Young people driving uninsured amid sky-high premiums

More young people are driving without car insurance as their premiums reach a record high, with those living in London paying the most.

Road safety charity IAM RoadSmart says the number of drivers aged 17 to 20 punished for driving without insurance increased from 2902 in 2021 to 6316 in 2023 – a 118% increase.

An IN10 licence endorsement – the code for ‘using a vehicle uninsured against third-party risks on a licence’ – stays on a driving record for four years from the offence.

The charity says the increase coincides with rapidly rising premiums, and it is asking the government to halve insurance premium tax for young drivers and zero-rate it for those who undertake further training. It also wants current road safety strategy updated to focus on skills development and training.

Insurance comparison site Quotezone says since last year 19-year-olds have seen their premiums rise by 47% to £2435, 18-year-olds by 60% to £2986 and 17-year-olds by 77% to £3496. Quotezone also revealed the difference in young driver premiums across the UK.

The most expensive area is London, where 18- to 24-year-olds pay an average of £2811, compared with Northern Ireland, the cheapest, at £1359.

Elsewhere, young drivers in the south-east typically pay £2105 while those in the south-west pay £1714. Josh Burford is 17 this month and has been researching insurance as a learner in his Hyundai i20. He has been quoted £1000 on his own policy or £300 on his parents’, but he has chosen the former. “In 12 months I’ll have a year’s noclaims bonus, which will reduce future premiums,” he said.

When Burford passes his test his insurance will rise to £2500, including the balance of his learner cover. The policy he plans to buy, offered by Howden Insurance, is without black box cover, which Burford says is too restrictive. “Having a black box would save me between £500 and £1000, but while it rightly penalises speeding, it also penalises cornering and braking beyond approved limits and driving after 9pm, which is unreasonable.”

When he was 14, Burford’s parents enrolled him on a Young Driver Foundation course, which teaches children aged four to 17 the principles of car control and has delivered more than 1.4 million lessons.

According to its research, just 3.2% of drivers who have been taught by the organisation have an accident within six months of passing their test. The national average is 20%. Burford believes his Young Driver training should be reflected in his insurance. “It’s a very good scheme and I consider myself to be safer for it,” he said. “I’d like insurers to take it into account when calculating premiums.”

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