How to get insured if your are under 25
One of the biggest challenges facing young drivers is getting car insurance and not paying through the roof.
Before they even start their engines, men and women aged 17 to 25 face an uphill struggle to obtain cover for several reasons.
Car insurance quotes for young drivers are often difficult to get, with many insurance companies not even wishing to provide a quote to people under a certain age, quite often as high as 25. Those that do provide a quote often require a rate so high that many young drivers find themselves paying more for insurance each year than the car originally cost!
Being branded with the same brush as ‘boy racers’ has had an adverse effect on the insurance quotes of the majority of responsible young drivers , the are statistics weigh heavily to suggest that such high rates for those in the 18-25 age group are justified, especially those for young men.
A teenage driver is three times more likely to be killed in a traffic accident than a driver aged 25-64, and is nine times more likely t be at fault in a road accident than a 31-40 year old driver with similar experience. Furthermore, if a young driver has a passenger – probable given the relatively low ratio of teenagers who can drive, thus giving lifts to their friends – they are twice as likely to have an accident, increasing to five times if there are two or more passengers.
While such statistics cannot be denied, it is not just so called ‘irresponsibility’ that results in such high insurance premiums.
Lack of experience plays a part as well. When you consider that two of the biggest challenges a new driver can face – motorways and driving at night – are not covered by the standard driving test, it is evident that there is a major problem. When it is also considered that young people aged 17-25 are socially active, often going out in the evenings, or are at university, thus driving to and from home along motorways on regular occasions, it becomes clear that two of the biggest challenges a young driver can face are also two that they would encounter most often, yet are least prepared for. Subsequently, the above accident figures are slightly more accountable, as are the high insurance premiums companies subsequently quote.
Fortunately in the UK a test called Pass Plus, taken after the basic driving exam, provides valuable experience in both these areas, and can have an immediate effect on insurance rates: some companies lower their quotes by up to 35% if a driver has taken the Pass Plus exam.
Another problem that young drivers face in gaining insurance is the type of car they drive. Because of their age, many young drivers cannot afford a moderately new, reliable car, so have to settle for an older, less environmentally clean and less well maintained first car. This ironically leads to them having to pay higher insurance premiums. An older, less well maintained car may, for example, have a poorer than average braking ability, leading to a higher accident frequency and higher claims. To counter this, and the increased likelihood of breakdowns due to poor reliability, the insurance companies quote higher premiums for old cars. Conversely, those young drivers that can afford a newer car need to be careful of which model they select: a car with high performance or too big an engine will worry insurance companies, with the ‘boy racer’ image in mind, and will lead to a bigger premium to counter the likelihood of accidents caused by aggressive driving.
Insurance quotes are also affected by statistics that show that young drivers not only have more accidents, but more theft, fire and vandalism claims as well. While newer cars are more reliable and have better security systems, perhaps lowering the risks of the first two claims, there is little that can be done to prevent vandalism. It relates to the next major issue: location. The majority of young drivers in the 17-25 age group will be attending university, often a long way from home. This may be one of the major reasons they have a car; to make life easier getting between home and university. Unfortunately, such distance between their term-time home and where they come from originally may make motorway driving a necessity, thus increasing the premiums they are quoted.
Furthermore, student housing in UK university towns are often cheap accommodation in worse-off areas. This may have a direct effect on the level of crime and vandalism in the area, thus putting the driver’s car at increased risk. This is something the insurers will take into account when calculating a premium, so may significantly increase the quote. Also, young drivers who are not attending university may instead be entering a new job, many of which provide a company car. It is important to check premiums for specific cars, as too powerful an engine or too high value a car may result in an excess to the quote, which may have to be paid by the young driver themselves. This excess is also due in part to the lack of experience of the driver, as outlined below.
Another disadvantage young drivers face is that the majority of car insurance firms operate on a rolling scale: the longer a driver goes without accident or claim, the better their status as a driver becomes, leading to lower quotes as time goes on. As young drivers have to start with no experience, they effectively start at the bottom of the ladder. It could be several years of careful driving before a no claims bonus improves their standing and lowers their rates. However, it is important to examine closely the options different insurance companies provide. For example, some offer a quicker track to no-claims bonuses than others, making it slightly easier to lower premiums quicker.
In an effort to lower costs of insurance, many young drivers opt to drive under third party cover, from their parents’ insurance. Though this may reduce the initial quote, there are severe drawbacks. Many companies cover only an accident caused by someone else, leaving out fire, theft, etc, and driving with such cover often does not count towards a no-claims bonus. Furthermore, third party with fire and theft cover included may not be cheaper than fully comprehensive insurance, depending on the company: it is important to get quotes from several different companies, and carefully consider which type of insurance is best for you.
Finally, and unavoidably, there is the problem of gender or sex. Young male drivers face a much harder job getting decent cover, due in part to the ‘boy racer’ image, and the fact that a naturally more aggressive driving approach results in a higher claim rate: average losses for insurers are 120%, making them a highly unattractive proposition to cover.
Young female drivers, however, are a much better insurance risk, as their accidents are usually much smaller and less costly, often involving minor knocks from parking rather than more major accidents.
We advise you to obtain multiple quotes from a young driver specialist car insurance quote website such as Car-Insurance.tv – the UK specialist driver insurance hub.