8,113,020 used cars changed hands in 2017.

For many young drivers, second hand cars are the only choice, as they provide the best value for money. With costs of running a car being at an all time high, they are often the only cars that young drivers can afford to run.

At insurethebox, we’re here to help you on your mission to find the best car for you. We’ve put together some useful tips to help you find the right car at the right price:


Unlike many of today’s cars, used cars don’t always have top of the range safety features. Check to see what kind of safety features are available in the car, that could help you should you find yourself in a crash. Some of the things you should look for are airbags, traction control and antilock brake systems.

Does the car have a hidden history?

Sometimes when a car is involved in an accident or damaged in a claim, an insurance company may class the car as a “write-off” where it is considered to be damaged beyond an economical repair. In certain circumstances these vehicles can be repaired and allowed back on the road.  If a car has been a write-off it may affect its value (now and when you come to sell it) and also it may affect the price of your insurance. Some insurers may even choose not to insure it for you. To check if the car you are interested in is a previous write-off you will need to complete a vehicle history check, such as those provided by the AA, the RAC or HPI.


One of the main things to look at when buying a second hand car is whether the car is reliable or not. Repair bills for second hand cars can be expensive and sometimes it is cheaper to write the car off as the labour involved in making the repairs is more expensive than the car itself.

Many used cars will come with the MOT/service history, this will give an indication to the condition of the vehicle and how it was used. You may not be mechanically minded or know someone who is but if you do have them give the car a once over, they will be able to make sure everything is ok before you by it. Either way, check:

  • the condition of the car, and make sure there are no obvious signs of damage, dents or scratches.
  • the repair work (if the vehicle has been in an accident) to make sure it is of a good standard. Make sure there are no gaps in bodywork panels or parts of the car hanging off.
  • the engine, and make sure there is oil, water and screen wash. If the car does not have these, the owner may not have taken the best care of the car before they put it up for sale.
  • the lights and tyres. Make sure all the lights work and use the 20p tyre test to make sure that there is enough air in them.

Running Costs:

Although buying a car can be a high cost, you still have to bear in mind that upkeep costs money too. To keep your car roadworthy here are a few of the things you’ll need to consider:


For young drivers the cost of insurance can be very high, without a no claim discount and many years of experience it can be difficult to get insurance. Black box insurance can be a way of getting insured at a reasonable price. insurethebox is the UK’s leading provider of black box car insurance, get a quote and see how much you could save with us.


Although it may not be something you think of straight away, older cars tend to have worse emissions than newer models. The higher the emission level the more you will have to pay in road tax each year.

Engine Size:

Smaller engines are often cheaper to insure than bigger models. The difference in performance can be negligible, while the difference in annual insurance can be £300-400 (approx).

Manual vs Automatic:

Automatic cars cost more to buy than manual ones (on most occasions). This cost is seen in the price you will pay for your insurance. So although it may be easier to drive an automatic it can also be more expensive to insure one.

We hope these tips will help you with your purchase. Buying your first car can be a daunting experience but with our help we hope it is more exciting. Please make sure when you purchase a car that you take into account everything that comes with owning one. Fuel, road tax, MOT & insurance are just some of the factors you need to think about when choosing your car.

We’ve got you covered on the insurance front. Get a quote today and see how much you could save.