Young Drivers – High Insurance – High Risk? Maybe it Depends Where You Live.
None of us can have missed the fact that younger drivers pay more for their car insurance than older drivers do. Much has been made of it on TV consumer programs highlighting how some young drivers are being asked to pay premiums that are far greater than the cost of the car they are driving.
So is this justified? Well if you were going to make a bet, you would try and bet on the team that’s most likely to win, based perhaps upon their track record and experience. You would feel this was a safe bet, but if you were asked to bet on a new team, that’s probably not played at all, or just played a short time, well for sure you would be asking for better odds and that’s pretty much what insurance companies are doing when they cost out the premiums for young and inexperienced drivers.
Gut feeling however isn’t all insurers have to go on, as all kinds of statistics and findings are available and so lets take a look at the latest we have heard and these come from a company called “Road Safety Analysis”
Its claimed that 30% of all motor vehicle crashes involve drivers aged between 16yrs and 29yrs, yet this age group actually only make up 18% of the population. Looking a little further, it’s been suggested that where you live has a major impact on the figures, with “young” drivers who live in rural areas being a massive 37% more likely to have an accident than their counterparts that live in urban or town areas.
The report says that young rural drivers are around two-thirds more likely to be involved in a collision leading to injury than older people. Mileage seems to play a big part in increasing the risk and it’s claimed that annual average mileages for rural drivers are 31% more than an urban based driver.
So I guess logic says that there is a combination here of inexperienced drivers, driving greater mileage and clearly, that must increase the risk and surely, be what’s leading insurance companies to apply the high premiums that they do.
The report looked at the figures in great detail and considered many other aspects that could affect young drivers, including “deprivation”, vehicle types, road types and speed limits, so is a good piece of work.
However, it does not in our view change things as it only reinforces the fact that younger drivers do pose a greater risk, despite what these consumer programs would have us believe.
We mentioned it earlier, but as the recent “Rip-Off Britain” program made great play of saying that drivers were being quoted more than their car was worth, I am surprised they didn’t understand that this isn’t what it’s about. You can be driving a £200 banger, but in the wrong hands, it can still do the same damage as the fastest vehicle on the road, and if the driver runs into a £200,000 Ferrari or worse, causes a death, the costs to insurers can be horrendous and that’s where the risk lies and that’s why the odds are higher and the premiums more expensive.
It’s said that figures like the ones revealed in this report should be a signal to rural local authorities and police forces that they need to pay special attention to this subject and perhaps that’s true, but how? Well, they say a package of measures should be developed to bring about a change and may require investment in transport infrastructure, community bus schemes and further training.
Well, I don’t know about you, but when I was 17, I wanted my car to get me off the bus and give me independence to come and go as I please and the ability carry all my stuff around, or to come home late at night (after the busses have stopped) or even, just to park up in some beauty spot with my girlfriend. I don’t figure that’s changed much for the young people of today either.
So, what does all this mean? Well effectively, it tells us young drivers who are less experienced than old drivers are having more accidents and that if you live in a rural area where you tend to do a higher mileage, your risk of having an accident goes up. It suggests that maybe the police should look at schemes to try and reduce accidents by perhaps training younger drivers and that the local transport infrastructure could be improved by adding more public transport.
Unfortunately, it does not do anything to provide any hope to younger drivers that they will be getting cheaper insurance anytime now.