November 22, 2014

Do car insurance companies make their own law?

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It seems that just lately the tone of most of our pieces seems to centre around doom and gloom, firstly because there is lots of it about and secondly because sadly we get far more visitors for negative or bad news stories than anything we produce that might have a pleasingly positive spin to it.

Unfortunately despite the introductory explanation this piece is running along familiar lines, but on this occasion it is to champion the cause of a minority group which appears to have no voice, no defence and no hope of a brighter future, the parents of the children/young adults who have just passed their driving test.

What should be a landmark, a joyful coming of age experience and a never forgotten memory is mostly just a nightmare for the poor parents who not only have another reason to worry about the safety of their precious children but the thankless task of paying for it all.

Whilst I think it is only fair that newly qualified drivers and yes particularly young men/boys should have a little lading on their premiums it has now clearly reached a quite ridiculous level.

Many parents and drivers will be aware of this situation but if the example I’m about to give is now indicative of the norm we may as well raise the legal driving limit to 25 and have done with it.

In my capacity as a motor trader I am often asked to help source a car, give advice on whether it is a good car or simply point someone in the direction of a trusted dealer I have had successful dealings with previously. On this occasion I was asked my opinion after the event when unfortunately it was far too late.

A friend’s 17 year old son had paid for all his own driving lessons through his weekend job and had sacrificed many nights out with his mates, doing what young guys up and down the country are doing, simply so that he could experience the joy and independence of driving a car as quickly as possible. At this point I am not going to say this lad was a pillar of society or was on his way to NASA or Carrington, but he was, from what I could see (they don’t really say much to adults at this age) a fairly regular guy who is always polite, never been in trouble and appears a reasonably laid back, level headed kind of teenager.

So he passes his test and as promised his dad, my friend, finds a little 1.3 Ka being sold by a work colleague that fit the bill for him and his lad. It was black in nice nick and only £800 and was presented to him at a family gathering. All rather lovely and positive until my friend encounters what some of you will find a familiar tale, the insurance side of things.

Now they live in a rural area and so having a car will make life a bit easier for all of them; him for his independence and for getting to college and his parents because they won’t have to ferry him around everywhere.

Unfortunately the insurance companies take a slightly different view in that they wanted to insure this lad and his ageing little 1.3 Ford Ka for a staggering £3,000! More than 3 times the value of the car and way above the means of my friend let alone his son.

I cannot believe that anyone in their right mind can say that this is fair or right, we have a legal driving limit and therefore presumably we believe that anyone who qualifies to drive at this age is capable of doing so, yet probably not in the case of insurance companies.

We moan about the amount of drivers on the road without insurance that are a menace to society but is it any wonder when insurance companies behave in this way, surely it is only encouraging young drivers to break the law? Cast your mind back to when you passed your test. Your car is on the drive and all you want to do is go and drive it round your mate’s house and experience the ultimate freedom with the volume on the Harry Moss stereo so loud it distorts the sound coming out of the speakers on the back shelf. But in this instance you can’t because you are not insured, your 17 years old, what do you do?

Answers on a postcard please.

I’m really not sure what the answers are but surely asking £3,000 to insure a young driver unless you know they are reasonably likely to offend, is so prohibitive that only the rich will be able to afford it. According to the British Insurance Brokers’ Association 17- to 20-year-olds are 10 times more likely than an experienced motorist to kill or injure someone in a car accident but what the insurance industry are doing is making legislation themselves rather than the government. They are saying unless you are wealthy you can’t drive a car until you’re 25, can that be right?

I would love to hear some sensible answers on exactly why this is the case and why many other parents find themselves in this position. Of course adding the child as a named driving on the parents own insurance policy may seem tempting but if the child is the main driver or owner of the vehicle it is called “fronting” and is illegal and guess what? The insurance is null and void.

Alas we all know insurance companies are a law to themselves and often make the rules up as they go along you only need do a comparison yourself to see the massive fluctuation in premium quotes to know that there are some spurious companies out there. However if we want un-insured drivers to multiply in this country let’s not find a solution and keep asking g ridiculous amounts of money to insure young drivers and just hope that you are not involved in an accident with one of them!


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Comments

  1. carnutter666 says:

    thanks for that cheerful article i cant wait till next year when my son starts hasseling me for a new car, i better start saving now!!