- If you'd struggle to replace your car if it was written off in an accident, it's best to go for fully comprehensive insurance.
- If you’re driving a car that's only worth a few hundred pounds, you could choose third party insurance – but see the next bullet – it's always worth checking it's cheapest.
- Weirdly, fully comprehensive cover often costs less than third party – so check the price of both.
For details on what each covers, see Choose the right cover and What to look for.
2 Push down your insurance risk
- Drive safely. Prove you are low-risk by having no accidents, no claims and no points on your licence (all crucial for your first year). When you come to renew, your premium should fall significantly.
- Drive less. Lower mileage means cheaper insurance.
- Choose a car in a low insurance group. Insurance companies charge more for vehicles which are expensive to repair, have customisations like alloy wheels or have powerful engines.
- Add a low-risk driver as your second driver. Parents are a good bet (but they can’t pretend to be the main driver – that’s called 'fronting' and it’s illegal).
3 Push down the cost
‘Pay as you drive’ and ‘Pay when you drive’ policies
These involve fitting a 'smartbox' to your car.
The 'Pay as you drive' smartbox records acceleration, braking, cornering and time of driving, to get a picture of how safe you are as a driver. It then charges you for insurance every 90 days. The price of the insurance goes up or down depending on how well the car’s been driven – and really bad driving could see your insurance cancelled.
'Pay when you drive' tracks your mileage and what time of day you drive. These policies are pretty new, so it’s hard to say if they are value for money. Worth checking out – but normal policies could well be cheaper.
4 Shop around
Get online, get on the phone and get some quotes to compare. The more time you put in, the more likely you are to get better cover and a cheaper price. Follow the advice of MoneySavingExpert on comparison sites (now owned by MoneySupermarket).
Google ‘specialist car insurers 17 to 25’ to find the deals not on comparison sites. Then dig around on Facebook, Twitter, forums and chat rooms. Once you have a couple of good quotes, call a broker and ask them to beat it (it’s free, they’ll do the leg work and call you back).
Find a broker on the British Insurers Brokers' Association website to see if they can beat your quote
5 Check up on your insurer
- Read the policy before you buy. Seriously. It’s the only way to know you’re covered.
- Don’t get scammed. Fake insurers sometimes target young drivers. Your insurer (and your broker, if you're using one) must be authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
- Check if your insurer (and broker) is authorised by the FCA.