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Car insurance tops £5,000 for young drivers

The tyre of a red carYoung drivers in parts of the UK are facing annual car insurance bills of more than £5,000, new research shows.

Young male drivers between the ages of 17 and 20 in both central London and the Manchester/Merseyside region are paying well over £5,000 a year for comprehensive cover.

This is according to the latest figures from the Confused.com/Towers Watson Car Insurance Price Index.

Costs have doubled

In central London, the cost of insuring a car for a man under 20 is now £5,330 a year, although this has fallen by just under 5 per cent over the past 12 months as part of an overall dip in young driver car insurance prices.

But compared with rates at the end of 2006, when the Car Insurance Price Index began, premiums have almost doubled from £2,776.

Policies for young women in central London at the moment are substantially lower, at a typical £3,153 – less than two-thirds of the price for men.

In the Manchester/Merseyside area, however, rates are higher still - men under 20 must now pay £5,394 a year on average, compared with £3,124 for women.

This has more than doubled since 2006, when the typical comprehensive policy for young men was £2,545.

Elsewhere in the country, costs are less eye-watering.

Across the UK, the average cost of a policy for a man under 20 has fallen by 6.1 per cent over the past 12 months to £3,596.

For women, costs are down 8.7 per cent to £1,878.

Gap is narrowing

However, a change in the law, due in December, is likely to lead to smaller differences between men and women’s premiums.

An EU ruling means that insurers will no longer be able to charge different rates based on gender and already this year, there are signs that the gap may be narrowing.

For example, in the second quarter of 2012, the price of a typical man’s comprehensive premium fell by 2.6 per cent, compared with a fall for women of 1.9 per cent.

Gareth Kloet, head of car insurance at Confused.com, said: "Gender differences have to be factored out of quotations after December this year and so other factors such as the type of car you drive and the distances you expect to cover will become more important in the quote process."

How to cut costs 

Premiums may be high for the average young driver, but there are a number of steps you can take to keep the cost of cover under control.

  • Sign up for a telematics car insurance policy - allowing your insurer to monitor your driving via an in-car tracking device can lead to cheaper premiums if you are a responsible motorist.
  • Add a named driver - including one or both of your parents on your insurance policy can cut costs at a stroke, even if they only occasionally use your car.
  • Avoid modifications - spoilers and wheel trims might look good, but they will push up the cost of your policy.