Give young drivers some sensible insurance cover
D AUGHTER number one has passed her driving test. L-plates can be torn up and P's proudly displayed – or can they? As, surprise, surprise the ways in which different companies interpret the law needs to be factored in and I've been left speechless by some. My understanding is that anyone of us can start learning to drive at 17 and a fair few will pass at that age, too, but, bizarrely, not all garages and insurance companies accept that, it seems.
Our daughter, who has worked part-time since 16, has saved for a deposit and is currently earning a decent sum for an 18-year-old about to embark on a gap year.
She found a car to look at, took me along as moral support and I managed for the most part to keep quiet but it was getting harder and harder as the salesman was suggesting she buy it without even test driving.
So I piped up. "You're surely not expecting her to buy without trying the car," I said. His response: "Well you can certainly drive it and she can be a passenger."
At this statement it wasn't only my jaw hitting the floor. I replied: "But the car isn't for me or being bought by me so why should I test drive?"
He replied that it was my daughter's age and the fact she'd only just passed but he'd have a word with the manager due in the following day.
To be fair we weren't sure if that was common policy so gave the benefit of the doubt and I did suggest to daughter number one she shopped around.
Meanwhile having an idea of the type of car she wanted, meant we could also start looking for insurance.
We made a start with the company who insure me. "How old is your daughter?" I was asked. The response: "No we only insure 19-year-olds and over".
Simultaneously daughter number one was getting some horrific quotes – some similar to the price of the car she was hoping to buy.
I fully understand the reasons why young people or first time buyers have to pay more than those who have been driving for some time; but is it really fair to try and price them out of the market? How can we expect young people to gain independence and experience behind a wheel if they can't get sensible insurance cover?
And as for expecting someone to buy a car without trying it first; that's simply ludicrous. If someone has passed the test governed by the law of the land as to be the one required to drive then that should be recognised. Fortunately that first experience seemed a one-off as the car she is excitedly about to buy she was able to test-drive without any problems.
How can we expect the younger generation to get a grip of what's fair and what isn't if we don't make it clear when administering the law?