Consumer Skills
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01st October 2001

Young drivers ‘dented’ by car insurance

<p>Teenage drivers can face premiums of more than £5000 to insure a car – a 45 year old man would pay only £500 to insure the same car.</p>

However the accident rate of young men in particular represents a real risk.

The General Consumer Council today called on the insurance industry and Government to help young people to become safer drivers and then reward them with reductions in premiums and cash back schemes.

The call comes in the Consumer Council’s latest report ‘Driving Range’. It shows that, depending on the location, the premium charged by an insurance company for a 17 year old male could vary from £2736 to a staggering £5499. The average was £4079. Going through a broker could make it cheaper.

However, while young men aged between 17 and 25 comprised 7% of all drivers, they accounted for 20% of the accidents and 42% of fatalities.

The Council recommends a number of measures to bring affordable insurance to young drivers and to promote safe driving including:

 A basic starter insurance package for fully qualified first time drivers;

 Incentives to encourage and reward safer driving, including cash bonuses for extra driving qualifications and no traffic violations;

 The early introduction of the ‘Pass Plus Scheme’ by Government.

2. YOUNG DRIVERS

The report also highlights ways for young people to cut the cost of their car insurance.
The main tips are:

 Check the type of cover - legal minimum to fully comprehensive – and buy the most appropriate.

 Shop around for quotations – they can vary enormously.

 Keep your car secure.

 Increase the voluntary excess, it can reduce the premium you pay.

 Change your car: smaller cars cost less and some makes of car are cheaper to repair reducing the amount you have to pay.

 Restrict your claims and protect your no claims discount.

The tips are available in leaflet form free of charge from the Council.

Examples

“I was quoted an average of £1,400 for third party insurance for a year. This figure was twice the value of the car itself!”

Sarah, Derry City, aged 20

“The quotations I was given really shocked me. I need to drive to get to college, but the cost of car insurance is proving to be a massive financial burden for me.”

Joanne, Bangor, aged 21

‘When I was quoted £5,000 for car insurance I was very surprised. However when I phoned a range of insurance companies I couldn’t believe that this was around average for someone in my area at my age’.

Andrew, Belfast, aged 18

Ends

For further information please contact Paul McGarrity at the General Consumer Council on 9067 2488