Testing insurance premiums to the limits

The Government is to toughen up the test for learner drivers introducing a far more comprehensive examination and training scheme.

It’s a combination of carrot and stick for learners with the aim of making roads safer and new drivers better prepared for the roads.

The new measures would include a more difficult theory test and a new marking structure for the practical part of the exam. They also include plans designed to help learner drivers choose their instructor, with all instructors being made to publish their pass rates online.

Learners will be winners if they pass. For learner drivers dreading the approach of hefty car insurance premiums the proposals include plans for an advanced driving course, including motorway and night driving tuition that could see new drivers have their insurance premiums cut by up to 25%.

MoneyExpert.com can give some further tips for newly qualified drivers looking to keep their premiums in check.

Pass Plus

The advanced driving course proposed by the government doesn’t really differ too far from the Pass Plus test already available. This scheme, provided by the Driving Standards Agency, is open to all newly qualified drivers within 12 months of passing their test.

It 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.

Rapid bonus

With the number of newly qualified drivers involved in accidents being so high it’s inevitable that insurers are going to charge young drivers the most for their premiums.

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!

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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