difference to how much you shell out in the end.
A great example is a policy from insurance broker Motaquote which launched recently. Aimed at drivers under 25, the policy offers holders a discount of up to 40% so long as they do not use their car between 11pm and 5am.
A GPS-style device called an i-kube is fitted to the car, which detects when the car is on the road. Should it be taken out between 11pm and 5am, it will still be insured, though the policy-holder will be charged a one-off fee of £45 per night.
The firm gives the example of an 18-year old male driving a Vauxhall Corsa, who could save up to £2,000 a year with this policy, compared to other insurers' offerings.
Get your Pass Plus qualification!
For most of us, once you pass your test, that's it - it's time to get driving. However, you can save some serious cash if you do a Pass Plus qualification after passing your test.
The course basically expands on what is needed to pass the original test, and covers things like driving at night, on dual carriageways, and motorways.
Because insurers have played a part in the design of the courses, drivers who pass it qualify for a discount from most major insurers. However, the exact size of the discount varies - while Direct Line is explicit with its offer of 5%, Endsleigh state drivers can cut their premium by up to 20%.
What is clear is that your premium will be lower if you get the qualification. For more information on the course, check out the official Pass Plus website.
Shop around for that policy!
When I first passed my test, my parents were very helpful in paying for my policy. However, I did a really daft thing when the time came to review my insurance - I just stuck with the exact same provider.
Goodness only knows how much I would have saved if I had put in a bit of legwork and shopped around for a decent alternative.
Luckily, you are in exactly the right place when it comes to shopping for car insurance as we have a very handy search engine which will help you sift through loads of different quotes to find the best deal for you.
In fact no matter what age you are, it always pays to keep abreast of what you could be paying. My colleague Neil Faulkner has explained there are 305 compelling reasons to compare car insurance - can you afford not to?
Lovemoney.com can help!
If you are in need of some guidance on getting a better car insurance deal, then lovemoney.com can help in a range of ways.
First of all, why not follow the tips in our goal: Slash your insurance costs
Next, take a look at this video: Beating the renewal quote is nothing to shout about
And finally, if you have any queries on how to get a great car insurance deal, why not head over to our Q&A section and ask a question there?