Young Drivers – Reducing Your Premiums

When it comes to car insurance, first-time and young drivers can find it particularly challenging to find an affordable car insurance policy. Because they are seen as a high risk due to their driving experience and their age, their insurance premiums will usually be much higher than those of an experienced driver.

So what can you do to help reduce the cost of your young driver's car insurance policy and save yourself as much as you are able early on in your driving career?

Further Your Knowledge

Early on in your driving career, gaining additional knowledge can help to reduce your premium, so look into courses such as Pass Plus – which helps to teach more advanced driving techniques, such as driving on a motorway or at night time. Pass Plus courses can help to take a little off your premium, and investing in it early on could prove worthwhile in the long term.

While you’re learning to drive, you’ll be driving your instructors’ car, but after passing your test, you’ll have the responsibility of car ownership to worry about yourself. When starting off as a new driver, it can certainly be worth thinking about what you’re going to be wanting to drive.

Consider Your Car Model At First

When you’re first starting out on the road, consider the car you’re starting off with. Cars with smaller engines and that haven’t had any modifications put on them are going to be cheaper to insure, so consider starting a little more modest to start.

Ok, so it might not be your first choice or ideal car to start with, but by starting small, you can help yourself to save big on your young driver's car insurance.

Consider adding extra security features such as steering wheel locks and alarm systems to help deter thieves and prove to your insurer that you have taken steps to protect your vehicle by making it less attractive to wannabe thieves.

ALSO SEE: 10 Easy Ways to Reduce the Costs of Your Car Insurance

Accumulate Some No Claims Discount

As your driving experience increases, your risk level will gradually drop, and you will find your premium reducing. By ensuring that you drive carefully and safely, you can begin to accumulate No Claims Discount which could help to reduce your premiums over time. But with the advent of technology, there are also other options for proving you’re a good driver, so why not try…

Tracking Yourself With Telematics

Telematic technology allows insurance providers to monitor drivers and, more importantly, their driving habits in order to determine the kind of driver that they are. While it might seem a bit Big Brother-ish, driving a car with a black box fitted in it could be useful for proving you’re a good driver.

Telematic black boxes are used by insurance companies to record certain aspects of your journey – including acceleration, braking, overall speed and cornering position – before feeding back the details using wireless technology.

Some policies will even allow you to view your current progress using a smartphone app, giving you the chance to check your progress while giving your insurer an idea of the type of driver you are, calculating your next policy price using the data you provide.

If you’re still not sure about using technology, turning to other people can help in the meantime, especially if you consider adding…

Second Drivers

While it may seem a little ‘uncool’ to add one of your parents to your insurance policy, this may help to reduce your premiums in the long term. By adding a more experienced driver with a good driving record as a second driver on your policy can help to reduce your costs by adding them as an ‘occasional driver’ – just make sure to not add them as the primary driver, or you may find yourself facing a fraud charge.

It can also be worth seeing about adding your car to a multi-car policy, especially if you still live at home with the folks. Multi-car policies can help reduce your costs by insuring them under the same household rather than as individual policies, and speaking of yourself as an individual it can be worth looking into a few details about yourself to try and bring down your premiums, so why not try…

Checking Your Job Title

If you are currently in work, have a think about your job title, and try running a quote through with several job titles that apply to you, you may find it cheaper for one than the other, but be sure to be honest as you can when applying.

Also think about how much cover you want to take out, so during the application process think about…

Checking Your Cover Level

Don’t just assume that getting a third party-only insurance policy is going to be the cheapest option, be sure to research into as many policies as possible before deciding on the one that’s right for you.

For some, taking out a fully comprehensive policy can be a cheaper option than just limiting yourself to a third party-only policy, but by taking steps to ensure you drive safely and are honest with your insurance company about your details you can save yourself a small fortune on your young driver's car insurance policy.

Young drivers and first-time drivers can have a pretty raw deal at first when it comes to finding an affordable car insurance quote, but by taking action early on you can help yourself going forward.

By taking the time to make a few changes to driving habits, ensuring you drive safely, and taking the time to have a look at your policy options, young drivers could save themselves some money which could set them up for a long and happy driving career.

Training To Become A Driving Instructor

We all remember a time when we had to learn to drive, whether just before leaving school or in later life, and we needed somebody to teach us both the rules of the road and how to learn our vehicles.

Driving instructors provide the platform on which to learn how to drive a car, and there is no shortage of driving schools and self-employed driving instructors out there, so new drivers can be spoilt for choice in places.

But what about if you want to become an instructor? Maybe you fancy a career change and want to pass on your driving experience to the next generation of new drivers, or diverse into specialist areas such as advanced driving techniques or driving specific vehicles such as HGVs.

Where Do I Start?

Firstly, you’ll need to apply to the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) to become what is known as an Approved Driving Instructor (ADI), you must meet the following criteria to be successful:

  • Be over 21 years of age
  • Have held a driving licence for three years or more
  • Pass a criminal background check and motoring conviction check

After you’ve successfully received your approval to begin training as a driving instructor, there are then three Approved Driving Instructor tests to complete. In total, the process of training to become a driving instructor takes about six to nine months to complete, depending on your progress through the courses.

ADI Test: Part 1

The first part of your journey to becoming a driving instructor will cost around £81 which lasts around 1 hour 45 minutes and can be repeated should you fail.

Part 1 of the test is a theory test, much like when you first learned to drive and involves multiple choice questions based on the Highway Code.

There is also a computer-based hazard perception test to complete, and upon successfully passing the test you can then move onto Part 2.

ADI Test: Part 2

The second part of the test will cost you around £111 and tests several aspects which are crucial to your ability to drive a vehicle. You must also take this next part within two years of passing the ADI Part 1 test.

You’ll have to take and successfully pass an eye test to begin with as well as be tested on your ability to drive the vehicle. This will involve testing your ability to perform certain manoeuvres, including those that you’ll be teaching your students – such as emergency stops and reversing around corners.

Once you have passed Part 2 of the process, you can then apply for a trainee driving instructor licence which is valid for six months and will allow you to begin the process of teaching people how to drive. This costs £140 and comes with two criteria:

  • You must have passed the ADI Part 2 test
  • You must have accumulated at least 40 hours of training with a qualified ADI instructor

There are driving schools up and down the country that offer courses for driving instructors, allowing you the chance to accumulate the hours required to take Part 3, but you can take more if you like to make sure you’re completely comfortable in your driving before taking the plunge into teaching.

ADI Test: Part 3

The third part of the test must also be taken within two years of passing your ADI Part 1 exam – this will test your abilities not as a driver, but as a tutor.

Part 3 will test how you approach teaching someone to drive, testing your techniques and characteristics through the use of role play and reactions to specific situations. These can vary depending on your driving school, but don’t be surprised if you’re tested on how to deal with certain types of students – including those who are nervous.

Once you’ve completed all three ADI tests, you can then apply for an Approved Driving Instructor badge and join the ADI register.

SEE ALSO: How Can I Become A Taxi Driver?

Applying For An ADI Badge

ADI badges cost around £300 and are available from the DVSA online where you will be issued with a username and password and have to apply to join the Approved Driving Instructor register before you start teaching. ADI badges must also be renewed every four years and you must display the badge in your vehicle.

Where To Now?

Once you’ve gotten all your documentation the world is your oyster, now it’s just a case of deciding which direction you want to take yourself.

Driving schools can be a good start for both learning to drive, and learning to teach, so it can be worth looking into vacancies in your local area once you’ve completed all your tests and become a fully qualified driving instructor.

Setting Up As A Sole Trader

If you’re looking to set up on your own, you then need to think about drawing up a business plan, making modifications to your vehicle, sorting out driving instructors, insurance, advertising, and so on to get your business going.

Driving schools can offer you advise on setting up on your own, as well as allowing you to join a fleet to build up your experience. It can be worth garnering some advice from these before you set out on your own.

Training To Become A Coach Driver

All of us, at one point in our lives, have travelled by coach. Whether it’s been on the way to a school trip, a holiday abroad, as a sports team going on tour, or even travelling from the end of the country to another for just £1.

But what about if you want to train to be behind the wheel of one of these behemoths of the road? If you have some previous driving experience and enjoy working with people, then becoming a coach driver could be for you.

So what training do you need in order to become a coach driver?

How Can I Become A Coach Driver?

In order to be a coach driver you must have the following to begin training:

  • You must be over 18 years of age
  • You must hold a full UK driving licence that allows you to drive a car
  • You must have gotten a D2 form and D4 form from your GP or private medical firm;

A D4 is a medical form that helps to prove you are in good health – including your eyesight – and you must be shown to be in good health before you can begin training.

Order your D2 and D4 forms here.

SEE ALSO: How Can I Become A Taxi Driver?

What Licences Do I Need?

In order to qualify as a bus or coach driver, you need to complete training for both a Passenger Carrying Vehicle (PCV) licence and also a Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) certificate.

A PCV licence takes around four to six weeks to complete and will involve both a theory and practical test, much like a driving test on a car.

Coaching The Coach Drivers

The process of training to become a bus or coach driver is made up of four tests, all of which contribute towards your CPC certificate. The test sections are as follows:

  • Part 1: Theory

Much like you did when you passed your driving test for your car, this section is made up of both a theory test and a hazard perception test.

The theory test is made up of 100 questions, while the hazard perception test has 19 videos you’ll have to watch. In both tests, the pass mark is quite high (85 out of 100 for theory and 67 out of 100 for hazard perception).

Should you fail the test first time, you can book another test but you’ll have a three-day grace period first before you can sit the test again. Once you’ve passed this section, you can then move onto section two, which makes use of case studies to test you.

  • Part 2: Case Studies

This section tests your ability to react to certain situations and makes use of case studies in order to test you.

There are 7 case studies in all, and all are based on situations that you’re likely to encounter in your work as a coach driver. All questions will have a multi-choice question at the end, and the pass rate is around 40 correct out of 50 questions.

Upon passing the test, you’ll receive a pass letter which then gives you up to two years to take and pass Part 4 – you can’t apply for part 4 without this number so keep it safe.

  • Part 3: Driving Ability

Part 3 is when you will actually start driving, and you’ll need to have passed Part 1 before even starting this section. In order to complete the test, you must ensure that you have access to a coach or lorry that meets the test standards.

This can be provided by an employer or by yourself, in either case, you must ensure that the vehicle is covered by a coach insurance policy before you begin.

Part 3 of the CPC certificate will test you on the following:

  • Vehicle safety questions
  • Practical driving
  • Off-road exercises

You’ll be asked various questions about the vehicle and how to ensure you keep the vehicle and its passengers safe.

For the practical side of things, your examiner will be checking for many aspects of your driving ability, and will be checking your abilities to do the following:

  • Using the controls of the vehicle
  • Control and maintain the speed of your vehicle
  • Making use of the mirrors in order to check for traffic and for safe manoeuvring
  • Perform a controlled stop in the event of an emergency
  • Finding safe places to stop
  • Awareness of the actions of other road users
  • Moving away from angles, including while uphill and downhill
  • Use the appropriate signals when performing manoeuvres
  • Dealing with hazards

Off-road exercises will include hitching a trailer, as well as performing a reversing manoeuvre into a bay.

There will also be a ten-minute period of independent driving, where your examiner will remain silent and see how you react to situations on your own.

Upon passing Part 3, there’s one final part you must pass in order to obtain a CPC licence:

  • Part 4: Practical Demonstration

This section is made up of four sections and will focus on vehicular safety, the correct procedure to load the vehicle, assessing situations during an emergency, as well as techniques to identify and stop human trafficking.

Once You’ve Passed

After passing all four sections, you will then be sent your CPC card which you will need to produce in order to secure a job as a coach or bus driver.

You may also need some additional training on traffic signs in Europe. If you work for a company which takes coaches abroad, your employer should provide this where needed. Also, in order to keep their skills fresh and to prove to the DVLA of their abilities, coach drivers must take a minimum of 35 hours of CPC training every five years, or renew their licence if they're over 45.

Training To Become A Chauffeur

Chauffeurs are usually associated with arranged night outs and bussing celebrities to and from events.

Becoming a chauffeur can be a career change for some who have been driving throughout their career, such as taxi drivers in which the hours can vary depending on the work involved. If you work for an individual, your shift will depend on your employers’ schedule; whereas if you work for a private hire limousine company, your working pattern will be determined by how many bookings you get.

READ: How Can You Become A Taxi Driver?

If you’re thinking of a career change and think becoming a chauffeur may be for you, there are a few things you need to ask yourself:

What Does A Chauffeurs’ Work Involve?

Chauffeurs are employed by individuals and companies to ensure that their clients get from A to B safely and in time, all the while maintaining an air of professionalism – both for themselves and their vehicles –  excellent time-keeping and smart dress.

Other than driving, tasks for a chauffeur will include unloading luggage, aiding clients with getting in and out of their vehicle, making sure the vehicle itself is clean and well maintained, and providing information about the journey itself, as well as waiting for long periods of time before taking their client or employer home again.

What Kind Of Clients Do I Get?

Chauffeurs can be privately employed by individuals or households, or for private hire companies that will rent out vehicles on a nightly basis.

Tasks for the day can include anything from bussing clients or family members to various events during the day – including school runs, picking up from workplaces and social events – as well as ensuring that the vehicle itself is pristinely clean both inside and out.

What Kind Of Vehicles Could I Drive?

Depending on the employer, chauffeurs can drive a range of vehicles; from limousines to prestige cars such as a Rolls Royce and even more unusual vehicles such a horse-drawn carriages.

Do I Need A Special Driving License?

Whilst you don’t need to make any changes to the type of driving licence you have, you will need to change the way you drive in order to become a chauffeur, and taking a course is essential if you want to train as a chauffeur.

What Training Do You Need?

Chauffeurs have to undergo rigorous training in various aspects to do with their work:

  • Advanced and defensive driving methods
  • Car etiquette and professionalism
  • Attitude and mindset and ability to react to certain situations
  • Time management
  • Car maintenance
  • First Aid

Not only must you be knowledgeable of your client but also the vehicle in which you will be driving, so car maintenance will be included in your training, which can involve changing tires and basic maintenance to keep the vehicle moving should you break down.

Advanced driving techniques will also be taught during these courses, including techniques such as:

  • Evasive and defensive driving techniques

These are designed to test your driving ability in reaction to certain situations and conditions, including :

  • Reacting to and driving safely with a burst tire
  • Driving in inclement weather conditions, including stormy and severe weather
  • Having to react to other external factors which may lead to sudden braking, including outside of events
  • Driving in a convoy

Depending on the client, driving in a convoy might be necessary for the journey, and you will be given training in aspects such as:

  • Two-way radio use
  • Keeping in line during a convoy
  • What to do if the convoy is broken and rejoining a convoy as a result
  • Protocols on picking up from various locations

This helps to train you for picking up from a variety of locations, including airports, events and outside schools and hotels, as well as the etiquette requirements.

Trainee chauffeurs will also have to train in a short course of first aid which is usually included in the price of your course and helps to prepare you for dealing with clients in the event of accidents and the correct procedures for reporting incidents.

Where Can I Train?

A good place to start if you’re thinking of training to become a chauffeur is a course from RoSPA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents), which could help you to get started initially. The course can be taken either at a central location or through your current employer.

When it comes to practical practice there are a number of companies who offer training for chauffeurs. These are usually in the form of a course, normally with modules in vehicle safety, personal etiquette and protocols for pickup at various locations including airports and events.

Remember as well that training to be a chauffeur is not cheap, courses can range from £1000 and can take up to two weeks to complete.

There will also be an element of role-playing involved during your training, usually setting up some situations whereby the safety of yourself or your client may be compromised, you will be trained as to how to react to certain potentially confrontational situations in a safe and effective manner.

Can Anyone Become A Chauffeur?

You must initially have driving experience before even thinking of becoming a chauffeur, having a clean driving record can help you to succeed as employers will be looking for safety as well as professionalism.

Chauffeurs are usually associated with older drivers who may be very accomplished drivers from many years behind the wheel and are just looking for new opportunities to further their careers and do something a little different. Younger drivers can apply to be chauffeurs but might find it a little more difficult to get the relevant chauffeur insurance due to their lack of experience.

How Can I Become A Taxi Driver?

We’ve all had to make use of a taxi at some point, whether to take us home from the pub, from the supermarket, or even to the hospital in times of need.

And of course, we’re familiar with the black Hackney cabs driven by cabbies in London, who hone their skills over many years to be able to get you from one side of the city to the other as quickly as possible (and maybe even throw in some local knowledge while they’re at it).

But how does one become a taxi driver? Maybe you’re thinking of a career change and like the idea of using your car as a private hire vehicle, or quite fancy driving one of those iconic Hackney cabs?

Starting Off

UPDATE: As per Gov.uk's announcement, you no longer need to apply through your local council and pass a DVSA taxi assessment to be eligible to drive a Private Hire Vehicle (PHV). You may visit this website to see how you can apply for a driver's licence for taxis and PHVs.

Councils will differ in their criteria, but the universal requirements for obtaining a taxi licence are that you’ll need the following:

  • Be a UK citizen
  • You must be over 18 years of age
  • A full and valid driving licence that you’ve held for at least 12 months
  • A medical certificate confirming that you are in good health (Group II Medical form)
  • You must have passed a criminal records background check (DBS check)
  • Pass a driving skills assessment test (see below)
  • In some cases; you’ll have to pass a geographical driving test, especially in the area you wish to operate

Once your application has been accepted, you’ll need to pass a Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) test to qualify for a taxi licence.

What Does The Assessment Involve?

Much like a normal driving test for your car, a taxi assessment will first test your eyesight, and you’ll be required to read a licence plate from a distance of 20 metres, and if you require glasses, you must wear them during the test.

You will then move onto a practical assessment, which will involve certain manoeuvres, including:

  • Identifying traffic and road signs and answering questions from the Highway Code
  • 10 minutes of solo driving without being given instructions by the examiner
  • Performing a manoeuvre to turn your vehicle to face in the opposite direction
  • Stop at the side of the road as if picking up a passenger
  • What to do if a passenger leaves property in your vehicle after being dropped off
  • Perform an emergency stop

Upon passing the assessment, you’ll then receive a pass certificate (TPH10 form) as well as a copy of your assessment and some notes from your examiner, both of which you’ll need for the next step in your application.

What’s The Next Step?

Depending on which council you wish to drive for, each will have its own set of criteria for taxi drivers, and many will require you to pass a ‘knowledge test’, which essentially tests your knowledge of the local area.

Once you’ve passed all the relevant tests required, your council will then issue (for a fee) a taxi licence; these are issued on a year-long basis, you can then begin the process of deciding what sort of environment you want to work in.

Sole Trader Or Fleet Driver?

When you first start out as a driver, it can be worth finding a local taxi company to start work with to gain some experience. Being part of a fleet means you get orders distributed to you as they are rung into the main office.

Ridesharing allows you to operate as a solo driver, through use of an app such as Uber, so you can take fares on the go and dictate your own workload. However, you’ll need to arrange for a special type of taxi insurance on your own vehicle on top of your car insurance policy.

Whether you choose to be your own boss or work as part of a taxi company, ensuring you’re qualified for the job is essential to keep you, your passengers and your employer safe.

What to Do If Your Car Breaks Down

If your vehicle breaks down on the road can be stressful and scary. However, knowing what to do, can help you stay safe while you get help. Here are things that you need to do if your car breaks down.

The best way to avoid a vehicle breakdown is to ensure that your car is well maintained through regular servicing. You should also check other things like oil a and your tyres.

What To Do When Your Car Breaks Down

What you are required to do depends on the location where your car broke down:

On a motorway

You must make use of a warning triangle on the motorway hard shoulder.

  1. Turn your hazard lights on and move your vehicle off the road: Look for somewhere that is away from traffic to pull over and park your car.
  2. Go out of your car safely: Get passengers out of the vehicle using the doors that are facing away from incoming traffic and look for a safe place to wait.
  3. Make use of your warning triangle: If you own one, place a warning triangle at least 45 meters behind your car to alert other road users.
  4. Communicate with your breakdown provider: If your vehicle is interfering with traffic, call the police first who can assist to divert traffic.

If you locate a safe place to settle away from traffic you can attempt to repair the problem yourself. If you are not sure regarding what the problem is, you should wait for professional help.

What you are required to inform your breakdown provider

Store your breakdown cover membership card in your vehicle, because It will contain your membership number and the contact information that you need to request for assistance.

When you call, you will be inquired for the following details:

  • Your name and your breakdown membership number
  • Your location
  • You contact details
  • The cause of the car breakdown

How Long It Takes For Assistance To Arrive

This will depend on your provider and if your breakdown is considered as a priority. Most try to reach you within 45 minutes.

Where you are towed to will depend on the level of breakdown cover you own:

  • Roadside assistance: Your car will be towed to the nearest garage to your location
  • Vehicle recovery: You can opt to be towed to any location in the United Kingdom

If your policy contains onward travel cover, your provider can offer you a hire car, or pay for the emergency hotel accommodation costs if you are stuck far away from home.

  • Talk to a local garage, who may be able to come out and tow your vehicle back to their place. However, they could charge you for this.
  • Make use of an emergency telephone to ask for assistance if your vehicle has broken down along a motorway, and get towed to the adjacent garage. This can cost you more than £100.
  • Obtain a policy after you have broken down. Most companies allow you to do this and then come out to assist you. However, you will be charged a one-off payment of up to £90.