Finally getting a licence and onto the road is the dream of almost every Australian teenager – being able to drive is a big step towards becoming independent. But having a car and getting a licence is an expensive process.
But having a car and getting a licence is an expensive process; you have to cough up for the written test your learner’s licence, driving lessons and of course your actual licence, unless of course your parents are willing to pay for all that.
Given that they’re unlikely to have a high earning capacity, keeping up with all the costs of owning and driving a car can be a real struggle for young people, and that is without factoring in the significant cost of car insurance.
Car insurance is vitally important, even for young drivers, so Canstar has prepared this guide on car insurance for P-platers, discussing how much it costs and how you can get a cheaper policy.
Top car insurance policies for young drivers
The table below displays a snapshot of car insurance policies for young drivers on our website with links to providers websites. Although we don’t rate policies for P-platers specifically, this table shows results based on a male driver under the age of 25 in New South Wales, as under 25s often get the same treatment as P-platers when it comes to insurance.
Does car insurance cost more for P-platers?
As with drivers under the age of 25, car insurance for P-platers, unfortunately, costs more on average than it for older drivers. This is mainly due to the fact that P-platers are far less experienced on the road, and are therefore seen as a bigger risk to insurers.
The graph below shows that there is a significant difference between the premiums you can expect to pay – on average – as a P-plater compared to if you were just a few years older at 25+.
Why do P-platers pay more for car insurance?
The lack of driving experience is the biggest reason that P-platers pay more for car insurance, but there are four other key factors that influence the cost of policies. These factors are:
- An underestimation of risks
- Limited ability and/or judgement
- Deliberately taking risks
- Alcohol and drug use while driving
The last two points are also major contributors. According to a report from the Transport Accident Commission, more than 350 drivers aged 18-25 died on the roads in Victoria during the last 10 years. This represents 25% of all driver casualties in the state, despite the fact that this age bracket only makes up 10% of total licence holders. 62% of these casualties occurred during high alcohol times.
“A 17 year old driver with a P1 licence is four times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash than a driver over 26 years” – Young Driver Factbase
Your gender also plays a large role in determining your premiums. Unfortunately, 76% of young driver deaths in Victoria are males, while one in three drivers involved in speeding incidents or crashes are men in this age group. Young men are seen as more likely to engage in risky or illegal behaviour by insurers, and there is research to back this up.
How can P-platers get cheaper car insurance?
While premiums might not be cheap for you by any means, there are ways you can shave dollars off the cost of your car insurance policy:
- Drive an old car: older cars will, in general, have cheaper insurance premiums than new cars, since its much more expensive for the insurer to replace parts on a newer model. So while it may not look cool, make sure your first car is a bomb if you want to pay less in insurance!
|New Cars Vs Old Cars – Annual Premiums ($/year)|
|State||Car Type||Average Premiums||Difference|
Source: canstar.com.au. Premiums are based on Canstar’s 2017 Car Insurance Star Ratings.
- Keep your car in a secure location: insurers will see more risk in a car that is left on the street, so keep it locked away if you can.
- Look for discounts: many providers offer discounts of up to 25% when you buy a new policy online, so check out what’s available! You can also be eligible for discounts by completing a safe driving course.
- Look for policies with a higher excess: the excess is the amount you need to pay when making a claim. Policies with higher excesses will often have lower premiums, so this can be useful if you don’t end up crashing.
- Drive safely! the same applies for people of all ages; insurers take your driving history into account. Keeping your car in a good condition, avoiding fines and keeping out of trouble will give you a good record, and can let you negotiate for a better rate down the line with your insurer.
To look for a car insurance policy with the most suitable combination of price and features for you, compare your options with Canstar. This year Canstar Researched compared 61 different policies from 51 insurers Australia wide, and you can view them all here: