Getting good car insurance for young drivers can be kind of a challenge if you don’t understand how insurers think. Here are a few key things to know.

While young drivers insurance has been getting cheaper recently, there’s a big new rule that’s likely to change the game a lot. Up to now, car insurers have been using a trick called “price walking” to basically make the most out of drivers who don’t shop around. Staying loyal to an insurer means they can keep ramping up your payments year-on-year without worrying that you’ll go looking for a better deal elsewhere. Over time, those premium increases really mount up.

New rules coming in next year are aimed at killing price walking stone dead. From January, insurers won’t be able to charge existing customers any more than new ones. That’s pretty great news for a lot of drivers, but it’s probably also the end of many of those attractive “new customer” offers.

What is the cheapest car insurance for young drivers?

This is a pretty big question, and it’s worth asking early. Basically, not every insurance package offers the same types of cover. If you use your vehicle for work, for instance, you might be surprised to find that your policy only covers you for personal travel. Choosing the best and cheapest insurance starts by working out exactly what cover you need. Only once you’ve narrowed down those choices is it worth looking at the actual prices on offer.

Obviously, your decision is as much about what won’t be covered as what will. If you’re not going for comprehensive cover, will you be able to afford to keep your wheels on the road if your car’s damaged? If you drive for work, losing the use of your vehicle altogether would probably be a lot worse than paying a little more for better cover.

Best cars to insure for young drivers

While you’re at it, think about whether you’ve got the best car for your needs. Insurers always try to calculate risk when they decide on their prices, and their assessments aren’t all about you. Insuring a car from one of the lower “insurance groups” will generally be cheaper for most drivers. A relatively humble Volkswagen Polo or trusty old Ford Fiesta, for instance, will usually be cheaper to insure than some high-performance sports monster.

Similarly if a car’s likely to be fairly cheap to repair, you’ll probably see that reflected in your insurer’s offers. Cars with fancy mods on, on the other hand, will often make them a little twitchy.

Car insurance quotes for young drivers

To find the cheapest place to get insurance for young drivers, you’re going to need to do some legwork. Price comparison websites are a great start – but don’t stop at checking just one. As moneysavingexpert.com’s Martin Lewis explains, these sites can be more like marketplaces than strict apples-for-apples comparisons. The same insurer won’t necessarily post the same price on every site, so it’s worth putting the extra time in to look deeper.

How to reduce your car insurance

An insurance quote is based on how “risky” you and your vehicle look to the company – and there’s a lot that goes into that calculation. Young drivers, in particular, can look like a bit of a risk to insurers. Having a clean driving record is obviously a big plus, as is completing the Pass Plus course to show you’ve got serious driving skills. Not every way of bringing your payments down is quite so obvious, though.

Most of the time, adding extra drivers to your policy will tend to ramp up your “threat profile”, along with your insurance payments. However, if you’re a young driver, adding an older, more road-tested person to your policy can actually bring your prices down.

The insurance game is loaded with odd little money-saving tricks like this. If you drive for work, it’s worth knowing that certain types of jobs – or even just job titles – can affect the insurance deals you’re offered. An example of this is describing yourself as an “editor” rather than a “journalist”. To an insurer, an editor sounds like someone who sits safely in an office. A journalist, though – that’s someone you can imagine taking risks in dangerous places. In real terms, they might be doing the exact same job – but which do you reckon gets the better offers on their insurance?

Another weird trick to bring your insurance prices down is in the timing of when you renew your policy. Generally, if you start sniffing around for quotes about 3 weeks before your actual renewal date, you’re likely to look like a safer bet than someone who only checks at the last minute. Insurers like people to think ahead, and get nervous if it seems like you’re the “just-in-time” type.

One final, but crucial, bit of advice: don’t get lazy. Letting your insurance policy auto-renew won’t do your wallet any favours, even if the new rules solve the automatic price walk problem. Keep checking out what the competition’s offering, and switch when there’s a better deal.

It can be an expensive business getting out on the road, particularly for young drivers who travel for work. Talk to RIFT to make sure you’re not leaving too much cash in the taxman’s pocket each year. We’re the UK’s top tax refund experts, and we’re here to get that money back where it belongs.

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