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£6,768– the cost of getting young drivers on the road

12 January 2015

New research from Gocompare.com has revealed that the cost of getting a young driver on the road is now £6,768, with insurance costs making up around one third of the total bill.

The price of becoming a new driver has increased by just over 18% in the last five years, largely driven by youngsters and parents spending on average £3,825 on their first car, up from £2,477 in 2009. The average cost of car insurance for a 17 year old driver has actually fallen from £2455 in 2009 to £2232 in 2014. However, 24% of parents said that the cost of car insurance for their child was still far greater than expected and 13% said their children aren’t driving specifically because of the cost of insurance.

  • Average spent on a first car - £3,825.00
  • Average cheapest annual car insurance premium for a 17 year old - £2,232.00
  • Average cost of driving lessons to passing test - £480.00
  • 30% of parents help with the cost of car insurance for their children
  • 15% say the expense of getting their child on the road has been a significant drain on their finances
  • 48% of parents think that young driver insurance premiums are a ‘rip-off’

The survey of 2,000 parents revealed that the financial support they give to their children to help them get on the road is significant. The majority of parents surveyed (62%) said that they have contributed to their children’s driving lessons, over a third (34%) have paid or intend to pay towards the cost of a car for their child and 30% have helped with insurance costs. After ‘safety’, the cost of car insurance is parents’ biggest concern when getting their child on the road. 

Typically, learning to drive can cost in the region of £601 by the time the costs of obtaining a provisional licence, lessons and test fees are taken into account*.  Gocompare.com’s research revealed that on average youngsters take 20 driving lessons before passing their test, so with driving lessons costing around £24 per hour**, the typical bill for lessons alone is £480.

Matt Oliver, car insurance spokesperson for Gocompare.com, said: “Learning to drive and owning your first car is a rite of passage for most young adults but the cost of becoming a new driver can quickly mount up. Although we found the average amount spent on a first car is now £3825, many 17 year old drivers will find their first year’s car insurance premium costs more than the car itself. At an average annual premium of £2232.00, there is no getting away from the fact that insurance for young drivers is costly. However, the average cheapest premium for a 17 year old driver has fallen in the last 5 years. Some insurers will charge young and inexperienced drivers more than others, so young drivers must compare quotes to ensure they get the best deals.

Matt continued: “There are a number of steps parents and young drivers can take to try to keep costs down.  The choice of car can make a dramatic difference and new drivers could also consider a ‘telematics’ style insurance policy which monitors their driving and could lead to lower premiums more quickly if they demonstrate themselves to be safe on the road.”

Sensible cars - Young drivers’ insurance premiums will be lower if they drive a standard car with a small engine (under 1000cc) in a low insurance group. It may not be their dream car but it is wise to drive something smaller and slower until they’ve built up some no claims bonus and have shown a safe driving record. Also avoid cars with modifications, as they can push the price of insurance up.

Consider a higher excess – This may lower your premium but you will need to decide if paying a slightly lower premium is worth the risk of having to contribute more towards the cost of a claim if you have to make one.

Consider a ‘telematics’ policy – If you’re happy for your driving to be monitored a ‘telematics’ policy, where either a GPS-enabled transmitter is fitted to your car, or monitored through the use of a smart phone app, can give you a lower premium and if you prove to be a safe driver your premiums may fall more quickly than with a traditional policy.

 Added extras – consider whether you really need added extras such as a courtesy car, legal assistance, breakdown cover and key cover. Some policies include these types of cover as standard or as add-ons buy they’re not free – the cost will be built into the premium so you may be able to save money by dropping them.

Adding a safe driver – Adding another named driver with a clean licence and several years claim free driving to young driver’s policy could reduce their premium. This is one way a parent can help their child to get lower premiums without breaking the law.

Drive safely – By being careful on the road you will avoid accidents, fines and penalty points, all of which will affect your insurance premium.


Notes to editors:

Between the 21st and 27th October 2014 One Poll conducted an online survey among 2000 randomly selected British adults with children aged between 16 and 25.

£6,768 figure is based on the following: provisional licence (apply online)  £34*; driving lessons (20 lessons at £24** per lesson) £480; driving test fees - theory test (weekdays) £25*, practical test (weekdays) £62*; average cost of car £3825; car tax (Vehicle Excise Duty)  £110 per year*  based on a 2012 Vauxhall Corsa 1.2 SXi; one year’s fully comprehensive car insurance £2,232 based on Gocompare.com’s average cheapest quote for 17 years olds between Jan 14 and Oct 14.

£601 = £480 (driving lessons) + £34 provisional licence + £87 driving test fees

Source: *DirectGov, **The AA