For young drivers, car insurance can often be a huge stumbling block when it comes to getting on the road. It can sometimes exceed the cost of the car itself, making driving a luxury that many teenagers cannot afford.
Car insurance groupings
One way of getting around the problem is to consider the insurance group of the car before you purchase it. There are a number of tools online that allow you to check the car insurance groups of various car models, and the lower the group, the cheaper your insurance will be. A car’s insurance group is determined by independent testing company Thatcham, who consider impact performance, repairability, repair costs and theft prevention measures. A group number between 1 and 50 is then assigned, and used by most insurers to factor into pricing up the policy.
The insurance group system has not always contained 50 groups – there used to be 20, and prior to that, just 9. However, the increasing amount of choice on offer in the UK automobile market has forced insurers to take a more granular approach to categorising vehicles.
An example of a car in a low insurance group would be a Ford Fiesta. Most cars by manufacturers such as BMW, Mercedes and Ferrari will be in such high insurance groups that they will be totally off limits to the average young driver.
Other than making sensible decisions regarding their choice of car, young drivers might consider insuring themselves with one of a new breed of car insurance companies who are using telematics – in-car motion sensors and GPS – to assess the quality of a driver. This helps young drivers prove their ability without having to wait years to accumulate a no claims discount. Certain systems also impose mileage restrictions and curfews on young drivers to reduce the risk they pose. After all, the reason that young people pay so much for car insurance is down to the fact that they’re much more likely to be involved in a collision. Anything that can reduce that risk will allow insurers to lower premiums.
Advanced driving lessons
Another option is to consider an advanced driving programme, such as those offered by Pass Plus or a2om/Drive iQ. These systems teach young drivers more than the basics necessary to get in the road, and some insurance companies will give discounts if you’ve completed either of them.
Other things will make it difficult for young people to get insured – for example, many insurers won’t consider cars that have been imported from other countries, or cars that have been modified.