Learning to drive has long been a rite of passage for youngsters. But it has been an arduous and punishingly expense course, not least because of the very high insurance premiums any young driver has had to pay.
Insurers are in the business of assessing risk and the statistics speak for themselves.
Drivers between the ages of 17 and 19 represent only 1.5% of all licence holders in the UK, says the road safety charity Brake, yet they are involved in 9% of the traffic accidents that result in fatal or serious injury.
The charity adds that a quarter of all 18 to 24-year olds are involved in some kind of road traffic accident within just two years of passing their driving test.
The insurers’ response
In response to statistics such as these, insurers have historically loaded the cost of insurance premiums for younger drivers. But insurers also need to take into account other factors affecting the cost of the claims they are called upon to settle.
A report in the Telegraph newspaper on the 27th of February 2017, for instance, predicted that premiums for younger drivers might rise by as much as £1,000 a year following the government’s decision to increase payouts for those injured in car accidents.
That decision also comes in the wake of an increase in the general insurance premium tax, which applies to any cover which is bought, and which increased with effect from the 1st of October 2016 from 9.5% to 10% of the premiums paid.
According to a report by the BBC on the 20th of March 2017, the effect of pressures such as these is that 17 to 20 year-old drivers are now paying an average of £3,878 a year to insure the first car they drive.
Against this background, a public petition has attracted enough signatures to compel Parliament to debate the issue and to consider a maximum cap of £1,200 a year in insurance premiums for young drivers.
Although the petition has gained more than the 100,000 signatures – necessary for a parliamentary debate – it seems clear that the chasm between the £1,200 cap demanded and the considerably higher premiums already being charged by insurance companies is unlikely to succeed.
In the interval, therefore, younger drivers might continue to do well to search out those specialist young driver insurance providers such as ourselves who are committed to making available the necessary cover at affordable prices.