Age and inexperience make for higher risks
Car insurance prices are calculated based on the level of risk the driver poses, and a 17 year old who has just passed their test is, statistically speaking, more likely to make a claim than an older, more experience driver.
Drivers aged 17-20 paid £2,467, almost double what people in their early 20s were paying (£1,294). On the plus side, the 17-20 age bracket paid around £32 less than they were at the start of 2012 (-1.3%), so at least the costs are going in the right direction.
Unfortunately, there’s little you can do about your age, so patience is your best option here. As for inexperience, the earlier you learn to drive, the earlier you can start gaining experience (as well as your No Claims Bonus).
Your postcode may be hiking up your price
When it comes to your car insurance, where you live could have an effect on how much you’re paying. Areas that have a higher rate of car crime or are considered to be an accident ‘black spot’ will result in higher premiums as it represents an increased risk.
You’d be forgiven for thinking that drivers in Inner London would have the highest premium. For 17-20 year old male drivers, however, London comes second to those in Manchester and Merseyside, who were paying £4,215 in premiums. For female drivers this is flipped, with Londoners shelling out £3,806 compared to £3,705 for drivers in Manchester.
If you want to influence your premium a little, take a tip from the guys of eastern Scotland and the girls of the Scottish Borders, whose premiums were £2,152 and £1,447 respectively. These more remote areas are a lower risk and this is reflected in the price.
Your love life could be giving you a higher price
Something that you might not expect, but young drivers who are single (that is, those who are the sole driver on their policy) are paying more than those who add their spouse onto their car insurance. What’s the difference between a single driver and a married one? About £350.
17-20 year old bachelors average out at £2,983 per year, whereas those who added their partner onto their policy were paying £2,616. Female drivers saw a similar reduction, with the single ladies shelling out £2371, a full £364 more than their married counterparts.
Given that the average UK wedding costs in excess of £20,000 (according to The Guardian), it’s a safe bet to say it isn’t worth getting married purely for the potential reduction in premium.
How to lower your car insurance premium
These factors that come into play when working out how much your pay for your car insurance are things that are either difficult or impossible to control. Thankfully, there are several other factors that you can influence in order to drive down your costs:
- Choice of car: an older model with a smaller engine size is generally better than a souped-up, brand new car. With less power under the bonnet, there’s a lower risk of a claim being made.
- How you use the car: if you drive to and from work or school, your policy will be classed as “Social and Commuting”, which can increase your costs. Stop driving to work and you can downgrade this to “Social only”, which could shave a few pounds off your price.
- Telematics: some insurers offer a discount for drivers who install a black box in their car. This records your driving habits and gives you a price more reflective of how you drive.
All figures quoted here are averages taken from the car insurance price index from Confused.com and Towers Watson (January – March 2013), and are based on an annual comprehensive policy.