Car insurance: what do novice drivers have to consider?

By | September 12, 2021

The long-awaited driver’s license is here. With the driver’s license comes not only permission to drive but also a lot of responsibility.

For novice drivers, there are different rules in road traffic that must be carefully observed. For example, in Germany, there is an absolute ban on alcohol for all drivers under the age of 22 and all novice drivers who are still in their probationary period. And then there is the subject of car insurance, which must be clarified before you start your journey – regardless of whether it is your first own car or if you are a novice driver using the family car.

Insuring a car for the first time is easy if you do your research beforehand. We provide you with the most important information and some tips that you, as a novice driver, need to be well protected in traffic.

How long do you count as a novice driver?

According to the Road Traffic Act, the first driving license is issued on a trial basis. This trial period usually lasts two years. During this time, the drivers are legally regarded as novice drivers. A look at the official accident statistics shows that younger motorists – who are at the age at which around 80 percent of Germans get their car driving license – are comparatively often the main culprits in accidents. The motor statistics of the GDV, based on around 100 million insurance contracts, also confirm those younger drivers up to 25 cause more damage on average than middle-aged drivers.

Motor vehicle insurance for novice drivers – an overview

If, as a young novice driver, you already have your own car, you will need to take out motor vehicle liability insurance for your vehicle. A fully or partially comprehensive insurance is not compulsory but recommended.

The law obliges all car owners to insure their vehicles with motor vehicle liability insurance. This car insurance covers damages that others suffer in an accident caused by you. It bears the repair costs of the third-party vehicle as well as the costs of further property damage, for example to buildings and – very importantly – pays the treatment and follow-up costs if other people have been injured.

The partial and full insurance can be elected by the keeper or the holder voluntarily for added protection of the vehicle. The comprehensive insurance covers the cost of damage to your own vehicle. It is precisely defined which events are insured. With partial comprehensive insurance, for example, hail damage, a collision with wild animals, theft or a car fire are insured. The fully comprehensive insurance also insures damage to your own car, for example, caused by an accident you caused yourself or by vandalism.

Tip:  The driver protection insurance and the driver’s legal expenses insurance are useful additions for car insurance for a relaxing and safe start to the driving experience.

What are the no-claims classes (SF classes) of motor insurance?

The no-claims class influences the amount of the premium for motor vehicle liability and fully comprehensive insurance; With other car insurance policies such as partial comprehensive insurance, no claims classes apply. In principle, the following applies: the higher the SF class, the more favourable it is for the insurance premium of your car insurance. Your no-claims class is determined by the number of claims-free years and the number of claims previously regulated by the insurance.

If you have not caused an accident with your vehicle for a full calendar year that the insurance had to regulate, then you will be placed in the next higher SF class. This discount is known as a no-claims discount. If, however, the insurance company had to settle a motor vehicle liability or fully comprehensive damage relevant to a downgrade in the past year, you will usually be downgraded to a lower SF class. The number of classes by which you are downgraded can differ depending on the insurer and the current no-claims class.

Which no-claims classes are there for motor insurance?

As a novice driver, you will normally be classified in no-claims class 0 (SF 0) if no vehicle has yet been registered as a policyholder in your name. If you have been in possession of an EU driving license for at least three years, you will be classified in the no-claims class ½. The lowest class or the class in which policyholders have to pay the highest contributions is level M (M stands for the Latin “malus”, in German: bad).

Accompanied driving (BF17)

Young people no longer have to wait for their 18th birthday to get a driver’s license. Since 2011, the minimum age for obtaining a driver’s license has been 17 – on the condition that 17-year-old drivers up to their 18th birthday only drive the car when accompanied by another person. That’s why the driver’s license from 17 is also called accompanied driving.

Often young people use the car of their family or companion for accompanied driving and not their own car. If a car is used for accompanied driving, the motor insurance must be informed. The car insurance will adjust the insurance policy for the vehicle. Numerous insurance companies support participation in BF17. Because: Later, when travelling alone, these young people cause fewer accidents than new drivers who have not previously participated in accompanied driving from the age of 17, according to the findings of the German Traffic Watch and the German Road Safety Council.

Transferring no-claims discounts from car insurance – is that even possible?

Under certain conditions, there is the option of transferring no-claims bonuses from motor vehicle insurance. For example, after purchasing their first car, children can assume their parents ‘claims history – on the condition that the parents’ car was mostly driven by them. For a novice driver, this will be a maximum of the period since his or her driver’s license was issued.

Telematics tariffs – a cheap alternative for young drivers

For some time now, some motor insurance companies have been offering telematics tariffs. The principle behind these tariffs: Those who drive carefully save on their insurance premiums. New drivers can use these tariffs to demonstrate their careful driving behaviour with their car insurance. In order to measure and evaluate the actual driving style, the insurance companies have developed various technical solutions and measure various driving data: Some systems measure factors such as speed, acceleration and braking behaviour, other systems also take into account the time of day and trips in heavy city traffic or on the motorway.

Tip: It is difficult for novice drivers to realistically assess their own driving style because they lack practical experience in road traffic. With a telematics tariff, young drivers can save on motor vehicle insurance premiums as well as assess and, if necessary, improve their own driving behaviour.