The cost of car insurance for young drivers can be prohibitively expensive, but adding them to your policy could help drive costs down, providing they will only be using your car occasionally and you are still the main driver.
One in four parents (27%) found the cost of car insurance for teen children to be far greater than they expected, according to research by Go.Compare car insurance, with the average annual cost of insuring a driver aged between 17 and 21 now at £1,430.
Overall, the cost of getting a young driver on the road has risen to a whopping £6,574 in 2022 – the highest level since 2019, representing a shift backwards to pre-pandemic costs. This figure includes them learning to drive, and buying, taxing and then insuring their first car. The same research also found that nearly one in five parents (19%) said getting their child on the road had been a significant drain on their finances this year. In addition, the various costs associated with learning to drive – insurance, fuel and running costs – were the top most concerns for parents, over safety and any other worries.
Can adding my child to my car insurance save money?
If you’re an experienced motorist adding a young or new driver to your policy, you might see an increase in your premiums, so although you might save your child money by adding them, you could well face extra costs. You’re especially likely to see an increase in your premiums if your car is in a high insurance group. That said, any increase in premiums may well be much less than them buying their own separate cover.
Be warned, however – you can add your son or daughter’s name to your own car insurance policy if they use your car occasionally, but don’t be tempted to do this if they’re really the main user. It’s illegal and car insurance providers are increasingly clamping down on it.
It’s known as ‘fronting’ and immediately invalidates your policy. If you add your son or daughter as a named driver when they’re really the main driver the insurer is within their rights to withdraw cover entirely.
If your son or daughter was involved in an accident and the insurer can show that fronting was involved, they may look to recover the costs from you as the policyholder or your child as the driver. There could be penalty points added and additional fines to pay as well.
Ryan Fulthorpe, motoring expert at Go.Compare, said: “We’re seeing a period of huge financial strain on families at the moment, and it’s not surprising at all that families would want to save money wherever they can – particularly those who are facing big, new expenses like buying someone their first car.
“Unfortunately, parents often don’t realise that insuring a child’s car in your name, despite the fact that you won’t be its main driver, is an illegal offence.”
There are other risks involved in adding your child to your insurance policy, even if they aren’t going to be the main driver. For example, if they have an accident, your no claims discount may be affected. Bear in mind too that they won’t be earning their own no claims discount while they are on your policy – they will usually only start earning this once they are the main named driver on their own policy.
Can I add myself to my child’s car insurance policy?
If your child is struggling to afford cover if they are the main driver, it may be possible to reduce the cost of premiums by adding yourself or another experienced driver to their policy. All named drivers do need to drive the car for the policy to be valid.
According to comparethemarket.com, young people aged between 17 and 24 could save an average of £368 on their car insurance by adding an experienced named driver to their policy.
Julie Daniels, motor insurance expert at comparethemarket.com, said: “The cost-of-living crisis and soaring fuel costs mean that many people are struggling to stay on the road. For young drivers, the cost of insurance can also be prohibitively expensive. Adding an experienced named driver to your policy is a legitimate way to bring the cost down as long as they also drive the car.
“Our figures show that young drivers could save more than £350 on car insurance if they add a parent or other experienced driver to their policy. However, it is essential that all information provided to your insurer is accurate. Young drivers should take care to avoid fronting as they could land their parents with a criminal record, unlimited fine, and six penalty points.”
Other ways to reduce the cost of car insurance
There are a few other ways parents may be able to help their children reduce their car insurance costs.
Choose a cheap model to insure
When younger drivers are buying a car, it’s worth thinking about how expensive they might be to insure. According to Go.Compare, top of the list of the cheapest cars to insure this year are the Skoda CitiGo (£908), the Volkswagen Up! (£930) and the Seat Mii (£960).
Shop around for cover
Young drivers can also cut the cost of car insurance by shopping around when their policy ends. Comparethemarket.com says a young driver could typically save £263 by switching to the cheapest deal, while young drivers with an additional named driver on their policy could save an average of £228 by shopping around.
If you need a new car insurance policy for either your child or yourself and don’t know where to start, you can compare quotes from over 110 providers using our car insurance comparison tool. Simply enter your details to start comparing.
Consider ‘black box’ insurance
Black box or telematics car insurance involves a small device being fitted in your car that monitors your driving behaviour. If young drivers can demonstrate safe driving habits, they will then be rewarded with discounted insurance. Learn more about black box insurance in our article What is black box car insurance?
Pay for cover annually
If you can afford to, it’s a good idea to pay for car insurance annually rather than monthly. If you pay every month, interest will be added to your premiums, so you’ll end up paying more overall.
You can explore other ways to reduce car insurance costs in our guide Six practical tips to reduce your car insurance premiums.
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