Getting the right insurance cover is one of the biggest expenses you will face as a new driver. Many new drivers will get their first insurance as a named driver on their parent’s policy and will only get to drive the car occasionally. If you are lucky enough to get your own vehicle, there are lots of insurance options to consider.
Types Of Insurance
- Third Party Only – Provides cover for causing collisional injury or death to other people and is usually limited at £20 million for collisional damage to other people’s property. This excludes damage to your own vehicle.
- Third Party Fire and Theft – The cover is the same as Third Party only, but is extended to cover your vehicle in the event of an electrical fire or its theft.
- Fully Comprehensive – The cover includes Third Party Fire and Theft as well as cover for damage to your vehicle in the event of a collision. Windscreen cover is typically included.
Classes Of Use
- Social, Domestic and Pleasure – This provides cover for the named drivers for social, domestic and pleasure use only, so a trip to the shops or a friend’s is covered.
- Social, Domestic, Pleasure & Commuting – This covers the drive to and from a permanent place of work including to a train station or park and ride venue where the driver continues their journey on public transport.
- Business & Commercial Use – If you intend to use a vehicle for more than simply commuting to your work, then you will require either a commercial policy or cover for business use. It is best to speak to a broker or your insurance company about how you will be using the vehicle so they can arrange the correct level of cover.
- No Claims Bonus/Discount – No Claims Bonus (NCB) is a discount given by an insurer to policyholders who do not claim on their policy. The NCB increases annually and reduces the cost of your premium. The NCB is earned by an individual, not a vehicle, and cannot be transferred to another person. Typically when you have earned 5 years NCB you can protect it by paying a little extra. It is well worth the money if should you be involved in an collision.
- Excesses – The excess is the amount you pay if you are making a claim from your own policy. You will pay this to the insurer before they pay the remainder.
Where To Buy
- Brokers – There are many insurance brokers operating in Northern Ireland who compare the market for you and can provide impartial advice. For a list of brokers and their contact details, please see the Featured Brokers post in the Buying & Insurance Section.
- Direct Insurers – This is where you get a policy directly from the insurance company. If you get a quote this will be only from this insurance company, so it is best to compare with alternative insurers.
- Aggregators – Aggregators compare the prices from a range of insurance providers on an online website. Once you enter your details you will be offered a range of options with the cheapest quote appearing at the top. You will need to be very careful when using aggregators as the terms and conditions of each policy will differ. Make sure you are comparing policy’s that are like for like.
How Do Insurance Companies Decide On What You Pay
The main rating factors that influence the price of your insurance are:
- Your address & where the vehicle is kept – You must always be honest with your insurer and provide the correct address where the vehicle is kept. Insurance company records show that some post code areas have a higher claims ratio than others. If you park the vehicle in a driveway or locked in a garage, this reduces the risk of theft.
- Your profession – Some professions carry a higher risk of large claims than others. It is important to truthfully declare what you do for a living, if you are not paying a premium commensurate with the risk you pose to the insurer they may refuse to pay your claim.
- Mileage – The more time you spend on the road the more likely you are to have, or to cause, an incident, meaning that your premium will increase the more you drive. As with all the risk information you supply, you should be as accurate as possible when telling your insurer what your annual mileage is.
- Your age – Young drivers are particularly costly for insurers to cover as the number of collisions they have had historically is high. There are fewer insurance companies who want to insure young drivers because of the perceived risk. Insurance premiums fall as you gain more experience.
- The vehicles insurance group – Cars with smaller engine sizes are typically cheaper to insure, for example a 1 or 1.2 litre car. Insurers also calculate the insurance group based on the cost of repairing your vehicle, the price of parts and labour.