Image Here’s what to know if you're taking out car insurance as a first-time driver
Image Rob Flynn
Staff Writer

As a first-time driver you have a lot of new information on your plate. But when you decide to take out car insurance there are a few important things you should know.

Navigating the car insurance world can be challenging, especially if you’re new to driving.

But taking out car insurance doesn’t have to be complicated, and you sure don’t have to overpay.

Here are some of the most important things to remember when taking out car insurance for the first time.

1. Get named driver experience if you can

If possible try and get insured as a named driver on the policy of someone who has a full licence. Most young drivers do so under their parent or guardian’s policy before trying to get a policy of their own. There are a few reasons why this can be beneficial in the long run.

First of all, being a named driver on an existing policy is a much cheaper option than taking out a policy of your own, not to mention if you only have a learner’s permit and are still taking lessons.

Second of all, being insured for a period of time will give you much-needed time on the road and named-driver experience is sometimes taken by insurance companies as a form of no-claims bonus, which could help lower your premium when it's time to take out a policy on your own.

2. What you pay depends on your licence

If ever there was an incentive to pass your driving test it would be cheaper insurance! How much your insurance costs is in direct correlation to what driving licence you hold. A driver with a full licence with five years' experience and no-claims bonus will obviously have a lower premium than someone taking out a policy on a learner’s permit with none.

So try pass your test as soon as you can. Your pocket will thank you!  

3. Consider the types of cover

When taking out your own car insurance policy for the first time it’s very important to do your research into the policy types, how they work, what you’ll be covered for under each, and most importantly, the type of cover that best suits your needs.

There are three main types of car insurance: third party (minimum required by law), third party, fire and theft, and fully comprehensive. 

Fully comprehensive is by far the most expensive, but it does provide more protection. However, if you just choose third party, fire and theft, you can always add on extras such as windscreen cover for example if needs be.

But don't pay for cover you don't need. If you're driving a 12-year-old car with big mileage that your parent or sibling handed down, you may not care if it gets the odd bang or scrape, in which case third party cover might be enough for you for the first year at least.

Another popular option for first-time drivers is to agree to have a black box fitted to your car by your insurer that will monitor your driving in exchange for a lower premium. This option obviously won’t suit some people but it is a great way of getting far cheaper insurance when you’re starting off, never mind helping to instil safer driving habits.

If you’re a named driver however, this isn’t generally something you’ll have to worry about; you'll have the same level of cover as the car’s main driver.

4. Older than 25?

Those taking out insurance for the first time should also be aware that drivers over the age of 25 will generally receive reduced rates. And these will continue to decline each year provided you drive safely. 

The reason for this is simply because older drivers are seen as less of a risk by insurance companies, regardless of experience. So those taking to the road earlier in life should bear this in mind when looking for cover.

5. Pick up the phone

It’s an old school approach nowadays but sometimes as a first-time driver chatting through your options with a qualified insurer or broker can be quite helpful, especially when it comes to securing each and every discount you’re entitled to. 

By picking up the phone and calling an insurance company or broker, they’ll be able to help you out and provide you with all the information you need, even if that’s just guiding you through the online application process should you need the help.

6. Make sure your car is safe and secure

As a general rule of thumb, the more security features your car has, the less you’ll pay for insurance. It may not be much, but it all adds up. Most cars will be fitted with a standard alarm system, but sometimes you’ll find it’s possible to secure a cheaper premium if you upgrade and add more features. An insurance company will be interested and in favour of any extra security feature that will help to prevent your car being damaged or stolen.

Also, all new cars generally now come with immobilisers as standard. These stop anyone from taking your car if they don’t have a key. The good news though if you are trying to get insured on an older car without an immobiliser (albeit likely for new drivers), you can buy one and have it installed. These usually aren’t cheap but it’s a long-term investment. You can also swap it into a newer car down the line.

And following on from our previous point, when doing your research as a first-time driver you should make sure to ask insurers and brokers what security features will help to secure a bigger discount off your premium. Every little helps, to quote a phrase.

7. Price insurance before buying a car

If you don’t have a car and are about to buy one it’s very important to do your research. Seeing how much a car will cost to insure before making a commitment means you won’t be landed with an uninsurable vehicle because the premium is too high. 

The smaller the engine size, for example, the less you’ll pay for insurance. This can make a world of difference if you’re only a learner or first-time car insurance applicant. Never mind the money you’ll save on road tax and fuel costs.

However, it's not just engine size you must take into consideration. The type of car you buy, the brand, its age, and whether or not there have been any modifications to it will also impact how much you're quoted. A good example of this would be certain types of older cars, Honda Civics for example. Oftentimes insurance companies quote much higher prices for these cars as they're frequently associated with boy racers, speeding, and careless driving, regardless of whether the car is in perfect condition and is being handed down by a sibling or parent.

Check out our insurance guides

There’s often misinformation circulating that can make the process of finding car insurance more confusing than it needs to be. We decided to debunk these myths and to separate fact from fiction in this guide.

If you’re not a first-time driver but are looking to lower your car insurance premium, take a look at our helpful guide on how to reduce your car insurance costs.

Insurance in general is vital for peace of mind, however that doesn’t mean you have to overpay. Learn more about how you can simply reduce your insurance costs for a range of different policies in this guide. It’s surprisingly easy and could save you a significant amount.

You can compare a range of insurance products on bonkers.ie with our easy-to-use comparison tools and start saving today!

Let us know your thoughts

Do you have any other tips for first-time drivers looking to take out car insurance? We’d love to hear from you!

If you’re a first-time driver and have any questions about taking out car insurance, get in touch with us! 

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