/ Motoring

Pass Plus – the solution for young uninsured drivers?

Pass Plus scheme logo

Most uninsured drivers are young and inexperienced, largely due to high insurance premiums. The Pass Plus scheme aims to improve new drivers’ skills and reduce premiums, so why don’t all insurers support it?

Let’s say you’re a young driver aged 17, and you’ve passed your test. You have a pretty bog-standard car, costing around £1,000.

But now you have to get some insurance. The odds are you’ll pay between two and four times the cost of your car for annual motor insurance. That’s steep, especially for someone so young, and it’s a key reason why young drivers form the largest proportion of uninsured motorists.

How can young drivers get affordable insurance?

Which? Conversation commenter Ron Adams thinks it’s only common sense that insurance should be made available for young drivers:

“The main problem is that too many young drivers do not insure their vehicle because of the high cost. If young drivers’ premiums were reduced we may get most of them taking out insurance, hence the total income to the insurance companies would be the same.”

Sure, the insurance sector’s had it hard. Payouts are high, especially with more of us sticking in personal injury claims. But where can a 17-year-old get an affordable insurance policy? It’s not clear.

Those in the know will point to the insurance brokers and specialist providers. Others will say to go on a Pass Plus scheme, which are training courses for new drivers designed by the Driving Standards Agency. They’re run by local authorities and will entitle you to a discount on your insurance. But not all insurers play ball on this one.

Support the Pass Plus scheme

I think it’s time that the insurance industry invests in its future, and does more to protect all of us, no matter what our age. It needs to support the Pass Plus scheme and give young drivers the chance to get affordable insurance.

If insurers don’t act soon, what with premiums rising as high as they are, more and more young drivers will take to the roads without cover. And that’s going to cause problems for all of us, whether we’re drivers or pedestrians.

Comments
Member

I’d need more facts to comment on this. Firstly, when you say ‘Most uninsured drivers are young and inexperienced’ do the statistics include underage or banned drivers who would not get insurance anyway?

Secondly, is there any evidence that the Pass Pluss scheme reduces the number of accidents caused by young drivers? I suspect most insurance companies will not reduce their prices until there is evidence drivers who successfully complete the course are less likely to cause an accident.

I can only think of three solutions to this problem. One is to return to the original principle of insurance that we all share the total risks of motoring equally. No age distictions, no no-claim bonus; we all share the cost of accidents. Clearly this would be unacceptable to good drivers!

Two, Insurance companies could offer lower rates in exchange for loyalty from younger drivers. Maybe a 15 year contract? This would be very difficult, if not impossible, to administer, and there would be high penalties for drivers who broke the contract.

Three, we have a effective and agressive system that quickly identifies uninsured drivers. Maybe a visual disc to add to the tax disc, or a system where you can only buy petrol if you have an insurance card. I’m sure cival liberties groups would see this as an identity card.

When I began driving it was accepted that I would have to pay high insurance costs until I’d proved I was a good driver. It was my responsibility; no-one elses. I appreciate this is very unfair on good young drivers, but I can’t see any alternative that would be acceptable.

Member

I have to agree – I haven’t seen any evidence that good young drivers pay any more than they used to do when I was a young driver. I know I was shocked when I found how much I had to pay as a young driver but I paid it.. My first car was worth less than £50 the insurance was £200 third party fire and theft.

The difference now is there are far more drivers – young or old – on the road prepared to drive without insurance – and – far too many of them are not caught. 1.25 million of them.

Yet is must be easy enough to catch them – if there were more of the new cameras – more police – stopping more .bad drivers.- crushing more cars – fining them heavily enough so they can’t afford to buy another car.- they did that with road fund licence evasion

Make a current valid insurance and driving licence of the registered driver a condition of the issuing an MOT.certificate. Fit every garage with a number plate recognition camera – no valid recognition of associated valid insurance – no petrol.

The technology is there use it.

Only then could insurance companies afford to reduce premiums. Premiums are fixed to reflect the cost of the market and adequate profit.

Member
Lynne Taylor says:
10 December 2010

My son passed his Pass Plus at 17. He then drove my husbands company car Audi A6 when he needed it. We bought him a small car when he was 19 years old and had been driving on a company insurance for 18 months with no problems. No insurance companies would take into consideration that he had 18 months experience driving a large car or that had completed Pass Plus. The cheapest quote came in at £2,000. This is more than the cost of most cars that young new drivers buy and will certainly be encouraging young drivers to drive without insurance. There must be a way to provide affordable insurance.

Member
David says:
10 December 2010

I am a Driving Standards Agency Approved Driving Instructor and I teach Pass Plus to young drivers.Some come to me because they want to improve their driving skills and others because they just want cheaper insurance. Is it coincidence that the better drivers are those who want to improve their driving skills with me, whilst the ones who just want the cheaper insurance are, in some cases, quite appalling drivers even though they may have passed their driving test within the preceding 2 months or so ? Once these less than good drivers accomplish their Pass Plus qualification I have no doubt they will quickly lapse into their pre Pass Plus ways of driving. They merely look on the Pass Plus system as a way of getting cheaper insurance and not of maintaining a higher standard of driving.
I understand why insurance companies on the whole do not support the Pass Plus scheme. In fact, the vast majority do not support or recognize any driving qualifications. When I apply for a quotation for insurance for my non driving school vehicle, they take no account of my driving instructor qualifications, my Fleet Driver Trainer qualifications, my Institute of Advanced Motorist membership and instructor qualification or my Advance Police Driver qualifications. Or my 42 years of driving experience.

Member
Nigel Molyneux says:
10 December 2010

The cheapest insurance I can find anywhere for my 18 year old son with pass plus and including all the curfew schemes etc on a group 1 car is £4000. He is not driving. I would be delighted to only pay £2000

Member

The Insurance industry has a vested interest in the status quo…they claim that the reason premiums increase is because of 3rd party claims..the reason is not because of the claims..its because they do not differentiate between legitimate claims and dodgy ones, claiming its cheaper to pay the dodgy lawyers etc than fight the dodgy claims….from my experience when evidence is handed to them on a plate they are incompetent and do not follow up…we have a national data base of vehicles..why not of victims and claimants etc etc etc…why is it automatically my fault if I run into someone even they stop or reverse into me for know reason…crash and cash are as a result of insurance company’s refusing to hear innocent victims complain about fraudsters…

Member

My observation of leaner drivers under tuition and of young drivers on the road suggests that driving instruction is inadequate. In my opinion there needs to be a drastic revision to the learner driver curriculum to match current driving conditions and modern cars. Pass Plus should, as a minimum, be integrated into current driving instruction. On a daily basis I see the most basic driving errors being made, not all by young drivers, and believe that tuition and testing needs to be more exacting. At the moment, so far as I know, driving instructors are rated over a range of expertise. This seems to be crazy. An instructor should be fully competent to the highest standard prior to teaching. Amongst many sins I’ve seen instructors tutoring without lights in conditions of rain and poor visibility, contrary to the Highway code. I’ve seen instructors talking to learners while parked in restricted areas of many types. I don’t blame the learners when they are subjected to poor teaching.

Member

I’m sorry but – passing any test only shows that a person has the knowledge and ability TO pass the test at the time it was taken – It does not show or guarantee the actual behaviour of that driver after the test.

My experience shows that far too many drivers drive badly irrespective of their qualifications. That is from simple speeding to totally irresponsible cutting up – tail gating or jumping lights.

More severe penalties could curb the tendency to drive thoughtlessly.

Member
Just Me says:
19 January 2012

I totally agree with the pass plus scheme. We will never get everyone on the roads insured based on our current system, but one way to look at it, if not exactly PC, is at least we will have safer uninsured drivers out there.