So why does your insurance cost so much?

If you really want to move from A to Z and your family car isn't big enough there is no better way of doing it than on your own wheels. If you are a teenager in the UK however, you may feel that you have already been financially bled dry by the taxman but that is nothing compared to what you can expect to suffer at the hands of the insurance companies (unless you compare prices at cheap car insurance websites like of course) !

If you're looking for insurance for your first car, tough luck, you have just joined the least popular group of customers in Britain. Problem is, you cannot really blame the insurers because young drivers have brought it upon themselves by being the single market sector most likely to cost the insurance companies a pile of money in the form of insurance claims; the average driver under the age of 20 is around eight times more likely to have an accident than the average driver of over 50, and that accident is likely to cost the insurance company around three times as much as it would if the older person was driving, because on average an accident involving a young driver usually involves greater speeds and so more damage, more injuries. You starting to feel less sorry for yourself, and more sympathetic towards the insurance company?

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The problem is that young people pass their driving tests and then assume, perhaps reasonably, that they are now fit for all the challenges that the roads can throw at them. The problem is that they have most likely had no experience whatsoever of driving at night, or under poor weather conditions; they certainly would not have been allowed to drive on a motorway as a learner and their experience of driving at any sort of speed would be very limited. It is hardly surprising that so many new drivers have serious accidents on our motorway system, or that the peak period for accidents is between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays when it is not only dark but it is also likely that the young driver has had a drink or two.

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Many decades after a driving test first became compulsory, the government has now woken up to the fact that road conditions in the 21st century are infinitely more challenging than they were even 20 or 30 years ago. A good argument could be put forward for increasing the age at which people can drive unaccompanied, or making the driving test far more difficult to pass, but these are political matters which would lose votes, particularly amongst young people who have many voting years in front of them and since this is more important than safety matters in democratic Britain it has hardly merited a second thought. Insurance companies however have to make a profit and they have realised that since young and inexperienced drivers have a pretty horrific driving record high premiums have to be charged, partly to cover them from the inevitable high level of claims and partly to encourage these more risky customers to go elsewhere. The result is that it is not at all unusual for insurance premiums to be well over 1000 for covering even the smallest and least powerful car, when the main driver is a young and inexperienced person. To try to alleviate the situation the Driving Standards Agency has introduced a training course called Pass Plus, in which new drivers are given tuition and experience in driving on motorways, through poor weather conditions, on country roads, through a busy towns, on motorways and on dual carriageways and insurance companies, to their credit, will usually give a very worthwhile discount off their insurance premiums to youngsters who have successfully completed such a course. There are two weaknesses however; firstly it is quite expensive, at somewhere around 200 or 300 to take the full course; and secondly it is voluntary, and not obligatory. If only we had a government which had the courage to, say, limit young drivers who had not passed through such a course to a particular speed limit or to driving only during certain set hours, not only would insurance rates for these young drivers fall substantially but we would all be a lot safer on our roads. Don't hold your breath.

Copyright 2006