What a con!

How do young drivers afford the insurance?

My daughter turned 17 years of age on 4th February, and has been excited about the possibility of being able to drive for some time, apart from a period of concern when the British Government hinted at raising the driving age to 18. Fortunately that passed.

I likewise always wanted to drive and at age 17 moved from two wheels to four and in 10 days had passed my test. The car insurance giving nearly minimum cover was £26 a year, my first car having a 2.6 litre engine. The next was a Jaguar 2.4, and the third, another Jag, this time a 3.8 XK 150S, for which I probably had to pay an extra £10 a year, all while I was 17. (1969 )

Actually I can’t ever remember having had an insurance claim, which is a bit of luck, and now I am more interested in classic cars, which for the purposes of insurance are extremely good, because the premiums are very reasonable. My present XK120 is £115 a year fully comprehensive with an agreed value.

I was hoping that Natalie might take to learning on a Morris Minor which I have, in the knowledge that the insurance

1952 Morris Minor 918cc

would be reasonable, based on the thought that drivers have a love of their classic, and would take extra care. The starting premium would be £400 once she passed her test.

By chance she was left a little 1000cc Nissan Micra, which she would certainly prefer to be seen in compared to the Morris, so bang went my idea……..

It seems that young first time drivers have been targeted to the extent that it is almost impossible to obtain insurance. The old system of adding a young person to a parent’s policy is hardly possible to do, and if there is an accident, the insurance companies will use the excuse of saying that the car was for the sole use of the young person, so will refuse to pay out if it comes to a claim.

Obtaining insurance seems only possible by applying on-line, where it is impossible to speak to anybody, and the figure quoted is only applicable when you have a provisional licence. The sum you actually are asked to pay is far higher based on the fact that the premium jumps like crazy once you have passed your test, the new theory being that you are more dangerous once you are on your own. You then have to apply for a premium refund for the period you were a provisional licence holder.

Of course young adults will want to drive. Parents will feel obliged to help them, so the pressure is on!

I have had a range of quotes from £480 to £2997 for the same small car. Of course when it came down to it the £480 was in fact a lead, and the eventual figure was £1150.

The insurance companies have now got the whole thing nicely wrapped up. Boys pay around 30% extra because statistically they are more likely to have an accident. There is no company going to let this little cash cow go away.

If you have a car in the UK which is older than 1972, the car is classed as a historic vehicle, for which you are exempt from a road fund licence fee, so with no tax and cheaper insurance this, for me, is a sensible option, but for a young person, it has no “street cred”! I can see Natalie having to rethink her options if she wants to drive.

I hate being ripped off, and this little scam seems well and truly sewn up !

I finally contacted a company called Quinn, and they added a few things to the basic quote, and came out at £539. I said I knew about the increase in premium once the person had passed their test, so could they give me an idea of the price hike. They said it was only a small amount.

I pressed the point, and finally after arguments and being passed to a supervisor I finally extracted a figure, which was £1491, so at the point of passing her test my daughter would have been blackmailed into parting with nearly another £1000 to remain insured, or lose the money she had already paid.

Fortunately we have a Financial Services Authority who look at scams like this, so one more to deal with.

In the end, I found a company which covers learner drivers for a set fee of £240 for 3 months, and then we can review.

Yes she did drive on her birthday, but I am thoughtful of how many parents fall in a hole trying to do the best for their children. Shame on the insurance industry !

By Bob Derham

4 thoughts on “What a con!

  1. While I completely agree with you that motor insurance is a con (like so many ‘financial busiinesses,’ it is, quite simply, legalised gambling) I have to also admit to being glad at anything that puts the brakes on the uptake of driving. The sooner our society’s love affair with the motor car draws to a close, the sooner we’ll implement a more sane transport system. (“But I simply have to drive my kids to school to keep them safe — because there’s so much traffic on the roads these days” – how mad is that?).


    1. Golly, that comment took you back into the ‘archives’! Over two years ago.

      But I agree with the general thrust of your view, and thanks for making it, P.


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