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Government Calls for Action on Young Driver’s Car Insurance

The AA, which produces the British Insurance Premium Index, reported last year that car insurance premiums had fallen slightly, by an average of around £2.00.  In other words – not a lot!  Sadly, for many drivers especially young drivers this fall will make very little difference.  The cost of young drivers car insurance is now causing concern at government level as one MP has highlighted the high costs of car insurance as being partly responsible for limiting access to work for those in their late teens and early twenties.  With unemployment at extremely high levels and the phrase ‘NEET’ hardly ever out of the press, there is good cause for concern.  For those seeking care jobs, access to a car can be crucial and the problem is particularly acute in rural areas.  For young rural drivers there are very limited opportunities and the lack of public transport means that young people have no choice but to rely on their own transport to access employment and training.

Imaginative Solutions

The main problem faced by those searching for young driver’s car insurance is that they fall into a high risk category.  Young male drivers under the age of 25 are considered one of the highest risk categories with an alarming number of this group being involved in fatal accidents.  Legislation in the last couple of years from the European courts has meant that young women are no longer able to access “discriminatory” lower premiums, despite statistically less likely to be involved in accidents than their male contemporaries.  The simple fact is that those likely to be on the lowest level of the wage scale face premiums that can average over £3000.  With the added high cost of fuel which is unlikely to drop, this results in a seemingly impossible situation for many.  Nigel Evans, the MP for Ribble Valley has called for insurers to help to tackle this problem, arguing that “imaginative” solutions need to be found.

Catch 22

While some may argue that car ownership amongst the young is now a luxury, the problems caused by the high costs run far deeper.  As Evans points out, many younger drivers are facing a Catch 22 situation; unable to access work without a car and not being able to run one without work.  Insult is added to  injury by the fact that employment status is also a factor used to work out the premium.  The problem, as already mentioned is particularly acute for young rural drivers who may face long commutes to find work or attend college/training courses, with high petrol costs and low wages.  The problem is compounded for this group by the fact that the few available opportunities in rural areas are usually in the lowest paid sectors such as farming, hospitality or the care industry.

Positive Actions

Solutions that have been mooted include offering rebates on insurance after a no-claims period or premiums based on scores gained during the practical test.  In addition there are now schemes being introduced by car insurance companies including the AA, to fit ‘black box’ devices to the car.  Available to any driver, these are particularly being marketed to the young driver’s car insurance sector.  Monitoring the actual skills of the driver and adjusting premiums to reflect skill, ability and safety, these may ultimately provide an ideal solution for younger drivers.  AA officials have also said that younger drivers can take positive action to reduce their own premiums, such as reducing their mileage, buying an older car and shopping around for insurance.

The high costs of young driver’s car insurance is now causing concern at government level, being cited as one bar to employment for many young people.  While the government calls for ‘imaginative’ solutions, industry experts continue to place the onus on young drivers to take steps to reduce their own premiums.

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April 7, 2012 um 9:31 am
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