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Insurance for young drivers: How to reduce the cost

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The One Show Team | 16:04 UK time, Friday, 4 December 2009

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Dom Littlewood has been looking at the issue of 'fronting' - taking out car insurance on behalf of someone else.

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With car insurance for young people costing so much these days, many parents are tempted to cut the cost by insuring a car in their name, even though their child is the main driver. According to insurer Direct Line, about 2 and a half million drivers have done it. But unless you can prove you drive the car more than your child, it's illegal. If you're found out, your claim could be invalid and your youngster could get 6 points on their licence.

Insurers say that premiums are high because young drivers are more than twice as likely to make an insurance claim as older drivers - and the average value of each claim is three times greater. They point out that premiums will get cheaper with age and increased driving experience.

Top tips - ways to help reduce the premiums for a young driver

• Take the Pass Plus course of post driving test lessons. A number of insurers offer premium discounts / accelerated no claim bonus build up if you do.

• See if you can increase the level of any voluntary excess on the policy. A larger excess may mean a lower premium but bear in mind that if you may have to pay out if do have a crash. Many insurance companies will add compulsory excess onto younger driver's policies and this could all add up if your voluntary excess is high.

• A small number of companies, will offer reduced premiums if young drivers undertake to limit the times of day they use the car - i.e. they do not drive at night. 50 percent of all accidents by young drivers happen at night (from ABI).

• Shop around to get the best deal - even for young drivers the premiums will vary. Ring the company direct to discuss your quote and to ask if there are ways you can reduce the premium. It's worth contacting a broker who could access a wider range of insurers (not just the main ones), some of which may offer cheaper insurance for younger drivers.

• Find out what insurance bracket your car is in and consider buying a lower powered car in a cheaper insurance brackets

• Including an older named driver on a young person's policy may help bring down the cost.


  • 1. At 7:28pm on 04 Dec 2009, Paul wrote:

    When I was a youth getting driving insurance I saved £300+ a year initially by being the main driver - but naming my mother as a named driver. Putting Mum on the insurance reduced my premium for the first 10 years of driving!!!

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  • 2. At 7:30pm on 04 Dec 2009, Jack wrote:

    I'm a 19 yr old student, when i first passed i was involved in an accident in my dads car which i was insured, losing his no claims, which i worried would push up my premiums next year. When i did insure in the same way for the second year the premium did go up, but when i insured myself as the main driver and my parents on the side, the premiums went down, any idea why this happend?

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  • 3. At 7:32pm on 04 Dec 2009, helenoftroy wrote:

    Two comments: If only the law were changed to insist on newly-passed drivers and under 21s being made to display 'P' plates and prevented from carrying passengers until the 'P' plates were removed, there would not be so many horrendous accidents and the insurers might reduce the cost of insurance for young people!

    Secondly and not connected to this: I notice that the duvet users did not use top as well as bottom sheets. Blankets don't get laundered every week, neither do duvets; so surely it's easier to launder pairs of sheets as normal and replace duvet covers and duvets as we used to do with blankets in the old days - in spring and autumn!!

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  • 4. At 7:33pm on 04 Dec 2009, Alex Botes wrote:

    I have strongly argue the point re insurance. i am knocking on 40's door and have had company cars all my working life. Now being unemloyed I tried to get a little run around for the interim but found that the insurance was three times the cost of the car. Where is the logic in that. The outcome is that now I am contimplating if its worth getting insurance in the first place as if the car is damaged it is three times cheaper to just get another one.
    So your logic about age and sex of the driver is wrong.

    The insurance companies just want our money, all of it..


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  • 5. At 7:35pm on 04 Dec 2009, Mark wrote:

    Insurance companies know, by the type of car, the date its bought etc, that its for a new driver. They look forward to insuring it as they know they wont pay out for the policy. Don't have an accident they keep the money, have an accident and they refuse to pay. Only reason they charge so much is because of data over 25 years ago saying young drivers have more accidents....... which means its all those over 50 were the ones causing the accidents .... and now THEY get cheap insurance.

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  • 6. At 7:37pm on 04 Dec 2009, Pat wrote:

    I have three sons who all drive. One did a 'Pass Plus' course. It made no difference to his insurance quotes as the only companies who actually asked about it were the high quote insurers anyway. He eventually got a good fully comp. insurance with a major supermarket who didn't actually appear on comparison sites and didn't requirw 'Pass Plus' anyway!! Pass plus is a good idea but needs to be more recognised as 1) It costs a lot and on top of the cost of driving lessons and test and 2) It doesn't seem to make a scrap of difference to insurance at the cheaper end of the market.

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  • 7. At 7:39pm on 04 Dec 2009, itsmeinleek wrote:

    One problem is the differance between the fine for having no insurance and the cost of insurance. Average £400 fine compared to a potential £4000 insurance bill. Its no wonder so many young drivers have no insurance.

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  • 8. At 7:40pm on 04 Dec 2009, K wrote:

    My son is insured under his own name after doing the pass plus which reduced his insurance by £400 with Tesco.
    However some nice person broke into his car and caused over £700 pounds worth of damage to the door and lock.His now had to clain on his insurance to get this repaired. Will this effect his premium when its due. seems a shame as (touch wood) his not had to claim through his own fault.

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  • 9. At 7:40pm on 04 Dec 2009, keith-adi wrote:

    hi guys, good show but! i would like to point out that during the young drivers insurance article dom stated that pass-plus could bring down insurance premiums which is true, but it is NOT a further test. it is a modular course of 6 hours minimum duration including motorway tuition which is taken with and signed off by the student and their ADI, there is no test to sit. keep up the good work.

    regards keith dougherty dsa adi (car)
    smart start school of motoring

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  • 10. At 7:41pm on 04 Dec 2009, lookingforsanity wrote:

    All this is NOT treating the symptoms! In Germany, where I passed my driving test, it's the car that's insured, not the driver. How can they do that? Simple, by better driving education. Driving lessons with a registered driving school are a must. Driving in the dark, on the motorway a MUST and long distance driving a pre-requisite for even attempting the driving test. The test is way more difficult then in the UK and you end up with better educated drivers. Of course all this costs money, but you will recoup that on lower insurance premiums.

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  • 11. At 7:43pm on 04 Dec 2009, john ozard wrote:

    Sorry Dom
    you don't know what your talking about...
    You said that a parent who has a policy with a child as a named driver,who has an accident he or she is not insured......thats what you said.
    watch the VT back...that is false information...
    Any person who is a named driver is insured....the facts you mentioned about the insurers in the event of an accident looking into who was the main driver.... should have been asked during the completing of the proposal form...If the insurers do not request this information or do not inform the proposed insured of this requirement.........then the added name is covered in any event .... so you led viewers to believe falsley as I have stated above ......
    Please put it right Dom

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  • 12. At 7:48pm on 04 Dec 2009, albert wrote:

    not saying i promote fronting but when i passed my test i couldnt afford the insurance so i had to use my mum's ca for a year via direct line and that gave me a years no claims bonus without breaking the law as i only got to drive during the weekends and when mum was not at work. however in sharing a car with my mum this meant that i had to drive carefully hence when we went to car parks i didn't do silly things, whilst my friends who had their cars really didnt care about how they treated their cars.

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  • 13. At 8:40pm on 04 Dec 2009, Chris B wrote:

    Good article on young person’s car insurance, Dom, but did you think about taking it one step further and looking at what happens if you try to buy insurance “correctly” for the young person? I had that experience a few years ago, when the first of my two sons turned 18. Having first gathered the proceeds of a banker’s bonus to fund the premium, and then found the few insurers who would cover a 17 year old boy, even on a 1.1 Fiesta, insurers insisted they would only insure if the driver was the “owner and registered keeper” of the car. Their stated reason was that, without this condition, the insured did not have an insurable interest in the car.

    Now this argument is totally specious. The boy, who has total economic use of the car for no rent (because he has no income and I am his parent so charge no rent) has just as much economic interest as the guy who leases a car and therefore has total economic use for a fixed rent. The parent may wish to retain ownership of the car for lots of reasons, including that he may wish the car to be shared between two siblings. (Totally outrageous reason, that one.)

    What is more, the salesperson often did not understand that the owner and registered keeper could be, and often were, different people (c.f. the leased car example), even though the DVLA registration forms specifically talk about this possibility. If you are a car insurance salesman, this falls into the “pig ignorant” category.

    So, as a parent you can’t insure the car in your own name, because that’s fraud. You can’t insure the car in your son’s name, because the insurer won’t write the risk, unless you give the car to the boy, which you may have good reasons not to do. It’s called Catch 22.

    Now, if I were a cynical person (heaven forbid), I might think that this is calculated, since the insurer would have a reason to refuse any claim whichever way I go, but can still pocket the premium. The salespeople are offended if you point out the Catch 22 because they are not sufficiently informed about the issues to understand them, which is called “credible deniability”. And do the senior underwriters in the insurance companies understand that enviable position they have put themselves in?

    I remain a cynic.

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  • 14. At 12:38pm on 05 Dec 2009, Valdawn wrote:

    This is another aspect of FRONTING, nothing to do with the young drivers!.

    We are a couple of 86&67yrs 9BOTH DRIVERS) who live in France.

    When we come to the UK these days, we travel by rail then hire a car in England. Because of my husbands age, he cannot hire a car in his name so It is in mine with him as the second driver. BUT he is a far better a driver than I am or ever will be in spite of his age. So he does all of the driving in the Uk. What happens if we have an accident?

    Valdawn France.

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  • 15. At 8:55pm on 05 Dec 2009, Malcolm Bell wrote:

    With the penalty for 'driving with no insurance' set at a £200 fixed penalty and 6 points, what's the incentive to pay £2,000+ for insurance.

    The government should insure everybody 3rd party out of fuel tax and it is then the owners choice to get fully comp.

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  • 16. At 8:46pm on 06 Dec 2009, ronald white wrote:

    Dom was right in one respect. That an insurer may not pay out if they can prove that the named driver is actualy driving the the car more than the insurer. That is why you have to put the son or daughter as the main named driver and as i did with nfu ( who i insured with) makes it all legal!

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  • 17. At 5:10pm on 07 Dec 2009, hokeykokeyalex wrote:

    Malcolm Bell....good idea.

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  • 18. At 5:12pm on 07 Dec 2009, hokeykokeyalex wrote:

    john ozard.do not hold your breat,,,the one show saying sorry for being wrong?
    wont happen.

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  • 19. At 5:14pm on 07 Dec 2009, hokeykokeyalex wrote:

    Alex Botes......so you are considering breaking the law?

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  • 20. At 10:23pm on 07 Dec 2009, Mike James wrote:

    Hi all

    I did a quote via Moneysupermarket and Dom was right about the cost.

    My son passed last month and for him to insure our Fiesta 1.4 him as proposer and main with me as named for just in case was min £3300ish. HOWEVER If I insured the car as me proposer and then him as named AND main driver we get to use my no claims and would only cost £1800 - bit of a difference and worth looking at!

    He is not currently the main driver as I still use it more than him, but I'm sure that'll change!

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  • 21. At 4:17pm on 08 Dec 2009, MardyHatter wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 22. At 10:40am on 09 Dec 2009, William wrote:

    Estimate the number of miles to be done in a year correctly. if it's lower than what the insurance company suggest, you could save some money. I did when I last had a policy. Otherwise, share a car.

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  • 23. At 5:13pm on 16 Dec 2009, Scarlett wrote:

    I've found an absolute brilliant solution. My nephew required insurance as a first time driver and i've found him a really cheap insurance deal with i-kube. he did his pass plus course and got a further discount off that too. The insurance is fully comprehensive and they put a tracker in the car. They give such a big discount because they dont' want him driving between 11pm and 5.00am. its worked out well for us, because as his guardian i know he'll be home by 11.00. If he isn't then he has to pay £45 per night.Wish there was insurance available like that when i was a kid.

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  • 24. At 9:52pm on 22 Mar 2010, Andy Shells wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

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