A full 74.4% of young motorists say they would take extra tuition if it saved them money on their insurance. However, the long-standing Pass Plus qualification may not be the one to go for; our research showed that for a 17-year-old driver, taking the six-hour course can make no difference at all. Ian Crowder says the AA is one of several groups calling for a revamp of the system. He said: It needs to be overhauled. An informal set of six sessions is no substitute for driving on a motorway for the first time.
There are more technological advances on the way that could help reduce premiums, too. Ford, for example, is bringing its Mykey system out on the Fiesta as of this autumn.
Mykey will allow the owner of the car to restrict how it can be driven with certain keys. The speed can be limited to a lower maximum than normal and warnings are sounded at certain speeds.
However, one increasingly common piece of technology the smart phone wont be making a difference to insurance premiums any time soon, according to Thatcham.
A couple of companies are looking at using smart phones to monitor driver behaviour, says Matthew Avery, but the big issue is whether it is charged or plugged in. Its not clear how useful it can be if it is not connected the whole time.
Clever tricks and technology can help to make motoring more affordable for Britains youngest drivers, but as with anything where youre after the best possible deal, the best advice is to shop around. Play with different comparison sites, go direct to insurers and tweak answers to the precise questions. As the AAs Ian Crowder says: Look at your occupation and try to describe it in a slightly different way. For example, switch nurse and care assistant, or landlord and publican.
He warns against pushing it too far though, saying: Dont tell lies, but do play around. This is crucial, because lying to an insurance company could leave you without cover at all. One common way of lying is fronting, which involves naming a friend or family member as the main driver to get cheaper cover. The simple advice is: dont do it.
What Car? says...
Young-driver insurance policies are costly because 30% of in-car fatalities occur in vehicles driven by people aged between 17 and 24, despite this age group making up only 8% of road users. In this context, the high price paid by young drivers seems cheap.
Ability will improve only with experience, so get as many miles under your belt as you can. Become a named driver on someone elses policy, take further training whether this brings down your premiums or not or opt for a policy where you can prove youre a safe driver, and your premium will be adjusted accordingly.