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TOP TIPS FOR INSURING YOUR FIRST CAR

Many young drivers can end up paying more for the first year of car insurance than they did for the car itself - but this doesn't have to be the case. Most insurers will give you a quote based not only on your age, but also on your experience, your safety rating, and whether they judge you to be a safe driver. Convince them you're unlikely to have an accident, and your premium will be lower than the average first-time car owner's. Here's how to go about it:

1. Choose your car carefully: It may be tempting to pick out the best and fastest model of vehicle that you can afford, but high-speed high-danger models will mean accordingly high car insurance. Instead of going for that dilapidated second-hand Porsche, pick your car for safety and vehicle condition. Buying a newer model which performs better in crash tests and has added protection for inexperienced drivers will do wonders for your insurance premium. Features to look out for include air bags, passive restraints and anti-lock brakes. Take a look at used cars available online.

2. Take a Safe Driving Test: Ok, so when you've passed your driving test the last thing you'll want to do is to take more driving lessons. But taking this extra capability test really is the best way for young drivers to cut their car insurance premiums with a whole range of insurers. The certificate obtained should test your competency in the following areas:

- Driving in town

- Driving out of town

- Driving in all weather

- Driving at night

- Driving on a dual carriageway

- Driving on a motorway

3. Protect your car: Increasing the security of your car is a great way to minimise your car insurance premium. Fit an approved alarm and immobiliser, and try to keep your car in a locked garage overnight. If your parents have garage space which they currently use for storage, convince them to allow you to clear it and park your car there instead. If you don't have a garage, then parking in a driveway is generally considered to be safer than parking on a road.

4. Keep extras to a minimum: By minimizing your optional extras, you can help to reduce your car insurance premium. Do you really need a courtesy car and legal expenses in case of an accident? Could you make do with third party, fire and theft rather than going for full comprehensive cover? Many younger drivers have less valuable cars, and so can legitimately reduce their car insurance by taking out only the minimal insurance required by law. Increasing the excess you are prepared to pay on any claim can also help reduce your premium.

5. Shop around: Finally, and perhaps most importantly, make sure that you take adequate time to shop around for the best quote. You can be particularly savvy if you're prepared to look for at least two hours. Consider a number of the price comparison websites for car insurance, and then also shop around individual providers. Some supermarkets also can provide low cost car insurance.



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