Spiralling insurance premiums for young drivers are once again under the spotlight after the Transport Select Committee reopened its inquiry into the cost of motor insurance.
A survey by young driver insurance specialists Young Marmalade, which was invited by the committee to poll its young customer base as part of the investigations, found a staggering 96% believe they are being priced off the road while an alarming 21% of young drivers have considered driving without insurance.
Even more (30%) have considered altering their information in the hope of a lower quote, which includes 15% who considered changing the main driver of the car.
The findings reflect an earlier survey by insurance comparison website Confused.com which showed that for nine out of 10 youngsters affordable insurance was proving an impossible barrier to overcome while Driving Standards Agency figures show that 250,000 fewer young people are taking their driving test, a fall of 19%.
Hardly surprising since the national average premium for motor insurance paid by young drivers is £2,294 annually.
Daniel Mackin, aged 18, a self-employed construction worker, faces the prospect of being unable to insure his 1.2-litre Peugeot 107.
The cheapest premium he found was from Liverpool and Victoria (LV), which despite not specifically targeting younger drivers has seen an increase in this age group taking up its insurance.
Its online system quoted £3,482 on the 1.2 Peugeot, dropping to £2,713 if he opts for a 1.0 Corsa instead.
Desperate for the independence of a car, he said: “I have to be at my boss’s house at around 6.30am every day and at the moment my dad is driving me there.
"If I want to go to the gym in the evening, he drops me off and I try and get a lift home with my friends.
"The buses are fairly irregular in the evening and I am constantly on the phone asking him to pick me up. It’s irritating for him and me.”
It’s a similar story for his friend Luke Mahoney, also 18, who passed his test in March this year.
Luke’s dad coughed up half the £3,000 premium and took a loan for the rest which the apprentice mechanical engineer is repaying at £35 per week.
He said: “It’s unfair that I’m being priced out of the market and being penalised when I consider myself to be a safe driver.
"The insurance companies don’t seem to take the individual into consideration; we are all tarred with the same brush.”
LV points out that a year ago, Daniel’s quote would have been around £1,800, but injury claims, in particular, whiplash payments, has forced premiums up across the board.
As part of its Too Young To Die campaign, the charity Brake, however, questions whether the likes of Daniel and Luke should really be on the road – drivers aged 17-24 account for 12% of licence-holders yet they are involved in one in four road deaths and serious injuries while one in five will crash in the first six months after passing their test.
Technological based insurances may hold the key with their ‘pay as you drive’ schemes which use a ‘smart-box’ fitted to the car to monitor driving ability, rewarding conscientious and careful policy holders with reduced premiums or ‘cashbacks’.