As premiums for young drivers go through the roof, it’s no surprise that more and more of them are turning to scooters.
Young drivers have seen the cost of motor insurance rise to eye-watering levels this year.
The latest figures from the Confused.com/EMB Car Insurance Price Index showed that motor premiums for 17 to 20-year-olds had risen by more than 10 per cent in the last three months: on average, this group is now paying £2,080 a year each to insure their vehicles.
For male drivers specifically, statistics show them to be more likely than their female counterparts to be involved in accidents, and their average annual premium is £2,879 a year. (The equivalent price for women in this age group is £1,637.)
It’s hardly surprising, then, that thousands of young motorists are finding themselves priced off our roads.
But the increasing numbers of young people who can’t afford to own a car are turning to scooters and mopeds as a far cheaper way to get around, in terms of both the machines themselves and their running costs.
Auction website eBay has recently revealed a huge rise in scooter sales, and now says that 13,000 are bought every month in the UK.
The typical scooter is likely to be considerably cheaper than the average car for obvious reasons. But the real advantage for younger motorists lies in the huge savings that are available on the cost of cover.
Steve Best, product manager for motorcycle and van insurance at Confused.com, says that cover for a scooter can cost less than a tenth of a car’s premium. “Running a quote on our comparison service for a typical 19-year-old male scooter driver, the best price comes out at £165 for the year,” he says.
“Talking to some of the insurers we do business with, it is clear that there are a rising number of scooters out there, month on month.”
With such a huge saving on insurance, this is hardly surprising.
Steve adds that his own 18-year-old son runs a Vauxhall Corsa which cost him £500, but his latest insurance premium was £1,800. The car is tagged, and can’t be driven between 11pm and 5am – during which hours young men are most likely to be involved in accidents.
If it were not for this restriction, the cost of cover would be higher still.
Cheaper insurance is not the only advantage of running a scooter: they are also exempt from many of the congestion charges which apply in a number of cities, and are considerably more fuel-efficient than cars, so petrol or diesel costs are lower.
Why are scooters so cheap to insure?
The price of insurance reflects the cost to insurers of settling any claims that are made. Because claims involving scooters are less frequent or for smaller sums than those involving cars (or standard motorcycles), premiums are lower.
The value of the average scooter is lower than the average car or motorbike, so the cost of replacing them if they are stolen or written off is less – as is the cost of repairs.
Plus scooters are less powerful, and can’t go as fast as other vehicles, so any accidents they happen to be involved in, are seen as potentially less serious.
On the other hand, scooters can be easier to steal, which puts some upward pressure on premiums. But you can keep costs under control by using security devices, or keeping your bike in a garage or on your property overnight.
The type of cover you go for can also affect the policy cost: for example if you’ve bought a second-hand scooter for cheap, you may consider just third-party motorbike cover (rather than more expensive third-party, fire and theft, or comprehensive insurance) if the potential cost of replacing your machine is low.