Advice for New Drivers

Apart from the purchase price, extra costs can sneak up on you when buying and running a car.

MOT

The MOT is basic safety check that should be carried out for the first time when a car reaches three years old. After this a MOT is required on a yearly basis.

The maximum test costs are around £55 for a car.

If your car fails its MOT:

  • If you leave your car at the garage to be repaired there’s no extra fee other than the cost of the repair
  • If the vehicle fails on certain items and you take it away to be repaired but return to the garage within 24hrs, there’s no fee for a re-examination. These items are limited and are listed on the rear of the failure slip
  • If you take the vehicle away after a failure and either return after 24hrs or it has failed on items other than the ones listed on the slip, a full retest fee is applicable.

It’s an offence to drive on the road if your vehicle does not have a current test certificate (MOT). While there are a number of specific exemptions, the most relevant are:

  • When taking it to or returning from a previously arranged test at a test station
  • By prior arrangement, delivering it to or taking away from a place where work is to be carried out to repair the faults on which it failed
  • Towing it to a place to be scrapped.

Insurance

There are three types of insurance:

  1. Fully comprehensive is the most expensive insurance because most possibilities are covered.
  2. Third party, fire & theft repairs the vehicle/property you crashed into if it was your fault, but doesn’t pay for repairs to your own vehicle. You are covered if your car is stolen or goes on fire.
  3. Third party repairs other vehicles or property damaged by you.

Costs vary and you should shop around for quotes. You will be asked about:

  • Your driving history.
  • Type of policy required.
  • Make and model of your car.
  • Value and age of car.

To keep the cost of your premiums downs, here are some things to consider:

  • Look out for companies offering specific young driver insurance policies.
  • Drive safely and build up a no claims record so that you qualify for a discount.
  • Let the insurer know if you have experience of driving a company car or van.
  • Add a responsible driver to your policy but do not claim they are the main driver if it is your car. This is call ‘fronting’ and may invalidate any insurance claim you make.
  • Make use of black box or safe box technology. These are devices that are fitted to your car to record evidence of your sensible driving.
  • Choose a car which is neither powerful nor expensive.
  • Avoid modifications.
  • Get an extra driving qualification such as Pass Plus.
  • Fit security features to your car such as an alarm and steering lock.
  • Park in a garage if possible or in a safe, well lit location.
  • If you can, pay your insurance premium annually as this can work out cheaper than monthly payments.
  • Make every effort to avoid getting points on your licence or, worse, a driving ban. You’ll find getting insurance more expensive afterwards.

Road tax

Road tax for cars is determined on either engine size or fuel type, and CO2 emissions. The easiest way to tax your vehicle is through the GOV site.