It used to be the case that as soon as you hit your 17th birthday, you could grab your L plates and head out for your first driving lesson on the open road. But now, young drivers are delaying their lessons for five years or more, citing the rising cost of motoring as the main reason. So if you’re a young driver, what can you do to help lower not just your car insurance premiums but the cost of getting your first car in general? Read on to find out…
The decline in young drivers
New research from Auto Trader and driving school RED reveals that 44% of new drivers are now over 25. The number of 17 to 20-year-olds taking the test has declined 21% in less than a decade and this group now represents only a third (34%) of first time drivers.
The situation seems to have come as a surprise to the twenty-something drivers as well: 56% said they expected to drive at an earlier age. Only around one in ten (11%) had been trying to pass the test since they reached 17.
Why are first-time drivers getting older?
A key reason for people waiting to take the test is the rising cost of driving. Young drivers can expect to pay £4,750 to cover the cost of their first year’s motoring, including insurance costs of around £1,275 per year, a figure which is rising by around 13% year on year.
Almost half (48%) of respondents to the survey who passed their test aged over 25 said the real was cost. Some 60% of young drivers say that more information and guidance and getting on the road would be helpful; 59% turn to parents and family for advice about this, even if they no longer live at home.
Reducing the cost of motoring
Insurers price premiums according to risk, and new drivers will always be viewed as higher risk than experienced motorists. Some new drivers seek to avoid high insurance premiums by being added to a parent’s policy, but if the new driver is really the main user of the vehicle the policy can be invalidated.
Of course, it’s not just the insurance you have to pay for when you start motoring. The cost of tax, fuel, MOTs, servicing and buying the car in the first place all have to be factored into your budget.
Driving lessons can also add up. According to the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency, it takes 45 hours of lessons on average to pass your practical test – and that will likely translate into a bill of more than £1,000. There are several ways to help reduce costs, though, such as intensive courses, studying the Highway Code for free on the Government’s website and practising with a family member.
Pass Plus is also an alternative way of reducing premiums, which is gaining in popularity. Designed by the DVSA to boost the skills of new drivers, passing the scheme can unlock discounts on insurance. Once passed, insurance is the biggest cost to young drivers and although males and females will now face the same costs, there may be other risk factors that have an impact on the price you pay, such as your job or where you live. Completing a course like Pass Plus may help reduce the price you pay.
The benefits of Pass Plus
The most important benefit of Pass Plus is a practical one: it helps to avoid new drivers being involved in accidents that could cause injury or death. The course lasts a minimum of six hours and covers practical skills for dealing with urban and rural driving; driving in different weathers and at night; and skills for motorways and dual carriageways.
Some local councils offer discounted Pass Plus courses, including seven in England, four in Scotland and all councils in Wales. On completion drivers receive a certificate, which could result in a discount from your insurance broker.
Computerquote specialises in finding the right insurance policy for young drivers. Call us today on 0800 389 9949 or 023 9224 7870 to see how much you could save.