Government policy fuels rise in car insurance costs for young drivers

Car insurance costs for young drivers have rocketed over the past year as a result of controversial government tax and policy changes.

Figures compiled by comparethemarket.com show that on average, a 17-24-year-old driver now pays £2,379 to run a car in the first year of driving, up 3.4% year on year.

Of that figure, car insurance accounts for more than half of the cost, with youngsters forking out on average £1,354 for cover, an increase of 8%.

The rise can be partly attributed to a range of Tory policy changes forcing insurers to hike prices.

A change to the Ogden discount rate - used to calculate personal injury compensation payouts - alongside a hike in Insurance Premium Tax (IPT) from 10% to 12% has had a "significant impact on insurance premiums", the report said.

John Miles, head of motor at comparethemarket.com, said: "The price of insurance remains the single biggest cost for young drivers by far and the cost of cover continues to rise rapidly."

In better news, despite the year-on-year rise, young drivers' costs have dipped in the past six months. The first time this has happened in two years.

Vehicle running costs for 17-24 year olds between February and July fell by 0.75%, with a reduction in the cost of fuel the primary driver, dropping by almost £70 to an average annual spend of £811.

The analysis of fuel costs, which is based on average annual mileage and the cost of premium unleaded petrol, found that in the past year the average cost of fuel fell by £47.

Mr Miles added: "These past six months have seen the first positive change for young drivers in a long time.

"However, because the fall is due to lower fuel prices, there is no guarantee that this trend will last over the longer term."

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The cheapest cars to insure
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The cheapest cars to insure

Price new: £5,995

Dacia has made a big impact in the UK with its line of affordable motors.
The Sandero is the foundation of the brand's offering and is famed for being the UK's cheapest car.

With a group two insurance classification it's also one of the cheapest cars to insure right now.
The entry level Access model is sparsely equipped, but it has a practical interior, big boot and low running costs.

Price new: £8,060

The Seat Mii is a small city car which Auto Express praises for its spacious interior, good build quality and supple ride.

All models are in insurance group one, bar the group two Sport version.
The Mii is available in three-door or five-door styles, but both measure just 3.5 metres, making it perfect for getting around town.

Price new: £8,090

The Skoda Citigo was crowned Auto Express Best City Car 2013.

The magazine praised its low running costs and practicality as well as its grown up driving experience.
Like its Mii stable mate the Citigo has group one insurance in all apart from its top specification model, making it one of the cheapest cars to insure.

Price new: £8,265

The third of the Volkswagen's group of three city cars to make the list is the Up!

Auto Express says the Up! was 'born to rule' city streets with its small dimensions and lightweight body.
There's three versions of this fun city car; Take Up! has a group one rating as does Move Up! while the higher spec High Up! gets a group two classification.

Price new: £8,345

The Hyundai i10 is another car which can get you a cheap insurance quote thanks to a group one insurance rating across all the 1.0-litre petrol models.

Auto Express says the new 2014 i10 offers big car features in a small package. And for £8,345 you also get Hyundai's five-year warranty and roadside assistance package.

Price new: £8,995

Vauxhall has managed to squeeze one of its full sized Corsas into insurance group two.
Auto Express says the 1.0-litre ecoFlex model has the lowest insurance costs of any mainstream supermini.

The eye-catching design, solid interior and big-car features make it an appealing buy for drivers.

Price new: £9,575

The Smart car caused a bit of a stir when it first appeared thanks to its dinky dimensions and bold two-seat layout, making it very useful for driving about town and absurdly easy to park.

The Smart ForTwo is the latest incarnation, which keeps to the same formula; it still has only two seats and is one of the smallest cars on the road measuring just 2.5 metres long,
The entry level 0.8- and 1.0-litre models qualify for group two insurance.

Price new: £11,810

The Peugeot Partner Tepee 1.6 VTi is the passenger version of the Partner van and according to Auto Express easily the most spacious new car that currently qualifies for a group two insurance rating.

It's got a boxy shape that provides plenty of room and has sliding doors which make it a very practical and flexible family car.

If you're after something smaller the Peugeot Bipper Tepee, which is the smallest of Peugeot's family of Tepee MPVs, also gets a group two insurance rating.

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