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When the ‘L’ plates come off

By Ashbourne News Telegraph  |  Posted: October 26, 2013

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“Ive passed my driving test!” Five words that launch every parent into a roller coaster of emotion.

It starts with elation at the prospect of a regular taxi service from the pub, which soon spirals into despair at the notion that the small fortune you have already shelled out on driving lessons, was merely the beginning! Not to mention the heart stopping new level of parental fear that grips you as it slowly occurs to you that your little darling is now responsible for a two tonne metal death trap!

Three simple things are required; Details on the best ‘first cars’ out there that are cost effective and safe. Information on how to get the best insurance deal. And finally, a large gin to steady the nerves! - Feel free to make it two now that you are guaranteed a lift home!

New vs Used

This is dependent on budget of course, but don’t rule out buying or leasing new, as there are some excellent deals around at the moment on small cars:-

Current examples obtained online: 

Ford Fiesta: Deposit £1000 - monthly payments £136.68

Fiat 500:      Deposit £1260 - monthly payments £129.00

Of course, when purchasing a vehicle, whether it is new or used, its important to consider its resale desirability. National company Wewantanycar.com purchase thousands of vehicles a year across their 60 UK branches, ranging from Mini’s to Mercedes. Their top three cars purchased for the last 12 months were; the Vauxhall Corsa, Ford Fiesta and the Ford Focus.

“All three of these vehicles are very popular with the car buying public and often appear in the top 10 cars for first time buyers due to their low running costs, low insurance cost and reliability which make them not only a great purchase, but also very easy to sell on. We are always keen to purchase these models”, Matt Cooper of Wewantanycar.com.

Colour is also significant - canary yellow may be your colour of choice, but may not have buyers queing at the door when you come to sell it on. 


There is only one positive element to getting older, and that’s the reduction in your car insurance! In the last two years, car insurance costs have rocketed by around 25 per cent with the average drivers now forking out a hefty £648 a year for cover. 

But for the under 25s, that is a mere drop in the ocean – on average youngsters (or their parents) are now looking to pay around £2,800 for a policy. 

The best starting point for a cost effective deal is an online comparison service which will to do the hard work for you. For example, MoneySupermarket will search more than 130 insurers for you. And of course, some insurers such as Direct Line and Aviva dont feature in comparison sites but are always worth a call.

When you have your quote, play around with altering the excess that you are willing to pay and the annual mileage you will cover to get cheaper quotes.

Haggle! This is not reserved for Turkish bazaars - the car insurance market is notoriously competitive, and remember, they all want your business. 

Another way to guarantee a discount is to get friends and family involved and insure two or more vehicles between you with the same firm. 

The relatively new Black Box which monitors how you drive is also ticking a box with some insurers such as The Co-op's young driver insurance policy. The system is simple: It includes fitting a box into 17-25-year-olds' cars to monitor acceleration, braking, cornering and time of driving - a little bit like having your mom in the car without having to answer all her questions about your new boyfriend! 

It then charges for insurance every 90 days, taking into account any discounts or loadings.

iKube is another option aimed specifically at 17-25 year-olds, who don't often drive between 11pm and 5am, with additional fees charged for driving during these hours. 

Of course, the Black Box tells tales of both good and bad, so driving badly could see your insurance cancelled, but research carried out on behalf of the Co-op claims the service benefits young drivers who drive well, with 51% of under 25s saving up to £544 a year - as well, of course as saving lives.

So there it is; Purchase with an eye on its resale desirability, consider all insurance options and remember to haggle. 

Oh and as for the gin, just make it a large one!

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