'Excellent' - customised cover for young drivers

You don't have to be priced off the road, says Jenne Mannion

Many young drivers are finding that the road ahead is closed as soaring insurance costs make it impossible to slide behind the wheel.

Many young drivers are finding that the road ahead is closed as soaring insurance costs make it impossible to slide behind the wheel.

Fierce competition between insurers may have kept a lid on overall car premiums during the past few years, but for young people - particularly those in their teens - they have shot up. The AA's insurance index reveals that a 17-year-old female driver can expect to pay an annual £3,072.15 premium - and her male counterpart £4,521.49.

The cost reflects the higher risk to an insurer, since less experienced drivers are more prone to accidents. In the UK, only one in six motorists is aged between 17 and 21, yet a quarter of all accidents involve people in this age group, according to the AA.

Fewer firms now offer cover to younger motorists, and those that do levy steep premiums. This, along with fuel costs, is discouraging youngsters from learning to drive at all, says AA spokesman Ian Crowder.

Figures from a Department for Transport survey show that the number of young people with a full driving licence has more than halved in the past four years.

Although this might all sound depressing to any youngster who's just passed their driving test, there are ways to put a brake on costs.

Norwich Union has just launched a pay-as-you-drive scheme for 18- to 21-year-olds that uses in-car technology to calculate premiums, based on when and how often they use their vehicle. On top of a monthly fee, drivers are given a tariff per mile that is individually tailored and based on risk factors including their experience, where they live and their accident record. This is further refined with different charges for "peak" and "off-peak" times.

For example, the tariff during the 6am to 11pm off-peak period could be 10p or less per mile.

However, driving in the 11pm to 6am peak period will cost up to £1 per mile because statistics show that younger motorists are at much greater risk of being involved in serious accidents between these hours.

Norwich Union's system includes a one-off £199 fee to install the "black box" technology but this could well be less than the savings to be made on premiums - as much as 30 per cent.

Another way for young drivers to cut their premiums is to complete the Pass Plus course, an initiative from the Government's Driving Standards Agency. This comprises six hourly sessions (both practical and theory), covering driving skills in built-up areas, out of town, different weather conditions, at night, on dual carriageways and on motorways.

It costs around £160 but many insurance companies will offer a discount on premiums of up to 30 per cent after completion. For example, without Pass Plus, an 18-year-old living in Gloucester and driving a four-year-old 1.4-litre Vauxhall Corsa will pay £3,027 for fully comprehensive AA insurance; Pass Plus reduces this to £2,105.

Other insurers offering discounts for young Pass Plus drivers include Royal & SunAlliance, Zurich and Direct Line.

It could also be worth adding an older person (usually a parent) as a named driver on a policy, because this can cut premiums by up to 15 per cent, says Richard Mason, director of the price-comparison website insuresupermarket.com.

Many young drivers might also consider avoiding insurance costs by becoming a named driver on their parents' policy, though premiums will still rise to reflect the higher risk.

Shopping around for at least five or six different quotes is vital, and Mr Mason stresses that drivers must give as much information as possible. For example, accurate mileage figures could keep costs down, as less time on the road should translate into lower premiums.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Marie had fake ID, in the name of Johanna Koch, after she evaded capture by the Nazis in wartime Berlin
historyOne woman's secret life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
News
Jihadi John
newsMonikers like 'Jihadi John' make the grim sound glamorous
Arts and Entertainment
As depicted in Disney's Robin Hood, King John was cowardly, cruel, avaricious and incompetent
film
Life and Style
Travis Kalanick, the co-founder of Uber, is now worth $5.3bn
tech
Extras
indybest
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Ashdown Group: Junior Application Support Analyst - Fluent German Speaker

    £25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...

    Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

    £15000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Customer Service Advisor is r...

    Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

    £22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

    SThree: HR Benefits Manager

    £40000 - £50000 per annum + pro rata: SThree: SThree Group have been well esta...

    Day In a Page

    Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

    Climate change key in Syrian conflict

    And it will trigger more war in future
    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
    Is this the way to get young people to vote?

    Getting young people to vote

    From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
    Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

    Poldark star Heida Reed

    'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
    The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

    The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

    Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
    Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

    Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

    Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
    Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

    David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

    The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
    Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

    Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

    Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
    With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

    Money, corruption and drugs

    The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
    America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

    150 years after it was outlawed...

    ... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
    Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

    Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

    The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
    Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

    You won't believe your eyes

    Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
    Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

    Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

    The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
    War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn