Car insurance thatís streets ahead

Lewis Hamilton finally has the Monaco victory he’s so craved, but the race certainly wasn’t without incident. Hamilton slid into the barrier on only the sixth lap resulting in a puncture that could well have cost him the race.

Fortunately his McClaren team were able to get him back on the streets of Monte Carlo without too great a fuss, and Hamilton now heads the F1 Drivers’ Championship.

Whilst Hamilton made a speedy recovery from his brush with the barrier it’s unlikely that most drivers of a similar age would be able to get off so lightly. Car insurance premiums have been rising for some time, and none have been worse affected than those that have recently passed their tests.

For young drivers battling with rising insurance costs, MoneyExpert.com can offer some top tips.

The extra mile

For those that have just passed their test there has, for some time, been the option of taking a pass plus test. This is essentially an advanced driver course that, when completed, helps secure lower insurance premiums.

The course is made up of a number of modules including driving at night, in poor weather conditions, and on rural roads. It requires at least six hours of tuition so the cost isn’t to be sniffed at, but once you’ve passed you may be able to save up to 20% on your insurance premium. The savings will depend on the provider so be sure to shop around for the best deal.

Throw me a bonus

It may seem rather harsh, dampening the spirits of newly qualified drivers, but given the number of accidents they’re involved in it’s inevitable that insurers will demand higher insurance premiums of them.

Unfair as this may seem for careful younger drivers there are ways that newly qualified drivers can quickly reduce their premiums. Some insurers such as the RAC and Norwich Union offer a so-called rapid bonus scheme whereby young drivers can quickly build up their discount provided they don’t make a claim.

With both of these providers your comprehensive car insurance policy runs for nine months instead of 12 meaning that you could have earned a 1 year no claims discount in only nine months. If you’re able not to make a claim over a longer period you’ll find that you could claim a full 5 year no claims bonus 15 months early!

Pay as you go

One of the difficulties with car insurance is that policies traditionally require large lump sum payments which for young drivers can be difficult to manage. Many insurers do in fact offer direct debit payment options, but these often end up costing considerably more than traditional policies.

One payment option that may be coming into fashion is pay as you go. Norwich Union currently offer the service, whereby a computer records how many miles you’ve driven and where and your premium is then worked out accordingly. For young motorists who don’t use their vehicles that often, perhaps only driving too and from university, this could be an ideal solution. Norwich Union claims it could save you up to 30%.

Online opportunities

You may seem to be coming up against some serious brick walls when looking for reasonably priced car insurance but with the huge number of online providers now in the market it’s always worth logging on to try and find the best deal.

A number of insurance providers, such as Swinton or Quinn Direct, offer polices specifically for younger drivers with flexible payments options and insurance provision for drivers with provisional licenses.

Named drivers

It’s become a common tactic for young drivers to put themselves on their parents’ policies as named drivers. Whilst there’s nothing illegal about this the policy could be invalidated if the young driver turns out to be the main driver of the vehicle.

A far better option is for the new driver to take out their own policy and add an older relative as a named driver to that. The savings to be made will differ from one insurance provider to the next but it’s certainly worth considering. You’ll also be able to build up a no-claims bonus which in most cases you won’t as only a named driver.

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