Why Won’t They Drive?


They pay for the lessons, endure the hard work of learning, conquer their nerves and pass the test, and then avoid getting behind the wheel

A study by learner driver and car sharing insurance specialist Veygo by Admiral and FirstCar magazine has revealed that in the first year after passing the test, one in eight (12%) drivers across the UK avoid getting behind the wheel; they don’t want to drive. It seems an odd conclusion to the investment of time and money they have put in, especially when three quarters believe their driving skills will deteriorate if they don’t drive. 

In the UK, learning to drive and gaining the hallowed licence remains popular, with two thirds (62%) of learners passing their test by the time they are 19. So why, once the ‘L’ plates are off and celebrations have died down, do so many put off driving?

Top reasons people put off driving - 

  1. I don’t have access to a car
  2. It’s too expensive
  3. I’m at college or university and don’t need a car
  4. I don’t want to run a car as I’m saving money 
  5. I’m too nervous
  6. I prefer to use public transport
  7. My family or friends drive me around
  8. My parents are too nervous to let me drive

It probably comes as no surprise that finances are a key concern for most, especially when so many are off to study at university with the financial and time costs involved in that. It’s a key reason why half of new drivers have no access to a car, whether buying their own or be able to use someone else’s. Furthermore, over a third (38%) of people putting off driving because they felt running a car was simply too expensive.

While this makes sense, it is perhaps worrying that after all those professional lessons, 7% of drivers said they were too nervous to go solo post-test, with 4% saying their parents were too nervous to let them drive.

(NOT) Like Riding a Bike

The results contradict their belief in the age-old saying ‘practice makes perfect’ - three quarters of drivers believed their confidence would increase in line with the post-test miles, and were concerned about deteriorating skills through a lack of driving. Interestingly, over half of new drivers were considering having more lessons to bolster their skills and self-belief, especially when only being able to afford old, less driver friendly vehicles (30%). 

Key to Success

While more young people are passing their driving test, less are getting their own car and the valuable experience they need. But not having their own set of wheels needn’t be a barrier.

Veygo by Admiral offers flexible and affordable car sharing insurance so that anyone can borrow a friend or family member’s car, tailored to the drivers needs while protecting the owner’s insurance and No Claims Bonus.

Find out more about Veygo here

[1] Survey conducted by First Car magazine of 1393 drivers across the UK aged between 17 – 73

The UK's most dangerous roads

If you were given the option of an ultra-dangerous road to get home tonight, or a really safe one, which would you choose?

Unless you’re an adrenalin junkie, the chances are you’d take the safe option; after all, you’re probably keen to see your next birthday. The thing is, how do you know whether your journey home tonight is likely to be event-free or likely to end in disaster? 

Of the 833 roads assessed in the UK, 23 were so bad they achieved no stars in the ratings

The answer is to check out the EuroRAP website, and specifically the pages which cover the UK, as this is where you can find out just how dangerous the UK’s major roads are.

You’ve probably never given it much thought before, but if the markings on a road have virtually disappeared, or there’s a junction hidden round the bend on a fast road, there’s a pretty good chance of a smash at some point.

The thing is, your lack of experience behind the wheel means it’s you who is more likely to be in that smash than someone who already knows just how poorly engineered many of our roads are.

After months of research, EuroRAP (the European Road Assessment Programme) discovered that the most dangerous road in the UK is Scotland’s A889, which has an accident rate almost double that of the next most dangerous road, the A537 from Macclesfield in Cheshire to Buxton in Derbyshire.

If you’re based in Southern England, don’t think all the danger is up north though; the third most dangerous road is a short section of the A12 between Romford in Essex and the M25.

Of the 833 roads assessed in the UK, 23 were so bad they achieved no stars in the ratings. Another 90 received just one star, while another 213 were awarded a mere two stars. With 415 getting three stars, the worrying thing is that of all the roads surveyed, just 92 UK roads were given the maximum four-star score.

If that’s just a load of meaningless figures, put it this way: you’re ten times more likely to have a smash on a zero-star road than one with four stars. Do you still think all roads are the same?The research didn’t just look at how many crashes occur on any given stretch of road; they also take into account how much traffic uses those roads.

Hopefully, this will allow designers to re-engineer roads to reduce the number of crashes, and especially the four most likely to end in death or serious injury. These are head-on crashes, accidents at junctions, collisions with vulnerable road users (pedestrians and cyclists), and vehicles hitting objects at the side of the road.

Each year in the UK, 500 people die from crashing into trees, lampposts, signs and other roadside hazards; by fencing these off or removing them, this number could be dramatically cut.

Indeed, by sticking to a set of road engineering guidelines, it’s hoped to slash in half the number of people killed on Europe’s roads each year.

John Dawson is chairman of EuroRAP; he comments: "We have to make roads more forgiving – human error shouldn't carry a death sentence. People should not be dying on major routes because basic protection is absent from entirely predictable collisions, such as with unfenced roadside objects.

“The EuroNCAP car crash test programme has done wonders for car occupant safety in a few short years, but we have some major roads around Europe which fall so far short of known safe design that they give little margin for survival in the event of a simple driver error, whatever car you're in.

“We cannot demand five-star cars from manufacturers and then settle for one-star roads. The cars we drive, the way we drive and the roads we drive them on are all part of a single safety system”.

The UK’s most dangerous roads… 

  • A889: A86 - A9 (near Dalwhinnie)

  • A537: Macclesfield - Buxton

  • A12: Romford - M25

  • A4137: A49 - A40 (west of Ross-on-Wye)

  • A628: A616 - Penistone

  • A1001: Hatfield

  • A534: Welsh boundary - Nantwich

  • A533: Runcorn - A56

  • A682: M65 Junction 13 - A65 Long Preston

  • A13 (now A1306): Aveley A1306 - M25


The hidden dangers

It doesn’t take much to turn a dangerous road into one that’s safe; you just need:

  • Clear markings

  • Decent lighting

  • Anti-skid surfaces

  • Legible signs

  • Clear traffic lights

  • Pedestrian crossings

  • Good sight lines

Black box insurance policies could cut car crashes by 40%

According to a report from young driver insurer ingenue, 40 per cent of crashes involving 17-25-year-olds could be prevented by the adoption of black box insurance, Mass market adoption of telematics systems could therefore prevent 28,749 crashes every year.

The ingenie Young Driver Report claims that telematics policies, which monitor how the driver behaves and provides feedback to help them drive more safely, can significantly reduce crash frequency among young drivers.

More than 200,000,000 miles of telematics data was gathered as part of the report.

There is a moral obligation for government to get behind telematics for young drivers

The company is now calling for an Insurance Premium Tax (IPT) exemption for telematics policies which it claims could lead to an extra 245,000 policies being sold. Road crashes are the biggest accidental killer of young people, with five 17-24-year-olds losing their lives on Britain’s roads every week.

Richard King, ingenie’s founder and CEO said: “Every year, more than 490,000 newly qualified drivers take to the road on their own for the first time, and it’s a sobering thought that without telematics one in five of them will go on to have a crash within just six months of passing their test.

“Our data shows conclusively that telematics has the potential to save more lives.

“There is a moral obligation – as well as a very clear economic responsibility – for government to get behind telematics for young drivers … and provide the financial incentive needed to encourage wide-scale take-up.”

However, Adrian Walsh, director of road safety partnership RoadSafe is keen not to underestimate the value of proper training for new drivers. He says: "Young drivers are keen to drive well and are quick to learn. However, much of their training focuses on the skills associated with controlling a vehicle rather than their attitude to assessing and managing risk.

"RoadSafe is urging a fresh approach: educate potential drivers to cope with the risks they face, rather than simply to enable them to pilot a vehicle."


Car crime hotspots revealed

Research by car insurance comparison website has revealed that drivers in Ilford are the ones most likely to claim on their car insurance; Romford and West London were next in line.

Good news if you live in Perth or Shrewsbury though (aside from the fact that you’re miles away from civilisation), as these are allegedly the areas in which you’re least likely to be the victim of car crime. analysed 13.2 million car insurance quotes run on the site over 12 months and found that the most common claim type is theft of vehicle making up over half of all claims (52%), followed by vandalism damage (41%), and theft of contents from a vehicle (7%).

The top 10 car crime hotspots in the UK are:

  1. Ilford
  2. Romford
  3. West London
  4. Bromley
  5. East London
  6. North London
  7. South West London
  8. Huddersfield
  9. Leeds
  10. Dudley

While the areas you’re least likely to have to make a claim are: 

  1. Perth
  2. Shrewsbury
  3. Carlisle
  4. Harrogate
  5. Exeter
  6. Norwich
  7. Plymouth
  8. Hereford
  9. Truro
  10. Portsmouth


Car insurance facts and figures

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As a new driver, the cost of your insurance is guaranteed to be painful. At FirstCar we constantly hear stories of how 17 or 18-year olds are charged £4000 or more for their first year of cover.

Before you explode in a rage about how you're being ripped off, consider these key facts. Then ask yourself whether or not you're actually (possibly) getting reasonable value from your insurer:

  • 1 in 3 male drivers will write off a car (either their own or someone else’s) in their first year of motoring.
  • It’s no surprise that insurance is so expensive when you hear about the cost of payouts to care for badly injured motorists: £10m is not uncommon. A payout of £18m was agreed when a young driver caused an accident which left one dead – and four other teenagers needing round-the-clock care for the rest of their lives.
  • Young women are far less likely to have a serious accident than men, but they are more likely to be involved in bumps and scrapes.
  • A car’s insurance group is only a rough gauge of how much a car will cost to insure, because insurers base the premiums on their own experience of drivers with that type of car.
  • Insurance company Swinton reckons an increasing number of accidents are being caused by ‘podestrians’ – that is, people crossing the road while listening to MP3 players.
  • Drivers are more likely to make a claim in Swansea than anywhere else in the UK, according to Virgin Money. The company also warns that it’s 23-year olds, rather than very young drivers, who are the most risky on the road…

Whatever happens, don’t be stupid enough to drive without insurance. That could be the most expensive mistake of all. Even if you don’t have an accident, automatic number plate recognition systems help the police to catch thousands of uninsured vehicles every year.

Drivers crippled financially by huge car insurance excesses

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A study by has found that many UK drivers are opting for a big insurance excess, in a bid to slash their premium – despite knowing that in the event of an accident, they'd be unable to pay the agreed excess.

The study polled 1885 drivers across the UK, aged 18 and over, as part of research into insurance costs and affordability amongst Britons. 

You’ve signed a contract with your insurer, so to avoid financial blacklisting or other penalties, you need to be able to pay

Of those asked, 61% pay their insurance on a monthly basis – and more than half of these reckon it’s the only way they can afford to insure their car.  Unsurprisingly, 72% of respondents also reckon they’re paying too much for their cover, 56% of these also admit it’s a struggle to find the cash to insure their car – while 18% are considering giving up their car because of the high cost of insurance.

Intriguingly, 62% of those polled said they’dbumped up their excess to cut the cost of their insurance cover – but most worrying of all, 26% of respondents said they wouldn’t be able to afford to pay this excess in the event of a claim, while another 38% said it would be a struggle.

Across the board, the average excess is for £300, with almost a fifth of those polled saying they’d have to turn to a payday loan company – two-thirds would rely on friends or family to bail them out.

Matthew Wood of vouchercloud comments: "Whilst increasing the excess is a legal way of keeping insurance down, you’re obliged to pay the agreed figure, so if you don't have the sufficient savings to back you up and dip into, you're going to face a financial battle to pay the money to your provider.

You've signed a contract with your insurer, so to avoid financial blacklisting or other penalties, you need to be able to pay. You might consider yourself to be one of the safest drivers around, but there's no accounting for the actions of other road users, which could land you in the financial mire."

If you're confused by the whole excess thing, check out our guide to how insurance excess works - or we've got a whole section on car insurance advice.

Fully comprehensive insurance cover often the cheapest

Fully comprehensive insurance cover often the cheapest insert.jpg

Drivers choosing third party car insurance as a way to drive down the cost of motoring may be mistaken, according to MoneySupermarket which has found that fully comprehensive is often the cheapest cover – as well as offering the highest level of protection.

Analysis from the price comparison site reveals the vast difference in premium prices between fully comp car cover, third party fire and theft, and third party only cover – particularly for younger drivers. 

For example, the analysis shows an 18-year old driving a Ford Fiesta choosing third party only cover was quoted 146% - or £1524 a year – more for cover than if they had opted for a fully comprehensive policy.This trend continues until the age of 40; on average a 20-year old could save £326 a year opting for fully comp and a 25-year old will find it £49 cheaper on average.

Peter Harrison of MoneySupermarket said: "If motorists take the time to step back and do their research they could find that a fully comprehensive policy offers them the best of both worlds - a better deal financially, as well as complete peace of mind should they need to make a claim." 

FirstCar says:

It seems madness that you pay less and get far more, but insurance companies go on claims profiles. Experience has shown them that drivers who insure third party only are more likely to make a claim – so they charge more for such policies.

For more on car insurance and how it works, check out our advice pages.

Ghost insurance brokers - your questions answered

Ghost car insurance brokers are thought to cost the insurance industry tens of millions of pounds every year, leaving thousands of drivers without cover. The AA claims that every day its own car insurance fraud team blocks up to a dozen attempts to obtain car insurance by suspected ghost brokers – and one of them could be yours. 

Ghost brokers typically advertise cheap, no-quibble insurance on social websites or forums where particular groups are targeted

But what is ghost insurance broking? In short, it’s a nasty scam that’ll con you out of lots of cash, and because it leaves you without cover you could be prosecuted for driving without insurance. Ghost insurance broking is a sophisticated scam that can be hard to identify, and nobody knows how many policies that appear legitimate are ghosted.

When they do come to light, the 'broker' will have disappeared while their victims are left with no insurance cover – and those victims are often landed with convictions for uninsured driving. To add insult to injury, their cars are frequently confiscated by police.

Ghost brokers typically advertise cheap, no-quibble insurance on social websites or forums where particular groups are targeted, such as students, drivers with convictions, drivers newly arrived from overseas or ethnic groups for whom English isn't the first language.

Policies are typically bought by ghost brokers from legitimate providers but with altered details and false contact information for the customer.  They may be paid for using false or stolen credit or debit cards, sometimes issued by overseas banks, while the buyer may be asked to pay cash.

Watch out for 

  • Guarantees to undercut any policy by a significant percentage
  • Fixed-price policies through a reputable company
  • Mobile numbers only or an unwillingness to provide contact details for the insurance company with whom the business is being placed

Protect yourself 

  • Only buy from legitimate sources - if in doubt check with an industry source such as the British Insurance Brokers' Association or the Motor Insurers' Bureau.
  • Beware of adverts guaranteeing to significantly undercut company prices or offering fixed-price insurance.  If the price looks too good to be true it probably is
  • Treat adverts that provide only email or mobile phone contact with suspicion
  • If you suspect you're a victim, check to see if your car is registered as being insured. If it is, check again from time to time because once an insurer realises the policy has been fraudulently obtained it will be cancelled
  • If you suspect you are a ghost broking victim, check with the company whose name is on the insurance certificate and contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Wheel life

Well organised scammers run professional-looking websites.  In 2013 a sophisticated ghost broking network run by two criminals was smashed after taking £680,000 for worthless policies sold at 15% below the cheapest offered elsewhere.

How black box insurance cut one driver's premium by 75% after just one year

The problem with being a young driver is that you get lumped in with all those other young drivers. You know, the ones who take stupid risks every time they get behind the wheel.

Because insurance companies can only go by statistics, the problem they’ve always faced is the ability to treat you as an individual. But not any more, because modern technology allows your insurer to monitor your driving style, to see just how safe you are. Thanks to the use of this telematics, or black box technology, you can now show your insurer that you’re not a liability. 

Norwich Union introduced telematics in 2005, but gave up soon after, because so few people signed up for it. But since 2009 it has proved the way forward for many young drivers, with a stack of insurers now offering (or insisting) on it.

Tom Mason knows all about the value of black boxes; having been voted one of the country’s best drivers by his insurer, The Co-operative, which claims his driving has been “nearly flawless”.

Says Tom: “When I passed my test a year ago, the insurance premium on my Peugeot 106 was a massive £2700, but I had to pay it if I was to get on the road. Thanks to the black box in my car I’ve been able to prove to my insurer that I’m a safe driver, and only a year after passing my test, my premium has dropped to just £700 – that’s a saving of almost three-quarters. Without the telematics system installed, there’s no way my insurer could have slashed over 70 per cent from my premium”.

Whereas some drivers change their driving style if they’re being monitored, Tom insists that he’d drive just the same without it. He continues: “My dad works for the fire and rescue service and he’s told me too many tales of young drivers killed or injured because of bad driving. So while the black box hasn’t made a difference to how I drive, it has allowed me to buy insurance cover at a price I can afford”.

You’d obviously be daft not to consider opting for a telematics scheme for your own cover, but don’t assume it’s automatically the best route; some new drivers can still get cheaper cover with a conventional policy.

You must also check the terms and conditions, as some insurers might not like the way you use your car. For example, some policies restrict you to driving between 6am and 11pm; do any night driving and you could find yourself paying a hefty penalty. But get the right policy and you might just find that the telematics option allows you to get on the road – instead of being priced off it.


How car insurance works

We all hate the hassle of tracking down decent insurance cover, but sadly it’s a necessary evil. You might think you’re not going to crash, but how do you know that your car won’t be nicked or that some idiot won’t pile into you, then drive off?

The whole point of insurance is that it’s to cover you for whatever life throws at you – and unless you can see into the future, you don’t know what that might be. 

If you were given £2000 on the basis that you might have to fork out a couple of million pounds because of somebody’s carelessness, would you take the risk?

Insurance works in a very straightforward way; the company underwriting the policy will work out the likelihood of the policyholder making a claim, and charge accordingly.

Their aim is to ensure that at the end of each year, the amount paid into the pot by all their customers will equal more than the money taken out by those making a claim. It's inevitable that some customers will make a claim and the company will have to pay out; their plan is to ensure that taking their customer base as a whole, they're ultimately ahead financially.

To stay on the right side of the law, you need third-party insurance at the very least – but if your car is worth more than £2000 you really ought to go for comprehensive cover. This sometimes costs little more than the lower level of cover, but gives you far greater protection. However, if you’re on a tight budget, you may have little choice as to how you insure your car…

Something that frequently seems unfair is a £2000 premium on a £500 car; an issue that many young drivers have to contend with. The thing is, the value of the car being insured is immaterial; with third party insurance only, it won’t even be covered.

But what happens if the driver of that car smashes into a Bentley, causing serious damage to the car and its occupants? A couple of heavy personal injury claims won’t be cheap; if you were given £2000 on the basis that you might have to fork out a couple of million pounds because of somebody’s carelessness, would you take the risk?

How no-claims discounts and insurance excesses work

No-claims bonus (NCB)

Each year you have a policy but don’t make a claim, you gain another year’s NCB, sometimes known as a no-claims discount (NCD).

A reward for enjoying each year of claim-free driving, it's this discount which makes insurance increasingly affordable as after five or six years your insurer should give you a discount of up to 65% - some even go as high as 70%, although this is rare. 

Once you’ve proved that you’re a good driver, you can even protect your no-claims bonus so that it’s not lost in the event of a claim.

However, a common misconception is that because you've got a protected no-claims bonus, your premium won't go up the next time you renew your insurance. Sadly that's not the case as you can still expect a premium increase - especially if you're making an at-fault claim. But the premium increase should hopefully be less than if you didn't have that protection.


Your excess is the contribution you’ll have to make in the event of a claim, before your insurer pays out anything. The excess is there to stop people making trivial claims; as it’s usually set at no less than £100, if you scrape your bumper and the bill is £150 to patch it up, it’s hardly worth putting in a claim.

You can normally choose the level at which your excess is set; the greater your excess, the lower your premium. However, new drivers tend to have the excess set at quite a high level (often £500 or more) by their insurer, as the chances of a claim being made are high.

It's easy to assume that it's a good idea to opt for the biggest excess on offer, to keep your insurance premium as low as possible. But as this news story relates, taking this route really isn't a good idea...


How telematics-based insurance works

The only way many new drivers can afford to insure their cars is to opt for a telematics, or black box, insurance policy; one FirstCar reader found it cut his premium by a whopping 75%.

Take this route and your insurer will fit a tiny black box to your car that monitors your driving. The box is free, it’s hidden out of sight and it’ll tell your insurer how fast you’re driving, where and when you’re on the move, plus how harshly you’re braking and cornering. 

If you’re in a crash, it could even alert the emergency services on your behalf, so they get to the scene more quickly

It’s not as though there’s somebody actually monitoring you as you drive though; it’s all done by software, so your driving can be constantly monitored and your premium recalculated on a rolling basis.

It’s not just your insurer who can keep tabs though, as most provide a portal through which you can see for yourself how well you’ve been driving. And because the black box does the same thing as a tracking system, your car can be found more easily if it’s stolen. Plus, if you’re in a crash, it could even alert the emergency services on your behalf, so they get to the scene more quickly.

Not all telematics policies are the same though, so it's worth shopping around before you put your hand in your pocket. Some have night-time curfews, but many don't, while others have a clause which says that if you move to another insurer after just a year, you could be liable for the cost of the black box. As usual, you must read the small print very carefully before you sign up.

You can compare insurance costs from multiple providers at the same time by visiting our partners and entering your details. Best of all, they’ll keep your details and send you reminders when you’re insurance is up for renewal!

How to cut the cost of your car insurance

The premium you pay is based on a multitude of factors, which we guide you through here. An insurance company works out how likely you are to make a claim, based on the questions they ask you, covering a wide array of areas; if you’re statistically a high risk, you’ll be clobbered.

Unfortunately, as a new driver you are a high risk, and if you want to know just how high, you can check out a few key facts and figures here.

The main issue for you as a new driver is your lack of experience and if you're a young driver, your age. While you can’t change your age (and don’t even consider lying, or you won’t be covered in the event of a claim), there are other ways you can cut the cost of your insurance. These are the key ones:

  • Shop around to get the best price and deal. And make sure you do this every year; don't stick with your insurer just because they gave you the best deal the last time.
  • Try to price match, playing off one insurer against another. If you make it clear that you can get a better deal elsewhere, you might see costs cut.
  • Leave your car standard; insurers don’t like big stereos, spoilers and flash wheels.
  • Don’t claim for small things; you need to build up a no-claims bonus. Besides, you'll probably have a large excess imposed on you anyway.
  • Consider a larger excess, but don't get carried away; in the event of a claim, would you be able to fulfil your obligation?
  • Use a specialist insurance company if you drive something unusual such as a kit or classic car.
  • Think about investing in some security, to help ensure your car isn't stolen.
  • Look at both conventional insurance policies as well as black box (or telematics) cover.
  • Put a parent on your policy; it can see costs plummet. But whatever you do, don't get involved in fronting.


How your car insurance premium is calculated

Insurance works in a very simple way; the higher the risk you pose, the more you pay because the greater the chance that the insurance company will have to pay out if or when you make a claim.

They know they'll lose on some policies and win on others - but their plan is to come out ahead (in profit) overall.

When your insurance premium is calculated, your insurer takes a whole load of factors into account, each one helping them to work out how likely you are to make a claim. This is what’s taken into account, and why: 

  • Where you live: some areas have higher theft rates than others.
  • Age: there’s no substitute for experience to reduce the likelihood of an accident.
  • Driving history: if you’ve spent the last year crashing into things, there’s a good chance you’ll continue to do so.
  • Occupation: lawyers and doctors are a safe bet; journalists and film stars aren’t. How you earn a living radically affects the risk you pose, so if in doubt just become an accountant.
  • Licence cleanliness: is your licence loaded with points? If so, you clearly have problems obeying laws; insurance companies don’t like law breakers.
  • Annual mileage: the more you drive, the greater the risk of you having an accident. Keep your annual mileage down and you can reduce your premium accordingly.
  • Security: if no alarm or immobiliser is fitted, there’s a good chance your car will walk. Fit some sort of security system, your car will stay where you leave it and there’ll be no claim made. Everyone’s a winner.
  • Where the car is kept: insurance companies like garages, or at least off-street parking. Leave your car in the road and you’ll pay more.
  • Who drives it: allow the world and his wife to drive your car and you’ll get charged accordingly. Restrict cover only to those who really need it.
  • Value of the car: the higher the value of the car, the more it’ll cost to insure. It really is that simple.
  • Type of cover: comprehensive cover costs more than third party, fire and theft. If your car is almost worthless, don’t insure it comprehensively – but shop around and you might be able to insure it comprehensively for the same money that someone else is charging for just basic cover.
  • Usage: insurance companies don’t like vehicles being used for business use. So restrict its use to social, domestic and pleasure for a lower premium.
  • Left or right-hand drive: insurance companies don’t like British drivers running left-hand drive cars; they like the steering wheel on the right.

Insurance: riskiest occupations revealed

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MoneySupermarket has revealed the top ten professions that make the fewest and most at-fault claims on their car insurance, with data processors, doctors and estate agents taking the top spots for number of claims.

The comparison site analysed over 13 million car insurance quotes run on the site over 12 months and found data processors are the profession most likely to make an at-fault claim on their car insurance, followed closely by doctors, and estate agents. Chartered accountants come in at the fourth most likely, followed respectively by air cabin crew, solicitors, scientists, staff nurses, marketing managers, and electronic engineers. 

At the other end of the scale, the analysis also revealed the professions who make the fewest at-fault claims on their car insurance. Pickers are the safest drivers on the roads, followed by packers, painters and flood processors. Car salesman, car delivery drivers, drivers, and car body repairers came in fifth to eighth place respectively – all of which are professions with cars and driving at their core. Construction workers and electronic engineers came in at ninth and tenth place.

Peter Harrison, car insurance expert at MoneySupermarket, said: "Claiming for either an at-fault or not-at-fault accident will have an impact on the cost of your car insurance premiums. Our research shows the average claim value for an at-fault accident is £3025, and these types of claims represent more than half of all those registered on the site”.

Top ten professions registering the fewest 'at fault' claims: 

  1. Picker
  2. Packer
  3. Painter
  4. Food processor
  5. Car salesman
  6. Car delivery driver
  7. Driver
  8. Car body repairer
  9. Construction worker
  10. Porter 

Top ten professions registering the most 'at fault' claims: 

  1. Data processor
  2. Doctor
  3. Estate agent
  4. Chartered accountant
  5. Aircraft cabin crew
  6. Solicitor
  7. Scientist
  8. Staff nurse
  9. Marketing manager
  10. Electronics engineer

Is black box insurance a killer?

A coroner has claimed that two Gloucestershire teenagers were killed because the driver was trying to get home before his insurance policy’s 11pm curfew kicked in.

Oliver Pain (18) and his 17-year old friend Harry Smith were killed when Pain’s Renault Clio left the road and crashed into a tree. It was 10.42pm and they hadn’t yet made it home. Pain would be fined £100 if they were still out after 11pm, but there would be no penalty to pay until then, unless he was caught breaking the speed limit by at least 50 per cent.

Even if this fatal crash wasn’t caused by Pain trying to get home before his 11pm curfew, the event must surely send out a warning signal to insurers

Gloucestershire Police collision investigator David Holland said the car was doing 57mph when it went out of control. The limit on the road was 60mph and the tracking system showed that Pain had reached up to 74mph that night. But for the eight months before the accident, Pain had complied with speed limits and curfews set by his insurer, Towergate Smart.

PC Holland commented: “'This trip seems to have been an exception to his previous driving record. He exceeded the limit throughout the journey right up to the collision point.

“One must question why he decided he needed to drive quickly on this journey – the answer to which, I believe, lies with the tracking device and the criteria of its use. It is probable he believed he had to hurry back to avoid a curfew penalty. On that journey he exceeded the speed limit on numerous occasions. But none of the speeds would have attracted any sort of reprimand from his insurer.”

Speaking at the inquest, acting coroner David Dooley said: “It does appear that the curfew was the factor causing him to drive as he did. On the balance of probabilities I think his decision to go at this speed was due to his wish to avoid breaching the curfew penalty”.

FirstCar says: 
Oliver Pain wasn’t breaking any speed limit at the time he crashed and 74mph is only just over the motorway speed limit. Dursley is close to the M5, and it hasn’t been made clear that the 74mph speed was achieved on anything other than the M5. So was he really trying to beat his curfew?

However, even if this fatal crash wasn’t caused by Pain trying to get home before his 11pm curfew, the event must surely send out a warning signal to insurers that such restrictions could cause more problems than they solve.

And that 50 per cent tolerance on the speed limits is insane; Pain would have had to drive at 90mph on this stretch of road before he got into hot water with his insurer. And as he was to prove, it took a speed of only 57mph for two deaths to result.

Marmalade: night-time driving curfews are not the answer

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Marmalade, the young driver insurance provider and FirstCar partner, has called on the Government to review criteria in its forthcoming Green Paper, in light of feedback on telematics from a Gloucestershire coroner.

Coroner David Dooley said he was satisfied 18-year old Oliver Pain's rush to beat the 11pm curfew, a condition of his insurance company's black box policy, was a 'significant factor in his driving'. You can read the full story here

Night-time curfews are one of a number of conditions being considered by the Department for Transport

Night-time curfews are one of a number of conditions considered by the Department for Transport as part of its Green Paper looking to improve young driver safety and cut the high cost of premiums for this age group.

But Marmalade, whose own telematics policy has purposely been designed without a night-time driving curfew, says this particular criteria is flawed and impractical to enforce.

"This is an extremely tragic incident and our thoughts are with the families of these two young people," said Marmalade MD Crispin Moger. "It is also sad that it has taken something as horrific as this to happen to bring this issue to everyone's attention. We have always said that night-time curfews are not right for young drivers.

"Young people are young adults with jobs, social lives and responsibilities which don't fit neatly into a life that stops at 11pm and starts again at 5am. If we expect young drivers to act responsibly on our roads we need to treat them as such and not impose unrealistic restrictions."

Marmalade instead uses other key motoring performance indicators, including acceleration, braking, cornering and speed, to measure and maintain safe driving. It regularly surveys young drivers to monitor feedback. A survey of 200 new UK drivers aged 17-24 found that 60% would not support a restriction on driving between 11pm and 5am if the Government was to introduce it.

Annabel Martin, 17, had been driving for four months when Marmalade asked her about the curfew initiative. Annabel has telematics fitted into her car said she wouldn't be in favour, she said it would encourage her to 'speed' to get home in time.

Full footage of her thoughts on the Green Paper, including the curfew restriction are in the interview which you can see on youtube.

MIB warns against fronting

No, it’s not the Men In Black who are warning you against setting up a dodgy insurance policy – it’s the Motor Insurers’ Bureau. The body that represents car insurers across the UK has noticed that despite fronting being illegal, there are still lots of families indulging in the practice.

The term ‘fronting’ is used when a policy is taken out claiming that the main driver of a car is a parent, when actually it’s their child. By taking this route, rather than the honest one of disclosing who is actually the main driver, the insurance premium can be slashed.

Insurers take fronting very seriously and will investigate the situation

Although a parent may think they’re doing the right thing by ensuring their child is driving with insurance, fronting a policy meanstheir son or daughter will be driving without correct insurance cover which could invalidate the policy – so no cover is in place.

Teenagers and parents who do this are often unaware that they’re committing a form of fraud and don’t understand the consequences and risks they’re exposing themselves to. Insurers charge a premium based on the risk presented by the policyholder; if the insurer is not told the truth about the risk then it will invalidate the insurance policy.

Insurers take fronting very seriously and will investigate the situation. If you’re involved in an accident and found to have a fronted policy, insurers will recover the costs from the policyholder and/or their child as the driver. These costs can run into hundreds of thousands of pounds...

Paul Ryman-Tubb, Head of Technical at the Motor Insurers’ Bureau said, “The point of car insurance is to provide financial protection in the event of an accident. If you mislead insurers in this way, you will not actually be buying any protection at all, in fact quite the opposite; you are exposing yourself and your family to financial risk.  Fronting is a serious issue and as an organisation which pays out claims to victims of uninsured and untraced drivers, we encourage all motorists to be honest with insurers and make sure they have the correct cover. When you consider the consequences of fronting, it’s simply not worth the risk.”

One in 200 drivers caught driving uninsured

Research by the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) has shown that 226,803 drivers in the UK have points on their licence for driving without insurance.

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According to DVLA records, 194,997 full licence holders and 31,806 provisional licence holders have been caught driving without vehicle insurance and have received points for doing so - that's one in every 200 drivers.

In the 17-35 age range, one in every 100 people with a full driving licence has points for driving uninsured. Figures also show that in both licence categories and all age groups it is men who are far more likely to commit this offence. In the 17-24 age category, men are four times more likely to have points on their licence for driving uninsured than women. Other findings were: 

  • People in the 25-35 age category are most likely to drive uninsured (81,003 with points).
  • Drivers over 65 were least likely to have points on their licence for driving without insurance (0.06%, or 3867 people).
  • 0.44% of people with a provisional licence have been caught driving uninsured.
  • One in every 200 people with a full UK driving licence has been penalised with points for driving without insurance.

IAM chief executive Simon Best said: "These findings are shocking. Those 200,000 individuals who drive whilst uninsured place the burden back on those who abide by the law through higher premiums and potentially the cost of vehicle repair.

"The most concerning fact is that this could just be the tip of the iceberg, as these numbers only represent those who have been caught and penalised.  Insurance fraud and uninsured driving are also growing problems that need to be tackled through a coordinated approach from enforcement authorities. It is not acceptable that drivers pay up to £70 in higher premiums to compensate for those who ignore the law."

As well as six points and a fine for driving uninsured, an 18-year old with a £950 premium could expect to see this increase to £2195.  For a 30-year old it would increase from £228 to £4621.

Peter Harrison, car insurance expert at MoneySupermarket, said: "It's astonishing how many drivers are still prepared to hit the road without insurance. Not only is it illegal but you could face thousands of pounds in liability, a conviction, six points on your licence and a hefty fine should you be caught out or be involved in a crash.

“To make matters worse, uninsured drivers cost the insurance industry £500 million each year. Furthermore, insurance fraud adds £39 to the cost of every motor premium and uninsured driving an extra £30 - this is not fair on law-abiding motorists.

"The cost of insurance premiums will no doubt have influenced the decision from some drivers to forego insurance altogether. However, the penalties for not having insurance are great, and could even result in your vehicle being confiscated. Although car insurance premiums may appear high, having suitable insurance and proving you are a safe driver will help bring premiums down over time. Not having insurance, and being caught without it, could result in you not being insurable in the future."


Thatcham security categories - how they work

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There’s one way of pretty much guaranteeing a reduction in the cost of your insurance, and that’s by fitting an enhanced security system. You can expect some form of security on any modern car, but some systems are more worthwhile than others.

So that insurance companies and consumers can directly compare the various security products available, the automotive research centre tests and rates them. As the centre is based at Thatcham in Berkshire, the rating given to each product is called its Thatcham category. The most secure products are category 1; the least secure (but still worthwhile) carry a category 3 rating. The key requirements for each category are as follows: 

Category 1

Professionally fitted alarm and immobiliser that integrates into the vehicle’s electrical system to control electric windows and central locking. Such a system must have a back-up battery, an ultra-secure immobiliser and protection for the doors, bonnet and any other means of entry into the car.

Category 2

Significantly cheaper than a category 1 system, a category 2 immobiliser has to incorporate technology that won’t allow a car to be started without some form of unique code. This may be entered from a key pad, it may require a transponder to be used or it could merely be a system that’s operated by the door key.

Category 2:1

All modern vehicles come with some form of immobiliser, so it’s usually only a matter of upgrading rather than starting from scratch. This category encompasses all products that integrate with an existing category 2 immobiliser to it take up to category 1 level. Such systems would be expected to integrate into the vehicle’s electrical system and offer all the key attributes of a category 1 system.

Category 3

Whereas the previous categories all required the fitment of an electrical alarm or immobiliser, this one relates to mechanical items that physically protect your car. Such things include wheel clamps and steering wheel locks. In the event of a theft it’s impossible to tell if one of these item was fitted, which is why insurance companies don’t stipulate that you must fit one.

Tracker systems

If your main worry is somebody breaking into your car, a tracker system won’t help. It’s not an alarm, but as the name suggests it offers a means of tracking your car if it should be stolen. There are various products available, but whichever one you buy, make sure it works in mainland Europe in case your car is stolen then quickly exported. A tracker system is usually £500 or so, plus an annual subscription to be connected to the network.

* A crucial point is that it's easy to spend hundreds of pounds on security for your car, and see a reduction in your premium of rather less. However, if you have to make a claim because your car is stolen, you could ultimately end up being out of pocket by a huge sum, especially if you lose any no-claims bonus that you might otherwise have had.