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Most new drivers can't afford to drive after passing their test

By Craig Perry
28th November 2023

Less than half of new UK motorists can afford to drive their own cars immediately after passing their driving tests

  • High insurance policy premiums are a factor preventing drivers from taking to the road when they qualify.
  • New analysis1 reveals that the average car insurance premium quote has increased by 61% in the past year.
  • More than eight-in-10 new motorists who bought a telematics insurance policy say it helped them start driving their own car within a shorter timeframe than if they had stuck with traditional insurance.

Motorists are being forced to wait months and even years to start driving their own car when they pass their driving tests, partly because of high insurance costs. Research2 from The Green Insurer, which is focused on helping drivers reduce carbon emissions and drive in a more environmentally friendly way, finds that just 44% of newly qualified motorists can afford to take their own car out on the road straight away.

While 14% of motorists need to wait three months to start driving their own car, a further 13% report that they needed to wait between one and five years. It’s a problem that affects younger drivers more than older drivers. Half (50%) of drivers aged 65+ say that they could drive their own car immediately after passing their test compared to a third (33%) of drivers aged between 18-24.

One of the biggest factors that affects motorists’ ability to afford to drive their own cars is the cost of car insurance, which analysis1 shows has risen by 61% in the last year. Almost six-in-10 (57%) of drivers report that the cost of insurance was either a small or major factor in delays to driving their own cars. This rises to 79% of drivers aged between 18-24, who are routinely offered higher policy premiums than more experienced older drivers.

Newly qualified drivers in London are less likely to be able to afford to drive their own cars than those in other regions of the UK. Only 30% of drivers in London could start driving their own cars compared to the average of 44%. New motorists are most likely to hit the road quickly in Wales, where 52% said they could afford to start driving immediately after securing their licences.

An option for new drivers is to choose a telematics insurance policy, which offers lower premiums in return for safer driving habits recorded by a telematics device. Of those drivers who had bought a telematics policy, 81% say that it helped them start driving their own car within a shorter timeframe than if they had stuck with a traditional car insurance product.

Paul Baxter, CEO, The Green Insurer said: Passing your driving test is always a memorable experience and it’s a shame that so many new drivers have to delay taking their own cars out on the road. Choosing a policy that helps drivers reduce their premiums has already contributed to more motorists being able to start driving their vehicles as soon as they qualify.

It’s worth noting that this type of policy doesn’t just help reduce policy costs, but encourages slower and more careful driving to reduce the impact of carbon emissions on the environment, as well as to save fuel.

  • [1] Consumer Intelligence Car Insurance Price Index August 2023
  • [2] Independent consumer research conducted by Viewsbank among a nationally representative sample of 1,135 adults aged 18-plus including 888 car owners between November 17th and 20th 2023.