Newly licensed drivers represent a higher than average risk for insurers. They must therefore assume the payment of a significant additional premium during their first years behind the wheel. How to take out “young driver” car insurance, and how to find a contract at the best price?
What is a young driver?
The notion of ” young driver is defined in particular by article A121-1-1 of the Insurance Code. It could be :
- Either from a driver who has obtained his driver’s license for less than three years ;
- Either from a driver with an older driving licence, but not being able to prove effective car insurance during the three years preceding the signing of the contract.
A young driver can therefore also be a motorist who is already experienced, but who has given up owning and using a car for several years.
In both cases, the insurer is entitled to apply a insurance premium to cover this motorist profile, and therefore to make him pay more than the others.
Why take out “young driver” car insurance?
The differentiated treatment of young drivers by insurers is justified by a higher average dangerousness. According to figures published regularly by road safety, motorists who obtained their driving license during the previous two years are involved in more than one in five fatal accidents (source: matmut.fr). They are also over-represented in other injury accidents (two out of five).
The reasoning is identical for a more experienced motorist, but who has not driven for several years. The insurer will indeed consider that he has lost his reflexes behind the wheel, and can therefore represent a risk equivalent to that of a young man or a young woman freshly licensed.
Most young drivers also come under the probationary driving license scheme. During his first year of driving, the holder is credited with6 points only on his license. He must then commit no violation of the Highway Code to gradually reach the ceiling of 12 points, on the basis of:
- 2 points per yearin the case of traditional apprenticeship or supervised apprenticeship (i.e. a probationary permit lasting 3 years);
- 3 points per year in the event of accompanied driving (i.e. a probationary license for a period of 2 years).
What is the amount of the additional insurance premium for a young driver?
The application of an additional premium for young drivers is an option left to insurers by law, but not an obligation. It is therefore possible to compare several contracts with each other to select the most advantageous formula.
In all cases, the additional premium paid by a young driver – in the event of classic driving license training – is capped by the article A121-1-1 of the Insurance Code . It can amount to a maximum of:
- 100% the reference bonus for the first year (i.e. a doubling);
- 50% the reference bonus for the second year;
- 25% reference bonus for the third year.
Without a responsible accident, the additional premium is then definitively canceled at the end of the third year.
In addition to the additional insurance premium, the malus bonus system applies to young drivers as well as to all other policyholders. In the event of a responsible accident, a young driver can therefore combine the additional premium and a penalty, and thus pay a very high premium.
Accompanied driving and “young driver” car insurance
Accompanied driving, or “early driver training”, allows a teenager to begin his training from the age of 16. It also offers him the opportunity to acquire his first reflexes at the wheel of the parental vehicle.
This type of formula has many advantages, including the prospect of savings on the future “young driver” car insurance contract. Indeed, the additional premium for a young driver who has taken an accompanied driving course is capped at only:
- 50% the reference bonus for the first year instead of 100%;
- 25% the reference bonus for the second year instead of 50%;
- 12.5%of the reference bonus for the third year instead of 25%.
This advantage is justified by the greater experience of this young driver profile, making it less risky for an insurer.
How to insure a young driver at the best price?
A driver recently holding a driving license does not necessarily have his own vehicle yet, and does not always need one. In this case, it may be interesting to declare him as the secondary driver of another vehicle – typically that of his parents. This will allow him to accumulate a start of seniority as an insured. When he acquires his own vehicle, the applicable additional premium will be correspondingly lower. If there is no at-fault accident with this family vehicle, it will also immediately begin to generate a bonus (–5% per year). If it is impossible for him to wait, the young driver will then have to take out a contract in his own name, and pay the additional premium. To avoid paying too much, he can for example:
- Choose a used and/or low value vehiclerather than an expensive model;
- Select a level ofsuitable warrantylimited if necessary to simple “third-party” insurance (full reimbursement of damage to third parties, but no compensation for the insured person);
- Use an online car insurance comparator to put insurers in competition and choose the most advantageous offer, with the lowest premium.
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