Young drivers – Could there be a worse time to pass your test

Posted in: Car Insurance, News.

In an age where having your own car or access to your parent’s car at 17 is the norm, could there be a worse time to pass your test given the recent recession; and the spiralling costs of car insurance for young drivers?

It is now not uncommon for young drivers to pick up a car for under £2000, only for their insurance quote to be more than the cost of the car, due to insurance companies increasing their costs year on year as a result of the number of claims they are paying out for.

An explanation for this is that according to AA drivers aged 17-22 have seen a 51% increase on their premiums over the last 12 months, due to the cost of claims they could face in the event of a death or serious injury, often caused by young male drivers.

The average insurance cost for a year for a male aged 17-22 has hit an astonishing £2,457; compared to the average female insurance premium for the same age group being £1,423, whilst the industry average for all drivers is now just over £700, a 40% increase over the last 12 months.

It is estimated that 20% of new motorists are involved in a crash within just six months of passing their test; mainly due to their inexperience on the roads, while young males under 25 were responsible for a third of all death or serious injuries to males of the same age group last year; according to Road Casualties Great Britain.

Simon Douglas, director of insurance at the AA said: “If you have an accident which leaves someone disabled, the claim can be up to £15m, young men are twice as likely to be involved in these incidents than young women.”

Some other facts from Road Casualties Great Britain regarding young drivers make for unpleasant reading:

  • Men under 21 are ten times more likely to be involved in a crash than those over 35
  • Men under 21 are five times more likely to have an accident than women of the same age group
  • Drivers under 25 are responsible for 20% of deaths from car accidents.
    In a bid to keep young drivers off the road until they have enough experience to handle different road situations, the Association of British Insurers has called for a 12 month learning period before younger drivers can take their test. Director of general insurance & health at the ABI, Nick Sterling said: “Introducing a longer and more structured learning period may frustrate some youngsters, eager to get behind the wheel. But better this, than they become another tragic statistic.”

To make matters worse, the Chief Executive of Aviva declared: “I think the rates need to go up further, and I think they will”.; hardly music to the ears of anyone looking to take out a new policy. At a time when we are being encouraged to cut costs and save money, we are being penalised for having a car which is now deemed a necessity in most people’s lives to get to and from work, and to go about their daily lives.

Tips to save on your car insurance

Shop Around

Comparing different providers using the likes of Go Compare or Money Supermarket for the best deal can often mean big savings on your insurance. The first price you get isn’t always the best, so spend some time checking out all the policies available to you.

Pay more voluntary excess

Increasing your voluntary excess can result in savings on your premiums, try adding an extra £100 or £200 when looking for your insurance, and see how much difference it makes. Watch out you don’t offer too much though, or a claim could cost you more than the insurers.

Avoid modifications

Although some modifications may make your car look better; not declaring these can invalidate your insurance should you need to make a claim; so it’s better to be safe than sorry. Keep your money instead of blacking out your windows.

Add an experienced driver

Adding a parent or relative to your policy can often see the price of your quote drop, so give it a go next time you are completing your details online.

 Car security

Don’t leave your MP3 player or phone on display for anyone to break into your car and steal, lock them in the glove box or take them with you, and ensure you have an alarm fitted on your car.

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