Learning to drive is expensive these days. On average, it now costs nearly £3,000 to get from your first lesson to the big day when you can drive away with a crisp, fresh license. And that’s if you can pass first time, which statistically nearly 70% of learners won’t.
If you’re a young petrol head, that’s a lot of cash to have to stump up. Which is why so many under-25s find it impossible to make that dream of the open road a reality due to the spiralling cost of insurance.
The 17 to 20 age group has seen an average 8.2% rise in premiums year on year, with many feeling they are being priced off the road. In the third quarter of 2015, the average annual premium for a 17 to 20 year old was an astonishing £3,878 when insured as the only driver of a vehicle. By comparison, over 25s were charged an average of £1,006. In the majority of cases, insurance premiums of this scale are well in excess of the value of the car a young person is wanting to insure, and for many keeps their dreams of the open road just that - dreams - at least for a few years.
But there are two sides to every coin, and insurance brokers and underwriters would argue that under-25s (both male and female) make up some of the highest risk insurance categories, in terms of accident rate, severity of accidents and fatality rates. Independent studies, such as one commissioned by The AA, also support these statistics.
But there is clear room for debate on whether the scale of the premium (nearly four times that of an over-25) is really justifiable, with some arguing that insurance companies are merely creaming the fat off a demographic they know will pay almost any price to get motoring.
And where does this leave younger blood getting involved in the classic car scene? We are only a small club, and yet we have over thirty members in the under-30 age group. Many of these bought their P6 as their first (and only) car, and some own multiple P6s. In fact, all of our indicators are suggesting that the P6 is increasingly being regarded as a young man’s (and woman’s) car, and we actively support that movement - three members of our Committee are under-30. Which is why we feel strongly about the current situation on insurance for younger drivers.
A few years ago, Fraser Kinghorn negotiated an agreement with a prominent classic insurance company to offer cover to P6 Club members under-25 on all 4-cylinder P6 models (subject to a few conditions). But that arrangement is no longer supported. Fraser says “As far as classic insurance for young people is concerned, there is a worrying trend for insurers to constantly move the goalposts.” We know from speaking with these insurance companies directly that many simply have to comply with changes made by their underwriters. But securing classic insurance on a P6 can be tricky. Many require you to have a modern car as your primary transport, and can impose crippling mileage limits of as little as 500 miles per year - how many of us racked that mileage up over the Easter weekend? But many simply will not cover under-25s or under-21s.
This is a real problem for getting new, young drivers interested in P6 and classic motoring generally.
There is much to be done to make the insurance industry fairer and more transparent. We intend to discuss this in detail with other classic car clubs, insurers direct, and the classic car press.
In the meantime, you can lend your voice by signing this petition to the UK Government. If you look past the rather heated writing style, the petition author makes a strong point.