Research that shows young people are being driven to consider breaking the law in the face of high motor insurance premiums was presented to the Transport Select Committee by the young driver insurance specialists, Young Marmalade, on Tuesday.
“Ridiculous”, “diabolical”, “extortionate”, “crippling” …. these were some of the hundreds of comments about the cost of insurance made by young drivers surveyed by Young Marmalade.
The survey found that 96% of young drivers feel they are being priced off the road because of high insurance premiums – many reported insurance quotes up to double the value of the car to be used by the insured driver.
As a result a fifth (21%) of young drivers say they have considered driving without insurance, and nearly a third (30%) have considered altering the information they provide to insurance firms in order to secure a lower quote.
As well as keeping young people off of the road, or tempting them to turn criminal, the high cost of insurance is also keeping many of them from finding employment, as is evident in a number of the responses to the survey. A young man from Cornwall, for example, who says the lowest quote he found for insurance was £4,500, complained: “Living in Cornwall I need a car to hold down a job. Public transport is limited and this severely impedes my ability to get to town in time for work. This is impacting on my future opportunities.”
Most of the respondents said they understood that young drivers were higher risks for insurance companies, but many posed solutions which would make premiums more affordable. The “black box” technology to monitor drivers – as used by Young Marmalade – was much favoured, and there were many suggestions for increasing the excess and lowering premiums. Another idea posed by respondents was to link premium cost to engine size.
Other comments reflected frustration with “stereotyped risk assessment”. As one young man from Manchester said: “Just because we are young does not mean we cause all the accidents. It is cheaper to drive uninsured and pay the fine if caught than insure a car. How are we supposed to pay the insurance premiums on the wages we earn?”
Transport Committee Chair, Louise Ellman, MP, described the Young Marmalade survey results as “shocking” and “revealing” and said she will present the results to Ministers appearing before the Transport Select Committee.