Car insurance

Young driver car insurance in Ireland

If you’re under 25 or a new driver, you’ll know that cheap car insurance is hard to find. Here’s why young drivers pay so much and some tips on how to drive insurance costs down.

What’s classed as a young driver?

Insurers consider you to be a young driver if you’re aged between 17 and 24 years old.

The cost of car insurance is much higher when you’re a young driver under 25 years. It gets easier to find cheaper cover as you gain experience and can demonstrate you’re a safe driver.

Why is young driver insurance so high?

The price of your cover depends on all sorts of things, but two important factors are age and experience.

For insurers, it’s all about weighing up risk and the younger and more inexperienced you are, the more likely you’ll make a claim.

Insurance companies base their pricing on historical data and probability. You may be a safe and security-conscious driver, but accident statistics show young drivers are riskier overall and more likely to make a claim.

Unfortunately, insurers must offset this extra cost, so they charge drivers under 25 years old more. However, once you’re over 25 years old, finding cheap quotes is easier as you gain experience and can prove you’re a safe driver.

Are young drivers really riskier?

Yes, the evidence suggests they are. According to research by the Road Safety Authority, road users between 18 and 24 make up a disproportionate 14% of all road traffic accident casualties.

Other reports show around one in five young drivers will crash within the first year of their driving test and that first-time drivers are more likely to be involved in an accident within their first two years of driving than at any other time.

Another reason for the high-risk profile is that certain behaviours are more common in under 25s, such as:

  • Carrying more passengers
  • Driving at night
  • Speeding
  • Drink & drug driving
  • Poorer hazard assessment

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What about experienced drivers under 25?

Young drivers and older motorists new to driving are both stung by high insurance costs.

However, it’s the under 25s who are hit the most with higher premiums due to the risk profile of the age group rather than an individual’s driving skill. So, even if you passed your test at 17 years and have been driving for several years, you’ll likely pay a higher premium.

No matter how safe and confident you feel on the road, the cost of car insurance for young drivers is high, which can seem unfair.

The good news is that there are ways to reduce costs and save money on your insurance, even when you’re young.

At what age does car insurance get cheaper?

Once you’re over 25, you should start to see your premiums reduce. This is because, statistically speaking, you’re less of a risk as you get older and more experienced on the road.

If you haven’t had a claim on your policy, you’ll start to accrue a no-claims bonus, which means you’ll get a discount based on the amount of claim-free driving years.

However, the cover price also depends on other factors, so it’s not an automatic reduction. If, for instance, you have just bought a more powerful car - you may see the price increase.

Car Insurance Black box Cover

What is black box insurance?

It’s cover which uses a telematics device to monitor your driving habits. Young drivers can sometimes qualify for cheaper insurance if a black box is installed in their car.

Telematics uses GPS technology to monitor:

  • Journey data - travel time and distance, plus the number of trips
  • Driving data - speed, acceleration, braking and impact detection
  • Road data - location, elevation, road type

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Will an Advanced Driving Course reduce the cost?

An advanced driving course is designed to help develop the skills and experience of new drivers, reduce the risks of being in an accident and increase road safety.

Courses vary in length and certification, so check your course is valid and will attract a discount from insurers before enrolling.

You could end up paying up to €600 to get your certificate, so weigh up any savings against the course cost.

Tips for getting cheaper young driver car insurance

Some insurers are better than others at catering for younger drivers, so it pays to spend time shopping around for the best quotes online.

Here are some more tips to drive costs down:

  • Drive a small car: Opt for a small, reliable car rather than a larger performance car. The cheapest choice is a new, small-engined, safe car in a low insurance group. Avoid vehicles that have been modified too and don’t be tempted to ‘pimp your ride’ as you’ll pay extra for this.
  • Get black box insurance: This is when your insurer uses telematics equipment to monitor your driving habits. A black box can prove that you drive safely, which may lower your risk profile and premium. On the flip side, it could highlight your lousy driving and cost you more.
  • Consider multi-car cover: If you live with your parents, ask if they’ll consider a multi-car policy. Several insurers will bundle all household drivers and vehicles together in a single policy. This could offer significant savings for family members living in the same household.
  • Be a named driver: While you are new to driving, be a ‘named driver’ on an experienced driver’s policy. They must be the primary driver though because buying insurance for a less experienced driver to lower the cost is known as ‘fronting’, and is illegal.
  • Add a named driver: Sharing your car with an experienced, safe driver indicates to insurers you’ll be driving your vehicle less, which reduces the risk of an accident and brings the cost down. Only do this if you’re genuinely sharing the vehicle otherwise you could void the policy.
  • Choose the right cover and excess Find out about the different types of cover and choose the one that best suits your driving habits so you don’t pay more than you need to. If you only drive occasionally, you could opt for a higher excess (the amount you’ll pay in a claim) to reduce your monthly premiums.
  • Take an Advanced Driving Course Some insurance companies offer discounts if you’ve completed an Advanced Driving Course. Seek out those that do if you’re considering such a course, but bear in mind course costs.
  • Get quotes online and use a broker: Many insurers offer online discounts to attract new drivers, and you can still call or webchat if you have any questions. Use an online broker to compare multiple quotes quickly and maximise your chance of getting the cheapest cover.

Can young drivers get a no-claims bonus?

A no claims bonus is a discount earned on your car cover by remaining claim-free for two or more years.

The more years you drive without claiming, the bigger your discount gets, so younger drivers have less chance to earn discounts like the no-claims bonus.

However, if you can demonstrate how safely you drive by not claiming in those early years, you could start to earn a discount on your policy even if you are under 25.

It’s worth shopping around as some insurers can take named driving experience into account too. This means you might not have to start from zero years no claims when you buy your first policy.

What is fronting?

It’s when a driver puts someone else, like a parent, on an insurance policy as the main driver - and themselves as the ‘named driver’.

People may do this to make their insurance cheaper, but here are three good reasons you must not do it.

  1. It’s illegal and fraudulent
  2. Your policy would be invalid should you need to claim
  3. You won’t earn any no-claim bonus

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