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Once upon a time I can remember the joy of passing my driving test, oh the freedom ahead. The world was there for me to explore as a young driver and nothing was going to stop me. Well, that is what I thought, and times are getting more difficult for young drivers of today. So as a new driver where do you turn to and what is the best advice for a new driver.
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The Young Drivers Car Choice
This depends on if your parents are going to buy your first car or it’s your own money. If you’re using your own money to buy your first car then the choices will be more limited. However, it is important that you don’t go buying a sports car, or one with a large engine. The insurance for young drivers is now becoming an astronomical cost, cost more than a car in some instances. If you’re lucky enough to be able to buy a new car then look at a hatchback. If you are buying second hand still with the hatchback as a young driver and it will keep insurance payments down to a minimum.
Group 1 Cars For Young Drivers
- Volkswagen Polo Hatchback
- Skodia Fabia Hatchback
- Volkswagen Up Hatchback
- Nissan Micra Hatchback
- Smart ForFour Hatchback
- Ford Ka Hatchback
- Skoda Citigo Hatchback
- Dacia Logan Estate
- Ford Fiesta Hatchback
As a young driver ensure that you buy the correct model of car that fits into the group 1 insurance group. For example some models of Ford Fiesta’s are insurance group 30 and that is a big jump. The reason you need a group 1 car is to lower the insurance premium to a minimum. Its the law to have Insurance for your car so get it sorted before you drive so you do not end up with a motoring conviction on day 1. Unsure about you modifications then speak with our Driving Offence Solicitors London.
Young Drivers Car Insurance
There are now 50 insurance groups for cars now, 1 being the lowest and 50 the highest, most expensive. Nowadays, each new model derivative (and most sold since the 1970s) has an insurance group rating applied by the Association of British Insurers (ABI). The original group ratings were from 1-20, but since 2009 the current much broader insurance group ratings of 1-50 have been used. That means there’s scope to award different ratings to different specs and trims within model ranges
Tips For Young Drivers To Reduce The Insurance Premium
- Excess: This is what you pay towards a claim before your insurer covers the rest. You might be able to volunteer for a higher excess. The more you are willing to pay as a young driver the more the premiums will come down.
- Telematics: Telematics, or black box insurance, is when your insurer monitors your driving habits. The better you drive the lower your premiums can be, drive sensibly and not to try and impress your friends.
- Named drivers: Adding a named driver with lots of driving experience and few motor insurance claims could also reduce the cost of cover
- Pay annually: Often insurers will give discounts to your premiums if you pay annually instead of monthly. Its called the bank of mum and Dad
- No-claims bonus: Insurers may also reduce the cost of your policy if you haven’t made a previous insurance claim. Bear this in mind whilst driving every day, the more years you are accident-free the insurance premium should come down
- Car security and storage: Enhancing your car’s security features can reduce the chances of theft, as will keeping your car in a locked garage, so you’ll see lower premiums
- Drive less: You may be asked to give an approximate mileage for a quote, and if you drive less it reduces the chances of you being involved in an incident and needing to claim
- Pay-as-you-go: There are increasing numbers of pay-as-you-go policies on the market. They generally involve a fixed monthly premium to cover your car while it’s parked. After which you only pay for how much you drive. This is usually by the mile
- Do NOT modify your stock car. Once you make any modifications to enhance performance on the car you have to inform the insurance company.
What Happens When You Do Not Tell The Insurance Company of The Modifications You Have Made To the Car
In scenario one, you have modified the car and you have an accident. Its nothing major just panel damage. You might get lucky and you pay your excess to the premium and the payout and you buy another car. Of course, your insurance premiums will be higher the next year.
In scenario two, Again you made modifications to the car and did not inform the insurance company. The accident happens and you still keep quiet about the modifications to the car. The car is a complete right off so they send the insurance assessor over to make sure. Upon his investigation he stumbles across the modification and then your insurance immediately becomes null and void. You get no insurance payout and you still have to finish paying for the car that you can no longer drive. The Insurance company will not insure you ever again.
Scenario three, Same as scenario two, however at this point they also decided to prosecute you for fraud. Insurance fraud to be exact and you could end up needing a criminal solicitor to defend you in court.
Do not risk it, inform your insurance company as soon as possible if you have made any changes to the car. Some simple changes/modifications to the car that you wouldn’t make a difference. Check if you are within the law with our Motoring Defence Solicitors.
Modifications That Are Legal
Fitting winter tyres, but ideally still inform your insurance company. Any form of extra security device on you car. However personally I would inform the brokers because this is likely to get you a reduction in your insurance premium.
Modifications On Cars You Have To Inform The Insurance Company Of
Some of these modifications may seem a little strange and you may think why do I have to tell the Insurance company. Surely it’s just because they want to make more money from young drivers and take advantage of them. It may seem like that in the first instance but we will try to explain why car modifications result in higher insurance premiums.
Car modifications generally fall into two categories, to enhance vehicle performance or appearance. These car modifications increase the price of your insurance premium. If any of these modifications have been made to your car, you need to declare them. This even if you have not made them yourself. If you fail to do so, it’s likely your insurance will be invalidated and your claim will be refused.
One category that probably will lower your car insurance for young drivers is extra security on your car. The use of extra locking devices, immobilisers and even vehicle tracking devices could help lower the price of insurance.
Modifications To Cars You Need To Declare
Turbo/ Supercharging Modifications
Of course, this one is quite obvious as this dramatically increase the performance of the car. Not only that, the cars original breaking, suspension and steering system was only designed to handle the power the car was originally sold with. This car modification could cost you more than 100% increase so think carefully before going to such extremes.
Modifications To Exhaust on Cars
A classic young drivers modification to a car or some would say a boy racer. You may think that they just make the car sound much louder but in fact, they enhance the performance of the car. All factory fitted car exhaust systems have inbuilt performance restrictions within them. So removing factory fit and adding a custom exhaust will boost the power of the car. this could increase your insurance by 25%.
Modifications To Air Filters
You may think this is a slightly strange one but it does again affect the performance of a car. Allowing more air into the cylinders, increases the amount of oxygen and then when mixed with petrol creates a bigger bang. This, in turn, creates more power and a faster car. This air filter modification on your car could cost you an extra 25% on your insurance each year.
Modifications To the Car Body
A full body kit screams boy racer and insurance companies do not like that at all, especially in young drivers. You may think that it looks good but having full body kit changes the aerodynamics of a car completely. Not only is it an expensive modification to your car the price increase on insurance could be as much as a hefty 55% increase.
Window Modifications, Tinted Windows
You may think it’s nothing just making your car windows darker and looking cooler. The insurance companies do not see it that way at all, in fact, they look at the reduced vision. So for looking cooler as a young driver, the tinted windows mod could cost you an extra 15% insurance.
Modifications To The Brakes, Upgrading the Brakes
Wait making your breaks better and able to stop quicker raises my insurance premium. Yes, it actually does because the rest of the car was designed to withstand the factory fitted breaks. Enhanced breaking puts an extra strain upon the suspension, the steering and also the chassis. The insurance company views that the rest of the car will be under immense strain and will result in an accident from fatigue due to the breaks. Those fancy painted disk brake callipers could cost you another 30% + in your insurance.
Modifications To Car Seats
You may have fitted the latest winning rally car Recaro seats in your car which may be super safe. However, it doesn’t matter as your car wasn’t crash-tested with those seats so that will cost you 25% more insurance dollars.
Alloy Wheels Mods
Yes changing the wheels alters the performance and handling of a car. Again each car is built and then tested for hundreds of hours using factory fitted wheels. Once you change the diameter and the width of the tyres it puts unnecessary strain on the car in other places. Cool wheels for a young driver could cost unto nearly another 10% hike in cold hard cash.
Modifications To The Paint Work
You may think that a good paint job should not affect your insurance but it does. Firstly if you have an accident and you damage your precious paintwork how much more will it cost to repaint. They base repairs on an average paint job by an average car spray painter. They are not willing to pay for custom paint by a highly skilled artisan spray painter. The second reason is once your car looks different from the rest and everybody wants it. I am not talking about when you come to sell it, no it’s those people who work in the dark and would like to hijack the car. They know there will be a premium on a sale of custom paint job car thus they are prepared to risk more. The cute paint job will cost you around 10/15% extra.
You may be surprised to know that even the go-faster stripes on your car can cost a young driver more in premiums. You see cool and rad, maybe your friends do as well. However, the insurance companies see boy racer and that could mean nearly another 10% extra cash to splash.
Car Modifications That Break The Law
- Tinted windows that restrict more than 70% light
- Under car neon lights
- Illegal Wheel modifications
- Sound/noise modifiers, including exhausts
Young Drivers Car Maintenance Advice Road Worthiness
Now not only as an owner of a car you are responsible for the roadworthiness of that said car. You may be surprised that if you borrow you mums, you’re dads or anyone else’s car. That as the driver of that car you are responsible for the roadworthiness. It may not be yours but as the driver, you are legally responsible at that moment and will incur any relevant penalty should there be any.
Car Lights Road Worthiness
Lights, that is all lights should be in good working order. Most importantly that the front dipped beams both sides are working, (ideally correctly adjusted not to dazzle oncoming drivers.) Modern cars have adjustments within the car to alter the angle of the beams. These were fitted to adjust the beam angle when towing a heavy load, ensure they are set correctly for normal driving. The rear lights should be red in colour and the break lights a more intense red light. All the indicators should also be working correctly so check them on a regular basis with a friend.
If you fail to keep your car lights lit at the appropriate times you could then face:
- A verbal warning, if you are lucky
- Fixed penalty notice. This will result in a £60 fine and three points on your licence
- a Vehicle Defect Rectification Notice – 14 days to fix the fault and provide proof of the fix
- your car taken off the road immediately.
It is a simple check for a young driver and one that should not be overlooked. Especially as it could involve points on the licence and as a new driver under 2 years it only takes 6 points before you lose your licence. Then if you are a new young driver you will have to retake your driving test. So to avoid a totting up ban get into a routine, Young drivers are less likely to be able to plead exceptional hardship.
Car Tyres & Road Worthiness
As we mentioned before if it’s not your car and your about to drive it then you are responsible (with exceptions). This is critical if you notice that the car you are about to drive has bald tyres. EACH tyre comes with a charge of driving with a defective tyre (DVLA Code CU30). Each charge is 3 points so if the car has 4 bald tyres then on the totting up system you would receive an immediate driving ban. (12 points)
There are circumstances that you could plead you had no reasonable cause to suspect that the tyre was defective. Our motoring offence team can argue this on your behalf. For example, we can use this rule to help drivers who rely on their employer’s assurance that a vehicle is in good repair. In some cases as well as sons and daughters who drive their parents’ cars.
Call Ashmans Solicitors straight away before accepting more than 1 fixed Penalty notice. We are available 24/7 on 0333 009 62 75
This means that if you are offered more than one Fixed Penalty for multiple offences committed on the same occasion, you should again think very carefully before accepting and seek legal advice before deciding. Once you have accepted, you can’t change your mind. If you do want to argue that you should get only 3 points, you should not accept more than one Fixed Penalty. Contact the motoring defence solicitors.
Driving With Defective Breaks
If you feel there is something not quite right with the brakes on the car then seek professional advice. It can be daunting as a young driver to ask what may seem like a silly question at the time. However, life is precious and if your breaks fail at a critical time it could be yours and others lives that change forever. Furthermore, if you do have an accident and then its discovered that you had fault breaks then you incur a CU10 as well. This also includes 3 penalty points for the defective breaks along with any injuries you have sustained and the damage to the car. Remember if you make changes to the car and do not declare them to the insurance company, worse case scenario it could be classed as fraud.
Carrying Passengers as a Young Driver
We understand that when you pass your driving test it’s an exciting time for a young motorist for the first time on the road. However, do not fall foul of the law by carrying too many passengers at the same time. Yes, this is an offence CU50, Causing or likely to cause danger by reason of load or passengers. This will result in a fixed penalty notice of 3 points. Not surprisingly this offence is committed mainly by the younger driver group.
Then it’s a further downside to this offence as a young driver as your insurance premium will increase. For the next four years, it will be difficult to get a good deal on your insurance with a CU50 on your licence. As a general rule of thumb, the amount of seatbelts in a vehicle equals the amount of passengers you are legally allowed to carry. There may be exceptional circumstances why you had to carry more than the legal limit of passengers. If you feel that you have a valid reason speak with Ashmans Solicitors first before speaking with the police.
The biggest sin for a young driver would to be caught drink driving. However there may be a way out of a conviction with the hip flask defence.
See our motoring defence fees page to find out more about our fixed fees.
Is it fraud if you modify the car and do not tell the Insurance company
Yes it could amount to fraud in the worse case scenario. What will happen is that your insurance policy will be invalidated. Find out if can you go to jail for dangerous driving.