Where are parents supporting in getting their kids on the road?

Teenage girl taking selfie with parents

Almost 3 in 5 parents (58%) contributed to the cost of driving lessons. This is the most common area where parents financially support their child’s driving education. Also common are some of the smaller costs, such as licence and test fees.

46% of parents helped with the cost of a provisional licence – £34 when applied for online. Test fees are also widely covered by parents, with 45% covering theory fees and 44% covering practical fees. These are £23 and £62, respectively.

It’s more common for parents to support the cost of their child’s car insurance than the cost of the car itself. 40% of parents provided support with insurance costs while just 37% supported the cost of a car.

Just 4% of parents, or 1 in 25, said they don’t contribute to any cost associated with their child’s driving.

How much do parents contribute?

When it comes to driving lessons, the most common parent-child split is roughly 50/50, with 34% of parents contributing around half of the cost. In total, two thirds of parents (68%) report paying at least half of the cost, with 11% covering the cost of lessons in full.

It’s parents in the North East of England who are contributing the most to driving lessons relative to the rest of the country. 85% of parents in the North East reported covering at least half the cost, and 1 in 5 (21%) covered the entire cost.

The majority of parents across the country (60%) reported spending over £1,000 on their child’s driving lessons. A fifth (20%) spend between £2,000 and £3,000.

Of parents who helped with the cost of buying a car, 3 in 5 (62%) are covering at least half of the cost.

Rising insurance costs for young drivers could strain parents

At £2,919 on average, the cost of insurance for 17-year-olds is the highest it’s ever been, and more than triple the national average of £941 annually.

There are several reasons why car insurance is high for younger drivers, but it largely comes down to risk. Insurers see young drivers as riskier to insure because of their lack of experience on the road.

Parents supporting this cost for their children could find themselves in a surprising situation. Contributing around half of the cost of insuring their child’s car could be a larger bill than their own car insurance.

Louise Thomas, motoring expert at Confused.com car insurance, says: “Insurance costs for 17-year-olds are at a record high, and that’s not the only cost for young people getting on the road. Our research shows the majority of parents see it as important that their child learns to drive, but these rising costs of getting on the road could be a barrier to entry. There are, however, a few things motorists can do to get cheaper young driver car insurance, from adding a named driver to estimating mileage accurately.”

Confused.com shares tips on how young drivers can get cheaper car insurance:

  • Add a named driver: Adding another, more experienced driver to your policy is one way to save. This could be a parent or another family member. But whoever you add should at least occasionally drive the car. Avoid fronting – this is where a more experienced driver is listed as the main driver despite not driving the car, to try reduce premiums. This is a form of insurance fraud and carries serious consequences such as fines, driving bans and more.
  • Pay annually: If you can afford to do so, paying the full balance upfront rather than monthly is another way to save. Confused.com data for January – March 2024 shows that paying annually could save young drivers up to 38% on their insurance. This is compared to paying monthly.
  • Estimate your mileage accurately: Insurers ask for an estimated annual mileage. It can be tricky, but being accurate is one way to save. Insuring yourself for more miles than you need may mean paying for cover you don’t need. At the same time, estimating a lower mileage could indicate a less regular, and potentially less experienced, driver. This could drive up the cost of insurance.
  • Change your excess: Your excess is the amount you agree to pay towards the cost of any claims you make. When getting quotes, experiment with the excess amount to see if you could save. Just be sure that it’s an amount you can afford to pay in the event you do need to make a claim.

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