If you’re a young petrolhead living in the UK nowadays, you’re in for a bad time. You’d think your troubles would be over once you’d passed your driving test, but that couldn’t be further from the truth, for one major reason – insurance.
All these insurance companies despise the thought of us driving so much that they make us pay well over £1000 per year to drive cars with less than 100bhp, often with black boxes watching our every move.
I’m browsing AutoTrader as I write this and for less than the price of my car, I could have had a Jaguar XJR, a BMW 5-Series M Sport or a V8 Range Rover. But what do I have? A Ford Fiesta EcoBoost.
Now I don’t dislike my Fiesta. It’s practical, reasonably well-equipped and not bad to drive. But when I see top of the line executive cars from the 2000s with big engines & loads of gadgets for less than my 98bhp economy box cost, I feel rather wounded.
What’s more, my slow eco-friendly hatchback costs about £1300 per year to insure, and that’s with an accursed telematics system that gives me a 48/100 score for driving to work, because it’s rush hour, and a 32/100 score for moving my car in the car park at work, because the lane that runs through the site our office is on is apparently incredibly risky to drive on.
But this stigma surrounding young drivers goes further than just insurance companies. Although they’re the ones making the poorest section of society pay the most to drive cars, the government, media and establishment in general are just as bad by doing nothing about it. We constantly hear people saying that younger members of society drive dangerously due to inexperience or a youthful desire to have fun, and that we must therefore be forced to pay huge sums of money to drive very slow cars. Well I have a response to this.
Firstly, let’s just assume for the sake of the argument that the statement ‘young people drive dangerously’ is true (it isn’t, but just go with it for now). If this were the case, it would make sense for us to have to drive slow cars until we come of age and can access the bountiful market of premium vehicles. But this statement is no justification for young drivers being charged such outrageously high insurance premiums. Unless they think taking all of our money will mean we can’t afford petrol, then these stupid prices aren’t going to make the roads any safer.
For the second, and main, part of my argument, let’s return to reality. The definition of discrimination is, ‘the unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people, especially on the grounds of race, age, or sex’. Insurance companies are charging young drivers extortionate amounts of money on the grounds of age. If that doesn’t fit the aforementioned definition, then I don’t know what does. But do the government regulate car insurance premiums for young people? No. Do the mainstream media criticise insurance companies for discriminating against young drivers? No. Does the Equality Act of 2010 protect young drivers? No.
It’s not even as though insurance companies are pretending they’re not discriminating. If you ring up your insurer and ask them why you have to pay so much to do something as basic as driving a car, they’ll straight-up tell you it’s because of your age. Nobody is stopping them. Nobody is telling them it’s unjust. We live in a nanny state where children have to wear safety goggles when playing conkers and everybody is offended by everything, and yet the government is not preventing a blatantly obvious source of discrimination against a huge portion of the country.
When I’m tailgated, cut up or overtaken dangerously, 9/10 times it’s by someone in their 40s or 50s. Middle-aged people who say that we are dangerous drivers are usually the ones who are doing 100mph on the motorway and have the most awful driving habits. But we, the people who have just passed a difficult test requiring us to drive in accordance with the Highway Code, have to act as the scapegoats.
If you feel the same way I do, then this is the tribe for you. Let’s make our voices heard. Let’s say that we’re fed up of having to spend all our money to crawl about in foul little euroboxes. I’m going to post all sorts of content in this community. Some of it will be entertaining; some of it will be serious. Let’s have some interesting conversations, share some funny jokes and, if we gather enough people, maybe… just maybe… we can change this unfair system.