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£6959: the cost of getting a young driver on the road

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The new combined cost of a new young motorist learning to drive, buying, taxing and then insuring their first car has increased by over 20% since 2009.

Research from GoCompare Car Insurance now puts the cost of getting a young driver on the road at £6,959. The biggest chunk of this is on the car itself. A driver’s first car now costs an average of £4,276.

Average car insurance premiums for the first year are £1,964, but that cost has been falling, dropping by around 24% since 2009.  24% of parents said the cost of car insurance for their child was far greater than expected – 11% said it delayed the purchase of a first car.

Most parents provide their children with some financial help to get them on the road. 28% contribute to the new car; 54% said that they have contributed to the cost of driving lessons, and a quarter (25%) have helped or intend to help with insurance costs.

The smaller costs can mount up – 20 driving lessons equates to £480, plus £85 to take the test. Then there’s a provisional driving license for £34 and road tax at £120.

GoCompare warned new drivers not to use an unnecessary, fee-based checking service which can triple the cost of applying for their provision license. It said the services usually have official sounding names – for example dvlalicenceapply, dvladocumentservice and ukdrivinglicenceservices – and charge from £75 to £108 including the £34 for the licence itself. The application process via the website is straightforward.

Matt Oliver, spokesperson for GoCompare Car Insurance, said: “The cost of getting a young driver on the road has increased again but this is down to the new motorists splashing out more on their first car. The cost of the insurance has actually fallen substantially in the last few years whilst the price of tests and lessons has been static. New drivers should also be wary of the fee-charging application services which appear to have sprung up online. Much like the sites which charge people when applying for free EHICs, these services add little to no value and can triple the cost of obtaining a provisional license.

“Choosing the right car, preferably with a smaller engine to start with, and selecting a telematics or ‘black box’ type of insurance policy can also help to keep costs down when starting out.”

GoCompare’s money saving tips to help younger drivers pay less for their car insurance.

  • 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 makes sense to drive something smaller and slower until they’ve built up some no claims bonus and have shown a safe driving record.
  • Consider opting for a higher excess – This may lower the 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.
  • Select 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 on the road you will avoid accidents, fines and penalty points, all of which will affect your insurance premium.

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