17 year old car insurance

Most of us still have almost magical memories of the day when a poker faced man with a clipboard looked calmly up from the passenger seat of a driving school car and said “you have achieved the standards required by the department”, and you could thereby ceremoniously tear up your provisional licence.

Actually, if you still remember Margaret Thatcher being in power, then the man said “the ministry” and strangely, you didn’t immediately think of dance music.

Freedom awaited you in your Austin Metro or Nissan Cherry and of course the whole day was one of elation.

Nowadays the story, particularly for a teenager, is a little different, because the elation can be rather short-lived when the spectre of 17 year old car insurance awaits.

Two decades ago, 17 year old car insurance may not have been cheap, but in the UK it was proportionately less expensive than it is today and a newly-qualified young driver, provided the car was small, slow and uncomplicated, could expect to be able to compare quotes and find a company willing to provide cheap cover, often for a specialised policy stipulating conditions and possibly a claim payment excess.

And all this was generally straightforward without even the modern benefit of online comparison.

Today, there is no other way to say it, 17 year old car insurance can be rather expensive – and this certainly does take a little of the lustre from that nice pristine full driving licence.

Much as it is convenient to point the finger, the problem these days does not all lie with the insurance companies. The fact of the matter is that drivers of this age group, given modern technologies in power to weight ratios, suspension and fuel delivery systems now have access (even in the 1000 -1100cc range) to cars that are capable of quite formidable performance compared to, say dad’s old Mini that could reach 70mph in about a week – so long as it didn’t rain and you were prepared to replace the clutch every month.

Add to this the inescapable fact that the UK has become a blame/claim culture and that even a 15 year old Korean-built rust bucket can cause considerable damage to a Lexus and its passengers if it happens to hit it at 80mph… and, well let’s just say a picture begins to emerge.

It’s just a simple fact of life, the world has changed, red telephone boxes are gone and younger drivers have proved themselves statistically more likely to hit things, on the road, hard, and often at speed.

Be that as it may, there are companies out there that specialise in offering policies to younger drivers. They offer discounts, and provide cheap cover often conditional upon seemingly obvious things like leaving the suspension alone, not fitting silly wheels and accepting that Vauxhall probably had a good idea what they were doing when they designed the exhaust system. Sometimes they even meet you half way and ask you to take some responsibility for your actions, which basically means that you will be stumping up a wad of cash if you have a bump.

Finally, it is tempting for parents to step into the ring and insure their son or daughter on a new policy in their (the parents’) name. This is almost always unwise.

The first problem is the obvious one, it is short-sighted since the second driver will likely not step upon the ladder of acquiring a no-claims discount. The second is that it is potentially fraudulent, since the main driver on a policy should unequivocally be the main user of the car and in the event of a claim, a discrepancy in this area can have serious consequences.

The hidden costs of motoring? Well, at least youth is still a precious thing.