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Insurance dos and don'ts

Insuring a new driver has changed an awful lot in recent years and insuring a young driver on a parent's policy comes with lots of pitfalls, some of which have serious consequences.

The BBC's Money Box programme estimated that over 1,000 claims involving young drivers were being rejected by insurance companies each year, and that figure is going up. A bit of research can save you a lot of hassle and expense. Just so you know, our 'Dos and Don'ts' relate to insurance in general, rather than any specific policies.

We're principally talking to you, Mum and Dad, but young drivers please take note as well.

Dos

  • Be honest and answer questions fully. If your son or daughter is driving a car you own as a named driver on your insurance, make sure you answer fully all questions asked by your insurance company. If you do not it could affect your ability to claim under the policy and could result in your policy being declared void. Ask your insurer for help in this area if you have any questions.
  • Make sure you are aware of the consequences of getting your insurance wrong. If a young driver is involved in an accident and the insurer refuses to pay out, the driver will be treated as if they are not insured. This will result in a fine and six points on their licence, which is an automatic ban for new drivers. Then there will be the uninsured claim for you to settle and it will be very difficult to get cover in the future. And that is too scary to contemplate.

Don'ts

  • Specify the young driver as an additional driver if they are the main driver, even if you own the car! As an additional driver the expectation is that their use of your car will be occasional. Whereas if they are the predominant driver, the premium must be calculated on them and not you. Witholding the true information means you are 'fronting' and that will invalidate your policy, leaving you uninsured.
  • Try and insure the car in your own name if your son or daughter own the car, hoping to secure lower premiums due to your age and/or no claims discounts. They own the car, not you, and so you have no insurable interest. The insurance company would be within their rights to refuse to pay-out in the event of a claim and void your policy.

We're not trying to scare you, we just want to make sure you make a safe and sensible decision when it comes to insuring young drivers.