New driver costs
Just passed your driving test? Congratulations! Check out some useful information below on new driver costs and what to be aware of when shopping for car insurance.
Why is it so expensive for young and first time drivers?
Well, it all comes down to risk. Inexperienced drivers are seen as a big risk for insurers; and the greater the risk, the more drivers pay for insurance.
Inexperience means new drivers are less likely to spot hazards and young drivers' youth can mean they're more likely to take risks. Statistically, within the first 12 months of passing their test, one in five new drivers are involved in a crash.
Other costs associated with driving
Car insurance isn't the only cost associated with driving. Not only are there things you must obtain for your car to be legal on the road, but there are also the running costs to consider. So, what else do you have to budget for?
This is officially known as VED but is sometimes referred to as road tax. It's a legal requirement for all paid vehicles registered in the UK that are driven or kept on a public road. The cost of the car tax will depend on how environmentally friendly your car is, so it can be anything from £0 to £1,000.
The MOT is a yearly test for all cars over three years old. To ensure the car is safe and roadworthy, law states your car must pass the MOT. The government set a standard cost of £54.85, meaning garages can't charge more than this but many will charge less.
One of the biggest running car costs is for fuel and the price of fuel fluctuates so it's always worth keeping an eye on the prices and finding the cheapest place to fill-up in your local area. Having an efficient car will help you keep this cost down, as does accelerating more gently.
Servicing and maintenance
According to the RAC, it costs around £472 to maintain a used car over the course of a year. This cost includes paying for an MOT, servicing and any repairs that may be required. The chances of mechanical problems increase the older the car is and the more it's used. However, regular maintenance checks can help you avoid most issues.
Even with regular checks, you can't always stop mechanical issues from happening and that's where having breakdown cover comes in handy. Breakdown cover ranges widely but the higher level of cover, the higher the cost.
Tips for new drivers to keep insurance costs down
While new drivers are likely to see a dent in their finances, there are several tricks that can help lower car insurance costs:
Black box insurance
Having a telematics car insurance policy helps insurers build up a driver rating as it monitors how you drive. This will then be used as the basis for your next insurance quote when it's time for you to renew.
Having a convertible or a car with a big engine will be more expensive to insure. So keep insurance costs lower by driving a standard car with a small engine (under 1000cc).
The more you're out on the road, the more of a risk insurers perceive you to be. Therefore, reducing your annual mileage can help you save money on your premium. While it's nice to have the freedom, take public transport when you can or get involved in a car share scheme.
Reducing the risks of your car being stolen or vandalised will often result in insurers offering cheaper premiums. Overnight, keep your car on a driveway or in a garage instead of on the street. And if you haven't already, look at adding security devices such as immobilisers and alarms.
Of course, one of the main costs for new drivers is buying a car. But what are the best cars for new drivers?
Opting for smaller engine sizes, standard modifications and avoiding such things as dark tinted windows will not only make it cheaper to buy a car, but it will also help reduce the costs of driving a car as the insurance is likely to be cheaper too.
Staying safe on the road
Of course, just because you're an inexperienced driver doesn't automatically mean you're going to be involved in a car accident; driving within the law and with caution will help to make sure you're safe behind the wheel.
There are a number of things you can do that will help keep you and your car safe on the road, such as:
Taking an advanced driving course
Taking an advanced driving course is a great way to broaden your driving experience, improve your skills and boost your confidence. A Pass Plus course, devised by the Driving Standards Agency (DSA), comprises six modules: driving at night, on rural roads, on motorways, on dual carriageways, in towns, and in all weather conditions.
Consider additional safety features
If you plan to drive an older car, there's a chance it might not have safety features such as an alarm or immobiliser as standard. You can get them fitted into your car, but you must make sure the devices are insurer and manufacturer approved. These act as deterrents to thieves which will, in turn, boost your car's security.
Park in a secure location
Where do you keep your car at night? Using a garage or driveway can limit the risk of theft and damage to your car. If you park in a secure car park or on the road during the day, before leaving your car make sure there are no valuables (such as phones or handbags) in sight.
Safety and insurance
Taking steps to improve your safety and your car's security is good for another reason: it often leads to a reduction in insurance. For example, parking your car in a garage overnight is considered less risky than leaving it on the road; and if your car has good security features then it's less likely to be stolen. These measures lower your level of perceived risk, and therefore you can expect to pay a cheaper price for insurance.
Also, being a safe and cautious driver will result in you building up a no claims discount over the years, which will lead to further reductions in your insurance
All information is correct at time of publication. Hastings Direct cannot be held responsible for any misinformation displayed.