Unlike when some of our more seasoned drivers first began their motoring career, the odds are fairy well stacked, financially at least, against the younger generation.
With lessons costing an average of GBP24 each, and the average new driver taking around 20 lessons not forgetting the fees for the test and theory test, getting on the road is not in itself, that much more expensive than it was. The problem for most younger drivers is, unsurprisingly, insurance. We guestimate that drivers are spending over GBP3,000 on their first car, but factor in a probably insurance premium of over GBP2,000 in the first year, and it soon because obvious why these expenses are prohibitive for many.
There are reasons for this. Department of Transport statistics suggest that nearly one fifth of people killed of badly injured during 2011 on Britain’s roads were in the 17 – 24 years old age bracket. Further research shows other, similar statistics, demonstrating that younger drivers simply are more of an insurance risk on the roads, and as we know, the more risk that they will have to pay out on a claim, the higher the premium.
So what can you do if you are a young driver or looking to help your teenager get on the road?
Firstly, consider the car very carefully. Check insurance bands, avoid anything with any modifications, body or engine, and try to stick to 1l or less, as these things will significantly affect your premiums.
Look at the excess you are willing to pay. Once compulsory and voluntary excesses go up, your [policy will come down, but its not wise to hike this too far so that it becomes out of your reach if an accident should occur.
Ask if your insurer offers a multi car discount on more then one car in your household. If not, it may be possible to transfer no claims from being a named driver on a ‘safer’ drivers policy.
Ask about interest charges on a monthly instalment plan, and if you can pay up front, work out how much could be saved.
This is the big one which many drivers, young and old are starting to look at, but which is very much to the benefit of the teenage / 20 something motorist.
As we said, young drivers have been assessed on an average risk based on statistics, whereas a telematics box, fitted unobtrusively to your car, can monitor your driving and assess your premiums based on your own personal driving style rather than that of people like you. In other words, if you are a safe, sensible driver, this will be fed back to your insurer, effectively proving your driving style. These devices work via GPS and tend to monitor:
Rapidity of acceleration
‘Harsh’ or late braking
At heading for 40, I’m not a young driver as such, but having had one fitted, I’m a fan. The online dashboard / app is usually up to date, and being able to see what the box makes of my driving has been quite addictive, much like the game of driving to save fuel, and I have become more conscious of my occasional heavy foot to the point that I do think I have become a safer driver.
The downside here is that you usually start with an initial mileage allowance, and you need to make sure this is topped up. Depending on your driving technique, this can be more or less expensive. Many telematic based policies also restrict late night driving for younger drivers with a curfew, which is a bit harsh for those using them for commuting on shifts and so on. Do check the finer details to ensure the policy suits your lifestyle properly.