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Insurers offers customers driving ‘confidence’ sessions

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NFU Mutual is to provide 1,000 of its motor insurance customers with free driving confidence sessions.

Each session ‒ which is worth £150 ‒ lasts two hours and is tailored to the specific needs of the driver. They are provided by advanced driving instructors from Drive Doctors.

Drive Doctors which has been delivering driving confidence sessions as part of NFU Mutual’s Young Drivers’ Scheme ‒ a three-year programme aimed at helping youngsters to be safer on the roads ‒ for seven years. So far more than 3,000 drivers have been helped through the scheme.

NFU said that depending on the level of demand for the sessions, it may provide them to all car and light goods vehicle customers as an optional add-on to its regular insurance offering in future.

A poll of drivers by NFU Mutual found that nearly half (45%) showed an interest in having a driving confidence session. More than a third of those said they would welcome training on how to use their vehicle should an emergency occur, such as skidding on ice.

Jade Devlin, motor insurance specialist at NFU Mutual, said that there can be a stigma attached to feeling less confident behind the wheel, which means that it remains a hidden problem for many.

She added: “Our research shows a motorist’s confidence can be knocked for a whole host of reasons from past collisions to less frequent driving and the type of roads used, and with lockdown easing drivers are facing unique concerns.”

The confidence sessions are being handed out based on a prize draw, which can be entered through the NFU Mutual website.

The provision of the confidence sessions follows NFU’s move to offer complimentary RAC breakdown cover to 600,000 motor insurance customers since last May. The deal has been extended until the end of June.

How lockdowns hit our driving habits

The pandemic has had a big impact on our motoring habits over the last 12 months. With so many people told to work from home, many of us have spent far less time behind the wheel than usual.

Because of that reduced use ‒ and the subsequent drop in accidents ‒ some insurers, like Admiral, handed premium refunds to customers who were not getting the full benefit from their policies. However, a study by Which? found that only one in five drivers received any cash back.

The various lockdowns have also had a big impact on car sales. While March saw the first year-on-year rise in new car registrations, the totals remain substantially down on the 10-year average for this time of year. 

What will happen when lockdowns ease?

However, with lockdown measures now being eased, there are concerns that there will be a spike in accidents. 

NFU pointed to its own data which found that there was a 22% jump in accidents over the late May Bank Holiday in 2020, shortly after that first lockdown was eased. Claims had also jumped by 12% over the Christmas period compared with the preceding weeks.

NFU’s study found that one in four drivers are feeling nervous about making long journeys once lockdown restrictions are removed, with this level of concern more pronounced among younger or less experienced drivers, as well as those in London who may be out of practice.

Devlin added: “Where easing has happened in 2020 we’ve received sharp surges in reported car accidents with roads getting busier very quickly and drivers taking their first long distance drives for a while. We’re sadly expecting the same from 12 April when many venues and holiday lets start opening up, so would urge drivers to take care on the roads.”

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