New drivers face motor insurance shock

Mark White from Dorset Trading Standards tells Kevin Peachey what to look for when buying a car

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Young male drivers are facing insurance premiums nearly four times more expensive than the average driver, research has suggested.

The 17 to 20-year-old age group has seen an 8.2% annual rise in premiums, comparison website Confused.com said.

The Commons Transport Committee was told young motorists believe they are being priced off the road.

Trading standards officers are warning drivers not to cut costs when buying their first car.

Premiums

The average price of a premium for a 17 to 20-year old man in the third quarter of the year was £3,878 when insured as the only driver, Confused.com said.

The average price for male drivers in total was £1,006, the price comparison website said.

Start Quote

It is shocking that so many young drivers are considering breaking the law in order to get a cheaper premium”

End Quote Louise Ellman Transport Committee chair

For women, the average was £2,063 for 17-20 year olds, compared with £907 for women overall.

In general, the cost of comprehensive motor insurance had risen by 12.3% year-on-year, with drivers in the north of England seeing the biggest rise in premiums.

Law breaking

A separate survey by insurance group Young Marmalade found that nearly all the young motorists asked thought they could not drive because of high motor insurance premiums.

A fifth considered driving without insurance, and others had considered not being upfront about the information they gave to insurers in order to secure a lower quote.

The results were given to the Transport Committee, which has reopened its inquiry into the cost of motor insurance.

Traffic light Young drivers face high costs before they even get on the road

"It is shocking that so many young drivers are considering breaking the law - by driving without insurance or changing the details they provide to insurers - in order to get a cheaper premium," said Louise Ellman, who chairs the committee.

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) said: "The reason our younger drivers pay more for their insurance is that sadly they are much more at risk of being involved in a serious accident which can lead to very expensive personal injury payouts.

"An 18-year old driver for example is more than three times as likely to be involved in a crash as a 48-year old. This is why the ABI is calling for an overhaul in how we teach people to drive, with the introduction of graduated licences.

"Only by improving the road safety of young drivers will the cost of their motor insurance fall. We hope that the Transport Committee will support these measures."

Car checks

The cost of insurance has raised some concerns that young drivers might try to cut their budget when buying a car.

Dorset Trading Standards service is taking a specialised car to schools and colleges to explain the common pitfalls and faults that the youngsters should be aware of.

One side of the 50/50 car is up to scratch with safety features but the other side has a range of faults that officers can point out to the young people.

They include a dangerously frayed seatbelt, a worn tyre, a scrubbed out identification number, and an inadequately attached exhaust pipe.

Officers suggest that just a few of these faults should alert drivers that they should turn down any purchase and look elsewhere.

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