With the long, hot summer here, thoughts of young people up and down the UK naturally turn to … driving. The school and college holidays normally see a spike in driving school applications with first time drivers wanting to get out on the open roads. But a youthful newbie behind the wheel can often face difficulties when applying for correct young driver insurance cover.
If you’re under 25 you are seen as ‘high risk’ for motor insurance. Unfortunately, as well as being inexperienced, younger drivers are seen as bigger risk takers (or less risk adverse as it is sometimes known). While fewer than 7 percent of drivers are under 25, they are implicated in a quarter of all road traffic accidents. And if you’re a driver aged between 16 to 19, the crash risk is quadrupled from older, more experienced car users.
As well as higher premiums, your under-25 insurance policy often comes with other restrictions. Most insurance policies say that you’ll need to be 18 and have a full, clean British or European driving licence for at least 12 months before being considered for insurance. There are some insurance companies who restrict the age to 22-year-olds due to the risk.
However, for new drivers, all is not lost. There are some areas where you, as a young driver, can increase your chances of acceptance. These include:
- A safe driving history: Having a safe and sound motoring history with no accidents, prangs or speeding misdemeanours will help to reduce your premiums substantially. If you’ve already been driving and have one or more years of no claims bonus (NCB), including a personal NCB, this may help to reduce the costs of young driver insurance.
- Taking advanced driving courses: Pass Plus offers a practical training course that takes at least 6 hours and is for drivers to improve their skills and drive more safely. It can be taken at any time although it should be most useful to new drivers in the year after passing their test. Its module covers: driving in town, in all weathers, on rural roads, at night, on dual carriageways and on motorways. You’ll normally spend at least 5.5 hours driving.
- Dashboard cams. Having one installed is a great way to promote good driving, settle disagreements and hopefully it will help get you some insurance discounts. Video material can be used as evidence to prove you weren’t to blame for an accident.
- A black box: A black box policy is often pushed towards younger drivers as a way of ensuring their premiums are cheaper and managing the higher risk. Roughly the size of a phone, a black box is a small tracker device installed in your car which records your speed, distance travelled and the time of day that you’re on the road. The black box also evaluates your driving quality by examining your braking and cornering techniques.