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The cost of getting a young driver on the road falls to £6,455

01 March 2016

Drop is partly fuelled by the average car insurance premiums for 17 year olds falling by 9% year on year

New research* from Gocompare.com Car Insurance has revealed that the cost of getting a young driver on the road is now £6,455 compared to £6,768 last year. The £313 drop was fuelled by a 9% drop in the average cheapest car insurance premium for a 17 year old driver and a reduction in the amount of money being spent on first cars.

The average cheapest car insurance premium for a 17 year old driver has fallen by 18% since 2009 moving from £2,477 then to £2,035 now. However, the cost of car insurance for a 17 year old driver still constitutes around one third of the total ‘new driver’ bill and 25% of parents said the cost of car insurance for their child was far greater than expected.14% of parents said their children aren’t driving specifically because of the cost of insurance.

Young drivers and parents are spending on average £3,685 on their first car, a slight drop from £3,825 last year but still over £1,000 more than the average of £2,477 spent on a first car in 2009.

  • Average spent on a first car - £3,685
  • Average cheapest annual car insurance premium for a 17 year old is down to £2,035 in 2015 from £2,232 in 2014
  • Average cost of driving lessons to passing test - £504
  • 67% of parents help out with the cost of driving lessons
  • 31% of parents help with the cost of car insurance for their children
  • 53% of parents think that young driver insurance premiums are a ‘rip-off’

The survey of 2,000 parents revealed that they give their children a significant amount of financial help to get them on the road. 67%said that they have contributed to the cost of driving lessons, over a third (35%) have paid or intend to pay towards the cost of a car for their child and 31% have helped with insurance costs. When their children are learning to drive the cost of car insurance is parents’ second biggest concern after safety.

On average, learning to drive costs in the region of £623 by the time the costs of obtaining a provisional licence, lessons and test fees are taken into account*.  Gocompare.com’s research revealed that young new drivers typically take 21 driving lessons before passing their test, so with driving lessons costing around £24 per hour**, the average bill for lessons alone is £504.

Matt Oliver, car insurance spokesperson for Gocompare.com, said: “A young driver’s first car insurance premium is significant part of the cost of getting on the road so it’s great news that the average best premium for 17 year old drivers has fallen by 9% from 2014 and by 18% since 2009. However, at an average of £2,035 that first premium still costs more than many people’s first cars. Unfortunately, figures show that newly qualified drivers are more likely to have accidents and when they do they tend to be more serious and incur larger car insurance claims. That’s what’s reflected in the premiums. However, some insurers will be more competitive than others when quoting premiums for young drivers so they must compare quotes from a number of different insurers to ensure they get the right cover at the best price.

Matt continued: “There are some things younger drivers can do to try to lower their insurance premiums. The choice of car can make a big difference with sporty cars with larger engines costing significantly more to insure than less exciting models with engines of less than 1000cc. Telematics or ‘black box’ type insurance policies, which monitor their driving, could also help to reduce young driver premiums more quickly if they show that they are the exception to the rule by adopting safe driving behaviour.”

Choose a sensible car - 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 a supercar but it makes sense 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 opting for 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 an accident.

Thought about a ‘telematics’ policy? – Some policies require your car to be fitted with a ‘black box’ transmitter and others do a similar job with a smart phone app. In both cases the idea is that your driving is monitored by the insurer and your premiums can come down faster than with a traditional policy if you prove to be a safe driver.

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 but they’re not free – the cost will be built into the premium so you may be able to save money by removing them or choosing a different policy without all the whistles and bells.

Adding a safe driver – Adding another named driver with a clean licence and several years claim free driving to a 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.

Gocompare.com has produced a guide to learner and new drivers' car insurance

- ENDS -

Notes to editors:

*Between the 18th and 25th January 2016 One Poll conducted an online survey among 2000 randomly selected British adults with children aged between 16 and 25.

£6,455 figure is based on the following: provisional licence (apply online)  £34*; driving lessons (21 lessons at £24** per lesson) £504; driving test fees - theory test (weekdays) £25*, practical test (weekdays) £62*; average cost of car £3,685; car tax (Vehicle Excise Duty)  £110 per year*  based on a 2012 Vauxhall Corsa 1.2 SXi; one year’s fully comprehensive car insurance £2,035 based on Gocompare.com’s average cheapest quote for 17 year olds throughout 2015.

£623 = £504 (driving lessons) + £34 provisional licence (if apply online) + £85 driving test fees

Source: *DirectGov, **The AA