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Half a million young drivers are uninsured: how to get cheaper cover

Joanna Faith
Written By:
Joanna Faith

As many as half a million young people are breaking the law by driving without insurance – and they blame the high cost of owning a car.

Over a fifth of drivers aged 17-24 know someone in their age group who has not taken out insurance because it’s too expensive – but have continued driving, research reveals.

Northern Ireland and London are the regions where young drivers are most likely to be underinsured, according to the study by Comparethemarket.

These findings should worry all motorists as young drivers are statistically more likely to be involved in accidents and claims.

Driving without insurance on a public road is illegal and can result in disqualification from driving, six points on a driving licence and a minimum fine of £300.

The comparison site said paying for insurance, petrol, repairs and taxes is proving unaffordable for many young people.

The annual cost of running a car for 17-24-year-old drivers has reached £2,442, with insurance making up over half of that cost. The rising cost of premiums is in part down to the recent increases to Insurance Premium Tax, which currently adds an average of £165 to young drivers’ premiums.

According to the research, young drivers are also putting off necessary repairs to their vehicle and not getting their car serviced to save money.

One in ten don’t know, or can’t remember, when they last got an MOT, and the same number have not taxed their vehicle.

The cost of staying on the road has meant 21% have cut back on saving to buy a property and 9% have decided against taking a higher education course so they can better afford the cost of driving.

Dan Hutson, head of motor insurance at Comparethemarket said: “Motor insurance is a legal requirement and young drivers must realise that in avoiding taking out insurance for their vehicle, they are breaking the law and could incur severe penalties such as points on their licence, heavy fines and even a driving ban.

“We are calling on the government to take decisive steps to help young people stay on the road. We urge the government to cap Insurance Premium Tax for drivers under the age of 25, or remove it altogether.”

Tips for young drivers to reduce the cost of insurance

  • Be organised! Research finds drivers stand to save more money if they switch their car insurance provider three weeks prior to the renewal date, when the cost of the average policy is significantly cheaper.
  • Keeping your car as secure as possible will reduce the chances of theft or damage and should therefore help lower your risk and subsequently reduce your premium. Car insurance is affected by location, so parking in a garage, off-road parking space, or installing extra locks and alarms could make your car insurance cheaper.
  • Telematics or ‘black box’ car technologies, which monitor the quality of your driving, can help drivers of all ages to lower their insurance costs and rewards safe and responsible drivers. The technology gathers information on speed, distance and time of day driven and if you are deemed to be a safe driver, you can get a discount.
  • Avoid modifications to your car such as adding a spoiler, or lowering the suspension, as this can often result in insurers taking a view that you are driving faster and therefore pose a greater risk.
  • Think carefully when entering your profession. Insurers use complex algorithms to determine an individual’s premium, with profession making a big impact on the annual cost of an individual’s car insurance. An assumption on the time of day a professional is likely to be on the road, plus the number of hours behind the wheel, may be taken into consideration, in addition to the insurer’s claims experience with each job category.
  • The quickest and easiest way to save money on insurance quote is to do your research and shopping around. By entering a few details about yourself and your car or home you will be presented with a list of policies suited to you. Young people can save, on average £324 per year by switching their motor insurance premium.