Getting your first car as a young person can give you more freedom and independence, but it’s important to consider the financial aspects of getting on the road.
Additional costs such as road tax, MOTs, servicing and in particular, car insurance, can quickly add up. Insuring your car is mandatory and can be pricey as a young driver, so it’s definitely something you’ll need to factor into your budget when you plan to buy your first car. Here are three important things you should know about car insurance as a young driver.
1. Car insurance is more expensive for young drivers
Young drivers are more likely to be involved in a car accident than experienced drivers, which means insurers will charge higher premiums. In 2022, drivers aged between 17 and 24 were most commonly responsible for serious and fatal road traffic collisions in Northern Ireland according to police data. The same statistics show that drivers aged 17 to 24 were responsible for 23% of all collisions, both serious and minor.
The main reason for the increased risk of accidents is that new drivers simply don’t have as much experience in identifying and responding to hazards. One in five new drivers crash within one year of passing their driving test due to inexperience, while speeding and carelessness are also major causes of the high accident rate among young drivers.
2. A black box could save you money
Black box or telematics insurance monitors how often and how safely you drive. Speed, acceleration, braking, and cornering are all recorded by the black box and reported back to the insurer. If you prove your ability to drive safely, you can enjoy lower premiums and even bonus discounts, but the premiums could also increase should you develop reckless driving habits.
You must be as honest as possible about your driving habits when you buy black box insurance because your mileage will be monitored. You won’t be penalised for exceeding your estimated annual mileage to a certain extent, but if it’s clear that you’ve dramatically misled your insurer about your mileage, your insurance could be void if you need to make a claim.
3. The car you drive can have a big impact on premiums
Cars are placed into insurance groups ranging between 1 and 50, with the lowest numbers being the cheapest vehicles to insure. Group rating scores are determined by a range of factors, including acceleration time, top speed, security equipment, parts pricing, trim levels, and more. Generally, the smaller and less expensive a car is, the cheaper it is to insure. If you’re yet to buy a vehicle as a young driver and want to get on the road as cheaply as possible, it’s worth choosing a car with a low insurance group rating.
The age of your vehicle also impacts premiums. Brand new cars are more expensive to insure because they’re more valuable and more expensive to repair or replace, whereas cars that are between five and ten years old are the cheapest group to insure. Premiums rise again on cars aged 10 years or more due to old safety features and rare parts that are expensive to replace.
Take time choosing an insurance policy
Young drivers insurance can be expensive, but when you take the time to shop around it’s possible to find a policy that fits your needs without breaking the bank.
For more information and access to the New Driver NI magazine see www.newdriverni.com.
If you would like New Driver NI to visit your school for a Safe Motoring presentation please contact Emma Duffy on 078 9995 2808 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.