You're understandably excited: you've just passed your test, you've just got yourself a car and you're ready to get out on the road. But there's one final obstacle - insurance.
As a 17 year old, you're likely to be paying some of the highest premiums on the market when it comes to insuring your car, but worry not! Our quick guide will tell you everything you need to know, including how to get cheaper car insurance.
Do I need to buy car insurance?
Despite the sometimes prohibitively high cost of insuring a car as a 17 year old, it is absolutely necessary, and driving an uninsured vehicle can lead to penalty fines and even prosecution.
New regulations introduced by the DVLA and its associates mean that the government are cracking down more than ever on uninsured drivers – so it is imperative that you get some kind of cover.
Why is it so expensive for 17 year olds to insure their car?
Unfortunately, the statistics are not on the side of young drivers these days. A fifth of all drivers will have some kind of accident within a year of passing their test, and over a quarter of all of the accidents on the road involve 17-25 year olds.
These kinds of statistics are what car insurance companies are basing their calculations of risk on, and therefore influence how they calculate the premiums they charge. This means that young drivers are the most expensive group on the road to insure.
How can 17 year olds save money on their car insurance?
Luckily, while premiums can initially seem high for younger drivers, there are plenty of ways to save.
You could consider becoming a named driver on your parents’ car, splitting the cost between you, so long as you don’t ‘front’ by lying to the insurance company and actually acting as the main driver of the vehicle. Alternatively you could add a parent or older friend to your policy as a named driver, again reducing the cost for each driver slightly.
Another popular option for younger drivers is black box or telematics insurance. Such policies involve a tracking device being installed in your car that monitors aspects of your driving like adherence to the speed limit and frequency of braking. By taking out a black box policy and ensuring that you drive carefully and responsibly, you will see your premiums fall, as they will be calculated against a risk assessed profile of you as an individual driver, rather than against national statistics that show you to be part of a high risk group.
There are also basic ways to reduce the costs before taking out a policy, such as buying a cheaper car with a smaller engine. Insurers bracket cars into one of 50 categories (see insurance groups) based on things like power and size, with smaller cars generally being cheaper to insure.
Added security measures like steering wheel locks will also help your cause, by demonstrably reducing the likelihood of theft.