It is a well-known fact that younger drivers, who are seen as the biggest risk on the roads, have to pay considerably higher insurance premiums than more experienced drivers. However, in recent years this situation has become considerably worse and many young drivers are now having to spend up to a fifth of their wages on their car insurance.
Recent research has revealed some frightening figures. For a fully comprehensive insurance policy, for example, young drivers are being quoted an average of £2500 for a year’s cover. This gets even worse if you happen to be male because then the average goes up to almost £3500 a year.
If we take into account that the average wage for the 18-21 age group is around £14,000, then this means many are spending at least one fifth of their wages on car insurance alone. For some it can be as much as a quarter.
These figures are in stark contrast to the group that generally enjoys the lowest premiums, which is older drivers. Over 70s pay an average of just £450 a year for comprehensive cover, while the figure is just slightly higher for those in the 66-70-year-old bracket.
Unfortunately, it all comes down to statistics. The cost of the premium for each age group is calculated according to the statistics which are said to determine the exact risk each group is likely to pose.
While the premium may be affected by the value of the car, the level of experience the driver has in addition to their previous driving history are the most influential factors. Unfortunately, if a driver has no history of safe driving – even if this is because they have only just started to drive – then they are likely to be hit with the highest premium possible.
Fortunately, there is now an option available which could have a serious effect on younger drivers’ insurance premiums. This involves what is known as a ‘Black Box’. In simple terms, this is a device that is installed somewhere on the car (usually under the bonnet), which records various aspects of a driver’s performance such as the average speed, how hard they accelerate or brake and how they handle the car as a whole.
This information is then automatically sent to the insurers, where it is kept on the driver’s file. Every 90 days the data will be accessed and drivers will be rewarded with a premium discount if they are driving correctly. Of course, should the data show that the driver is driving badly then their premium is likely to increase.
Many are touting this system as a great idea. It will encourage younger drivers to drive more carefully as they can actually access their data through a special online account, which also offers advice on how to improve performance. It will ultimately also lead to relatively cheap car insurance for young drivers, ensuring that they are not priced out of the market altogether.