Young Drivers See Insurance Cost Fall
There's good news for younger drivers, as insurance premiums have fallen by 5.5% for the under-25s over the last year.
However, this has had a knock-on effect - for older drivers who are paying the price as insurers seek to offset their losses, because overall premiums have gone up by 4.6%.
The greatest premium increase has been experienced by the over-50s, who are now paying 8.6% more than they were a year ago, while premiums went up by 7.4% for the 25-49 age group. The research was carried out by marketing research firm Consumer Intelligence and covers the period from August 2014 to August 2015. The statistics were compiled based upon the five cheapest deals available covering a number of distribution channels, including direct quotes from insurers and deals offered by price-comparison sites.
While younger drivers have always been penalised by insurers due their increased accident risk, new technology is changing that. Telematics schemes or 'black box' insurance policies are allowing young drivers to be judged by their real-life behaviour rather than the image of them as portrayed on 'The Inbetweeners', for example. By using a telematics device to collect information about the way they drive, including speeds, regularity and time of driving and braking behaviour, young drivers have access to policies priced according to how they actually behave behind the wheel. Better drivers are rewarded with cheaper premiums, whereas those whose telematics device data suggests their driving is riskier end up paying even more to be insured.
Careful young drivers have seen their premiums decrease significantly by using the devices, with 46% of the cheapest insurance quotes for the under-25s now applying to 'black box' policies, compared to just under a third two years ago. 22% of young male drivers under 25 and 14% of female drivers under 25 have taken up a telematics-based insurance policy. The result is that the average premium for under-25s is 20.6% cheaper now than it was in October 2013, whereas the over-50s have seen premiums go up by 13% over the last two years, and the 25-49 age group is paying 6.7% more over the same two-year period.
Overall, however, insurance premiums are still highest for younger drivers. In August 2015 the cheapest average premium overall was £696, but this went up to £1,680 for the under-25s and down to £481 for the 25-49 age group. The cheapest average premium for the over-50s was £258.
May 2015 was the cheapest month to buy insurance for the under-25s, when year-on-year average premium prices had dropped 10.3%.
It seems that older drivers are being given a harder time by insurers in general, with many over-50s now claiming they are finding it harder to get affordable insurance cover.
Car owners of any age group should remember to follow some basic guidelines to obtain the cheapest insurance quote, but with the rise in prices it seems older drivers need to work harder to ensure they are receiving value for money with their car insurance. When your insurance comes up for renewal, make sure you shop around for the cheapest quote, even if you are happy with your insurer, as you are unlikely to be rewarded for loyalty. If you receive a cheaper quote elsewhere, you can always go back to your current insurance provider and ask them to match it. Use price-comparison websites, but remember also to go direct to some of the larger insurers, who do not use these sites.
Volunteering to pay a higher excess on your policy can also see insurers offering a cheaper premium, but make sure you don't commit to an excess you couldn't afford to pay. The traditional advice of improving vehicle security still applies, so make sure you park your car somewhere safe when not in use, such as in a locked garage, and tell your insurer about it. Add security devices such as immobilisers, alarms, tracking devices and even mechanical security in the form of steering and handbrake locks. All of the above will make your car safer, so you are less likely to make a theft claim.